Wanted: Weed-Free Lake
Thoughts from a Lake Dweller on Groton's Fall Town Meeting
I am a resident of Lost Lake and I have been lax in attending Groton's town meetings. Moving forward, though, that will not be the case as Monday night's meeting was quite the eye opener.
Most of the evening centered on debates concerning articles 5, 6, and 7, which dealt with creating and paying for Lost Lake sewer system. A presentation was given outlining proposed costs as well as costs already spent on the project. How is it possible that the town voted to spend $319,000 for the CWMP and to perform an income survey of the Lost Lake residents? Did this even get put out to bid?
It became obvious that the firm of Woodard & Curran was not up to the task for this project. They performed all tests required by the state, but they should have performed additional tests that made sense. Why was no upstream testing done for Martin's Pond Brook? Anyone who has lived on the lake knew that there was something going on upstream. This cove was always the most choked by native species, and once invasive species moved in, you could walk across the milfoil. More current test results proved the project unnecessary, but were deemed misleading yet no follow up tests were even suggested by the engineering firm. The icing on the cake, however, was when Robert Rafferty of Woodard & Curran stated quite vehemently that $12.9M was the total cost for the project, yet this project has not even gone out to bid yet. Who knows what kind of obstacles could come up during construction, with 100 percent of the added cost paid by Lost Lake and Knops Pond homeowners. If we decide to revisit this project, we need to find a firm that provides honest effort and answers. Providing one-sided answers to insure a project moves forward in order to secure future monies is not acceptable.
Is there a water quality issue in our lakes? The answer goes unproven without up-to-date testing. Is there a weed problem? Absolutely. Native weeds, however, were never an issue. It is invasive species, especially milfoil and cabomba that have choked the lake. Eradicating invasive weeds is where money should be spent. Application of herbicides is the only thing that has helped and needs to be done consistently. Winter drawdowns do not work at all. In fact it usually backfires, especially during a spring where there is too little rain or snowmelt to help fill the lake quickly. The dam boards are installed too late in spring, giving weeds in low water conditions a head start on growing season. I commend Groton Lakes Association for the hours spent operating the weed harvester. If it were not for their consistent efforts, the lake would be a meadow now. Purchase, maintenance, and operation of the weed harvester are not funded by the town, but by private citizens.
Instead of trying to force an unproven $13M project upon us with scare tactics based on bad science, how about taking care of the real needs that Lost Lake and Knops Pond residents; a weed-free lake with a viable town beach and roads that don't rattle the fillings out of our teeth.
I hope to see you all at the next town meeting Nov. 3. I will be there trying to help stop construction of an oversized, overpriced, 19,000 square foot $8M fire station on one of the most pristine and picturesque stretches of land in our town.
Proud Resident of Lost Lake