Columbus day brought 32 interested people for an inaugural tour of three sites in the Lake Wentworth watershed displaying problems and/or solutions for erosion and runoff management of our lake.
The tour was developed and promoted by the Lake Wentworth Foundation with the first stop a short walk around the storm water abatement project at Bartlett’s Tree Service on Center St. This is a project initiated by Bartlett’s and is doing a lot to protect runoff from their establishment. At each stop, people discussed the relevant issues. At this stop, Don Kretchmer, a local limnologist, how phosphorus is the major problem causing excessive plant growth and algae blooms and how Bartlett’s work is helping to prevent phosphorous entering the lake. One “culprit” leading to diminished water quality is “flashy streams” where erosion causes runoff of sediments downstream and Bartlett’s series of ditches, dikes, and sediment pools, as well as a future similar project at Trites, will help achieve the management plan’s goal of reducing the amount of phosphorous entering the lake by a 15% .
The second stop on the agenda was Wentworth State Park where the presentation was conducted by Jack O’Connell, Chairman of the Lake Wentworth Foundation. He pointed out areas along the banks and shore that were seriously affected by erosion both from runoff from the land and wave action on the lakes themselves. O’ Connell explained the plans in progress to address these issues including embankment infiltration trenches, rip rap, designated pathways, and controlled parking. With some work, around our shorelines, we can help prevent sediment from entering the lake and sediments usually contain large amounts of phosphorous.
The final stop took the group to the Top of the Hill Farm where proprietor Alan Fredrickson provided information on the design and use of a new barn under construction on his property. It provides a “bedded pack” so that manure is collected more efficiently. The cows are placed inside the barn with their heads facing out through gates where their feed is distributed. The manure is directed towards a four-foot deep concrete trench which prevents waste runoff. In addition the cows travel on gravel paths and get most of their nutrition from naturally fertilized fields and hormone and pesticide-free supplementals. Regulations and best management practices limit both the amount of and time of year manure can be spread. By limiting runoff of fertilizer and manure, the watershed is protected from increasing nutrient for algae blooms.