Long Meadow Lake Management Committee
CARE AND FEEDING OF THE WATERSHED
Q: What is a watershed anyway?
A: No matter where you live, work, or play, you are in a watershed. A watershed is a geographic area in which all the water running off the land drains to a specific location -- in our case, Long Meadow Lake.
A water quality monitoring
program will track changes in the lake over time. This will help
to identify new issues that should
be addressed, and track the results of management techniques.
Information that we gather may include thermal stratification, dissolved
oxygen, phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations, water transparency and
alkalinity. We are in the process of identifying the specific types of
testing that are most suitable for Long Meadow.
Weed Watch Task Force
The Long Meadow Lake Weed
Watch Task Force will be dedicated to the prevention of the
introduction, and the abatement of the existing invasive aquatic and
terrestrial biological species. Additionally this group will promote a
native ecosystem in Long Meadow Lake and its watershed.
The Weed Watch Task Force
will be charged with creating and implementing an on-going plant survey
that covers the 1170 acre watershed and the 110 acre lake. The survey
will track improvements and alert us of new concerns.
Every three or four years,
during the winter months, the water level will be lowered up to four
feet, exposing 25% of the lake bottom. This will allow those areas
to freeze, killing rooted aquatic plants.
LMLMC is working to
coordinate the drawdown with local residents, the Bethlehem Inland
Wetlands Commission, the Bethlehem Fire Department, the CT DEP, local
law enforcement, and the Town of Morris. We have determined that a
drawdown should begin in late September or early October.
The water level should go
down slowly to allow for the migration of certain aquatic species such
as muscles, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper water.
The lowered water level will then be maintained until the first extended
freeze. Refilling should occur before thaw, so the ice mass can
‘plow’ the sediment as it expands. The drawdown should be
followed by chemical treatment and harvesting of seed propagating plants
to prevent their migration to the newly exposed areas.
drawdown will also result in sediment compaction and will allow for
sediment removal. Maintenance to structures such as docks and wall
will become facilitated as a result of the drawdown.
The success of the
drawdown is partially dependent on the weather. A warm, wet winter will
result in fewer positive impacts and the first drawdown is somewhat
experimental. For this reason, it was recommended that a siphoning
system be the means to lower the water level for the first drawdown.
Ultimately, however, we believe that the installation of a pipe/valve
system in the existing dam would provide a safe, controlled method of
Sand Gravel and Sediment
removal during winter drawdown:
The sediment in Long
Meadow is loose and uncompacted and is about 87% water and 13% solids.
The soft sediment is a result of storm water runoff and the
decomposition of organic materials, primarily aquatic plants.
LMLMC will test the
sediment for pollutants during drawdown. In addition, excavators
will be able to remove material from the lake bottom. The
committee will identify storage areas for the sediment to drain to make
it usable for loam or fill. We will help coordinate the excavation
by identifying excavators and property owners who wish to remove
material during a drawdown. State regulations require that only a
limited amount of sediment be removed during the drawdown. By
excavating sediment in localized sections during multiple drawdowns, the
community will reverse the eutrofication process that is slowly aging
While winter drawdown will
help us to reduce the root propagating aquatic plant population, it will
also open up new habitat where other plant species could migrate.
Seed propagating plants will not be killed by the drawdown.
Therefore the drawdown
should be followed by weed harvesting. This can be accomplished by
volunteers dragging a piece of equipment near the lake bottom behind
small boats cutting the plants Another crew will gather the severed
plant parts after they rise to the surface.
Why remove the severed
plant parts? Decomposition of plants can create undesirably high
oxygen content in the lake which could harm the ecosystem. Also,
the decomposition of plants is a contributing factor to sediment
The Long Meadow Lake
Management Committee has received tremendous support from the community,
the Bethlehem municipality, and from many other similarly focused
organizations including the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and the
Northwest Conservation District.
The LMLMC is a member of
the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS.
You can contact the LMLMC via chairman Richard Napiello: (203) 266-7009