ALA 4Q22 Newsletter
Happy New Year!
We hope you had a great holiday season. A LOT has been going on with the ALA with the pending Wake Boat/Wake Sports regulation, the 2023 Annual Meeting, Community Science, and our website. So let's get to it.
Wake Boat Proposed Rule
Two weeks ago, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Lakes and Pond Program presented a draft rule that would allow wakesports on public waters under the following conditions:
On lakes w/ 50 contiguous acres that is 500 feet from shore on all sides and 20 feet deep (eligibility rule)
Only at a distance of 500 feet from shore (operating rule)
Vessel stays in one lake per summer unless boat is decontaminated (home lake rule)
In this draft rule - both Big and Little Averill Lakes are eligible. Eligible lakes could possibly “opt-in” to prohibition if they want to prohibit wake boats based on how the rule making process progresses. The ALA leadership, the UTG, local businesses, and other community groups and leaders are concerned about the quality of existing recreation on both lakes, the risk to loons, and in particular about the risk of the introduction of aquatic invasive species (AIS) that we described in the last newsletter. We (and in particular ALA Board Member Susan Gresser) have been in frequent, constructive, and responsive communication (and lobbying) with Oliver Pierson of Lakes and Pond throughout this process and understanding our range of optionality. Lakes and Pond is seeking approval for recommendation to DEC/Agency of Natural Resource's Leadership to initiate formal rulemaking based on their proposed rule. A final public meeting in “pre-rulemaking” phase is also planned. The ALA leadership and board is exploring a range of options from mitigation to "opt-in" prohibition (pending rulemaking). In particular we are exploring the potential of a pilot public access greeter and courtesy watercraft inspection program at Big Averill that was established at 33 launches in 30 other lakes and ponds in the State of Vermont to prevent the introduction of AIS in our pristine lakes. Save the Date - 2023 Annual Meeting at Quimby's!
Because of the vote to amend the bylaws of when the annual meeting can take place at the 2022 Annual Meeting, and the expressed desire from the survey to have our meeting "on our lakes", we are excited to announce that the 2023 Annual Meeting will take place at Quimby Country on August 26th, 2023 tentatively set from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Registration will take place from 12:00 to 12:30, lunch from 12:30 to 1:30, our business meeting and elections ~1:30 to 2:15 pm, and then our keynote by our guest speaker. We are pleased that to announce that our guest speaker will be Eric Hanson, the biologist for the Vermont Loon Conservation Project - a joint effort between the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Vermont Fish and Wildlife.
Last year was an outstanding year for community science on Little Averill Lake. Our research and analysis on the potential rise of total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) from the 3 inbound tributaries garnered much praise and feedback throughout the State of Vermont and opened up additional data and opportunities for us. Garnering that funding and support was built on the foundation of the water quality data collection and testing that ALA member Don Tase has been doing in the deep hole on Little Averill as part of the Vermont Lay Monitoring Program. As such the state continues to invest in our community science efforts for 2023:
Continued water quality sampling under the Lay Monitoring Program
Expectation of continued tributary monitoring under the LaRosa Partnership Program
The deployment of a sensor buoy in 2023 to capture advanced water quality data
And with funding from the EPA - we have deployed a special camera that takes pictures at pre-established times that will be fed into an artificial intelligence engine to track ice-in, ice-out, snow depth, and lake levels. The artificial drawdown of the lake is another potential source of TP introduction.
As promised, we have created two resource pages on the website - dedicated to all of the data and reporting on Little Averill and Big Averill to date. While we have a lot of energy, volunteers, and State of Vermont support for community science efforts on Little Averill, we are largely "deaf, dumb, and blind" on what is happening on Big Averill. We are looking for volunteers to be trained and participate in the Lay Monitoring program on Big Averill to ensure constant coverage over the sampling season to allow for vacations, business travel, or unanticipated events. Many hands make light work! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in community science and/or participation in a potential pilot greeter program.
Other Website Updates
We have published a new governance page where we have our updated bylaws and the minutes for our quarterly meetings.
We have also updated bios of the leadership page including our new Treasurer, Gennette Carr and Board Directors Susan Gresser and Rebecca Scott Closing Thoughts There has never been a more important time to be a member of the ALA as we navigate this rulemaking process with and for our members and the community. We continue to partner with the State of Vermont and invest our time and talent to better understand and protect our lake ecosystems and the enjoyment of them. And we continue to invest in our website and these newsletters to keep you informed. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join us. On behalf of the leadership team and Directors of the ALA, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Bernie Gracy President, Averill Lakes Association.