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Little Averill Lake - the LaRosa Program - Citizen Scientists Wanted!


Background

The Averill Lakes Association is pleased to report that Little Averill has been selected to be part of the 2022 State of Vermont's LaRosa Program. The LaRosa Partnership Program (LPP) is focused on water quality issues associated with streams and rivers. It allows citizen scientists to engage with their local environment, learn about water quality issues, and use water testing to identify where impacts may be present. The state picks up the tab for the laboratory analysis expense.

In consultation with numerous stakeholders with the State of Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation - there is a strong desire to take Total Phosphorus (TP) and Total Nitrogen (TN) samples at 3 inlets on Little Averill. This would strongly complement the water clarity and water column data collection efforts that ALA member and Lake Steward Don Tase has been doing at the deepest part of the lake as part of the Lay Monitoring Program (LMP) Why is this so Important? Little Averill was classified as ultra-oligotrophic in the early 1980s, a trophic condition that is rare and according to the Lake Protection Classification System is unique for its rarity in Vermont. However there has been a statistically significantly increasing spring TP trends. Back in 2013, the Next Generation Lake Assessment found higher than expected TP levels in some of the tributaries draining into this ultra low nutrient lake. There is a lack of data and understanding to determine why Little Averill may be increasing in TP. The LPP program will help hone in on if there are sources from tributaries -or not.. The Lake Assessment Program plans to deploy a continuous sensor buoy on Little Averill in 2022 .The LMP data collected by Don and LPP data on the 3 inlets to Little Averill will complement the data collected by the buoy.

Is it Climate Change? Given the historical oligotrophic status of Little Averill, this also represents an excellent test case to see whether climate change is beginning to cause stratification patterns to change on even the lowest of nutrient lakes in Vermont. This is really important research. What is the Ask? The objective is to collect 8 regular samples and two samples after "high flow events" (when it rains). The sampling season in the State of Vermont runs between April 16th and August 8th. Obviously camp accessibility after mud season is key to when sampling can actually begin on Little Averill. In late March to early April the LPP will hold its annual meeting, orientation, and training program for volunteers. All of the required materials for the season (training materials, bottles, labels, and field data sheets) will be provided. This is a "many hands make light work" opportunity. The more volunteers we have - the more the data collection efforts can be split and/or provide backup for each other as we all look forward to enjoy summer adventures with friends and family after this latest pandemic wave. I am so pleased that we had volunteers step up and come forward as Lay Monitors for Big Averill as Don Tase is doing for Little Averill. I would ask that you please give thoughtful consideration to being an LPP volunteer for the 2022 season. We will be publishing all of the data we learn from these efforts on Big and Little Averill on averilllakes.org If you have interest or any questions - please email me at bgracyjr@gmail.com. Thank you in advance for your consideration. Bernie Gracy Averill Lakes Association


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