Lake update: summer data reported to Lake Association

SALISBURY — Lakeville’s official “lake watcher,� Don Mayland, reported on the first season of data collection under the Lake Keeper Program at the annual meeting of the Lake Wonoscopomuc Association on Saturday, Oct. 24.

He said that he is working on a state-of-the-lake report that can lead to preparation of a lake management plan. The first requirement is to gather data in a continuous scientific manner so the association will have relevant hard information to act on.

Mayland took readings from April through October at the three buoys that are based in the lake on a permanent basis. (They are also used by The Hotchkiss School sailing team.)

One is near Succor Brook, one is near the deepest point in the main basin (about 105 feet) and the third is in the smaller basin toward the Town Grove.

Samples were taken at depths of 10 feet, 30 feet, 50 feet and 90 feet in the deepest location.

The highest water temperature in the summer was 81 degrees Fahrenheit near the surface. The temperature at 50 feet or below remained the same, at 7 degrees Celsius (about 44 degrees Fahrenheit).

Visibility was quite low this summer, ranging from about 4 feet in April to no more than about 14 feet in August and September. Mayland and Hotchiss School limnologist Chris Oostenink theorized that the heavy spring rains probably brought larger amounts of calcium in the runoff, which showed up as tiny white dots in the water called “whiting.�

Later, algae called gloeotrichia echinulata seemed to appear in large amounts. The predominance of this algae is troubling because it appeared in the lake only within the past few years in small amounts.  Further study will reveal if this is a developing problem.

Dissolved oxygen levels dropped from April (after the ice melt) to October. Oxygen levels were acceptable to sustain marine life at the 10- and 30-foot sites, but the oxygen level was very low at the 50-foot level and below. That region would be classified as nearly anoxic or approaching a very low mesotrophic status.

Tim Barry of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s Western Fisheries office also sampled the dissolved oxygen levels in the lake in mid-August. He found the following: 6 parts per million near the surface (at 11 meters or between the surface and the thermocline) which is a very good reading; 3 ppm at 16 meters; and 1.5 ppm at 20 meters.

A reading of 1.5 ppm would be in the anoxic range. However, Barry said that was normal for that time of year, and that the samples he took from Wononscopomuc were about the same as he found at other lakes in our part of the state. His conclusion was that overall the lake appeared to be in good shape because the larger fish seem to be surviving and growing from year to year.

Phosphorus samples were collected three times in April, July and early October.

Generally they ranged from .020 Mg/L to .028 Mg/L. That would put our lake in the mid to lower mesotrophic area. However, in the deepest water in July a phosphorus sample spiked to .054 Mg/L. Therefore, the deepest part of the lake not only had low oxygen levels, but it also had high phosphorus levels. That is a situation we should continue to analyze.

Mayland reported he checked four times during the season and found no evidence of zebra mussels, and warned that phragmites have been found in some areas of the shore. This is a weed that proliferates through roots and is very difficult to control.

Bill Littauer reported that major lake expenses are shared by the town and Hotchkiss. The town pays for the first cutting of the milfoil in the lake each year. The association pays for the second cutting during August, but Hotchkiss picks up 90 percent of that expense.

The town and Hotchkiss each pay $5,000 toward the $15,000 budget for the Lake Keeper program. “We would be hard pressed to maintain essential services for the lake without such substantial support,� Littauer said.

Cathy Shyer reported 83 members have sent in dues and contributions to date although the mailing list is much larger. She said it appears there are 120 people in the lake watershed who are not members of the association. She asked for volunteers to join a membership committee. Patricia Ranson, Edward Erbacher and Weezie Hannegan agreed to help.

At a board meeting immediately after the close of the annual meeting, the slate of Bill Littauer as president, James Marshall as treasurer and Cathy Shyer as vice president and secretary was unanimously re-elected.

Bill Littauer is president of the Lake Wononscopomuc Assocation.

Latest News

Robert J. Pallone

NORFOLK — Robert J. Pallone, 69, of Perkins St. passed away April 12, 2024, at St. Vincent Medical Center. He was a loving, eccentric CPA. He was kind and compassionate. If you ever needed anything, Bob would be right there. He touched many lives and even saved one.

Bob was born Feb. 5, 1955 in Torrington, the son of the late Joesph and Elizabeth Pallone.

Keep ReadingShow less
The artistic life of Joelle Sander

"Flowers" by the late artist and writer Joelle Sander.

Cornwall Library

The Cornwall Library unveiled its latest art exhibition, “Live It Up!,” showcasing the work of the late West Cornwall resident Joelle Sander on Saturday, April 13. The twenty works on canvas on display were curated in partnership with the library with the help of her son, Jason Sander, from the collection of paintings she left behind to him. Clearly enamored with nature in all its seasons, Sander, who split time between her home in New York City and her country house in Litchfield County, took inspiration from the distinctive white bark trunks of the area’s many birch trees, the swirling snow of Connecticut’s wintery woods, and even the scenic view of the Audubon in Sharon. The sole painting to depict fauna is a melancholy near-abstract outline of a cow, rootless in a miasma haze of plum and Persian blue paint. Her most prominently displayed painting, “Flowers,” effectively builds up layers of paint so that her flurry of petals takes on a three-dimensional texture in their rough application, reminiscent of another Cornwall artist, Don Bracken.

Keep ReadingShow less
A Seder to savor in Sheffield

Rabbi Zach Fredman

Zivar Amrami

On April 23, Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield will host “Feast of Mystics,” a Passover Seder that promises to provide ecstasy for the senses.

“’The Feast of Mystics’ was a title we used for events back when I was running The New Shul,” said Rabbi Zach Fredman of his time at the independent creative community in the West Village in New York City.

Keep ReadingShow less