Town of Bethlehem Connecticut

Long Meadow Lake Management Committee

 

CARE AND FEEDING OF THE WATERSHED

 

LMLMC INTRO

Works In Progress

About Us

Links

 

 

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.


Monitoring Program

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. 

Winter Drawdown:

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.  

 A successful 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 drawdown permanently.

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 the lake..

Weed Harvesting

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 accumulation. 

AFFILIATIONS:

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.

CONTACT:

You can contact the LMLMC via chairman Richard Napiello: (203) 266-7009