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ALA 1Q/2Q 2024 Newsletter: Pushing All In!

One of the many joys of my family and friend network in Connecticut is a good card game where some money was on the line (small stakes!). It could be cribbage, Setback, or a hand of dealer's choice poker. However, there was nothing like a Texas Hold ‘em tournament. There is a high-pressure moment in that game when a player risks all of their chips by declaring "I'm all in" and pushes them into the middle of the table hoping they have a strong enough hand to win the pot.


The executive leadership and board of directors of the ALA have faced our own high-pressure moments in 2024. With the promulgation of the wake sports rule, the risk of introduction of aquatic invasive species, and our nomination and acceptance of a Lake Watershed Action Plan for Big and Little Averill Lakes, we too have pushed all of our chips “all-in” for our lakes and the community because we believe we have the winning hand – the

passion of the leadership and our members, community, regional, and state level alliances and partnerships, and our balance sheet.


Big and Little Averill Boat Steward Program – last March, the board voted to commit $8,000 towards initiating an Aquatic Invasive Species boat inspection program for the boat ramps on both lakes under the auspices of the Vermont Public Access Greeter Program. Partnering with the UTG as our fiscal agent, Board member Susan Gresser began recruiting individuals

for seasonal employment that will start on July 6th and run every Saturday and Sunday through September 1 st with pay at $20/hr. This pledge of $8,000 was with the hope that the majority of that would be granted back by the State of Vermont. We are pleased to announce that the State has granted $7,000 for the program – requiring only a $1,000 net investment to

protect our lakes. Moreover, we are so pleased to announce that stewards have been hired for both lakes, backed by trained volunteers of the ALA!


Wake Boat Petition – on March 30th , the wake boat regulations were adopted by the State of Vermont. Immediately thereafter on April 1 st , the ALA submitted a petition that would prohibit wake sports on both of our lakes to Peter LaFlamme of the Watershed Management Division of VTDEC. The petition was also sent to Julie Moore, the Secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources; Commissioner Jason Batchelder of VTDEC, Deputy Director Bethany Sargent of the Watershed Management Division, the Town Clerks of Norton and the UTG, the UTG Planning Commission, the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, and Dale Gilman, President of ARCO. We are awaiting next steps from the State.


The Annual Meeting goes from an August retrospective to a June Kickoff! Based on our survey of the membership, our Annual Meeting will be Sunday, June 23rd, 2024 at Quimby Country to highlight our go forward plans for the year. Beyond boat inspections and the wake boat petition, special focus will be on the Lake Watershed Action Plan (LWAP) discussed in the previous newsletter. The LWAP has been formerly kicked off. On May 13th, representatives from the ALA, ARCO, Weyerhauser, the UTG, the Town of Norton, and others met with Patrick Hurley, the LWAP Project Manager from the Memphremagog Water Association and Sam Mayne, District Manager for the Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District who will be co-leading the LWAP effort for the next two years. As such, we are so pleased that Sam Mayne will be our guest speaker at the Annual Meeting and his talk will focus on the LWAP. Also, 2024 is the 50th anniversary of the Averill Lakes Association! The deadline for registration is on June 14th. Please register here. This is a meeting that you will not want to miss!

We will also be raffling off a beautiful hand tied net from Sunny Brook Nets with a retail value of over $100. A $10 raffle ticket can be purchased online here. Note all online purchases must be made by June 22nd. Thank you in advance for your support of the ALA!


Testifying to the VT Joint House/Senate Budget Conference Committee - I was honored to be asked to testify about the chronic underfunding of the State's Natural Resources Conservation Districts and how critical Sam Mayne and the Essex County NRCD is in direct camp owner engagement and education through the Lake Wise program.


Almost Graduation Day - as part of the commitment I made to our community when I was elected President of the ALA in 2021 was to enroll in a Master's in Natural Resources Conservation (with an aquatics concentration) degree program at Paul Smith's College in the Adirondacks. That journey is almost complete. Commencement was last weekend where I and my cohort got to celebrate each other and the program. We will formally receive our diplomas in August after our successful project presentations/defense on June 22nd (yes, the day before our Annual Meeting!) and completion of my project writeup. My project has been a comprehensive watershed analysis of Little Averill including 2 years of sampling on the 3 tributaries, decades of water sampling at the deep hole, and weather data from a NOAA station at the Lake View Store. The data and preliminary analysis was shared with ALA Leadership on 3/14; with Kellie Merrell, Dr. Peter Isles, and Mark Mitchell of VTDEC on 3/29; and with Patrick Hurley and Sam Mayne on 5/15 to inform the LWAP. Once completed in August all data and the writeup will be posted in the Little Averill Lake resource section on our website as well as an update to the story map last published in December 2022. Now that I am "dangerous" with my degree - I look forward to "crunching the numbers" on our lay monitoring data coming from Big Averill as well as the data coming from the Little Averill buoy sensor array for years to come.

On behalf of an energized and grateful leadership team and Board of Directors, we look forward to seeing you on June 23rd at Quimby Country! Bernie Gracy President, Averill Lakes Association.

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