Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Loon on her Nest

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Can hatchlings be far behind?

s-3jun18 4 loon nesting at the northwest corner of Lake Fairlee

Photo by David Matthews

Nesting Loons on the Lake

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

This year for the first time in many years our resident loons have successfully built a nest and are expecting.


One of the prospective parents sitting on the nest.

Their nest is located in the mouth of Blood Brook.


The loon stretches its neck and lowers its head while fishermen are nearby

As of a few days ago there are no hatchlings as yet, but the parents are tending the eggs in shifts and we are hopeful.

Please respect their privacy and give the area a wide berth.

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies operates the Vermont Loon Conservation Project.  Lots more information at their website.

Proposed Milfoil Treatment – Summer 2013

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Our State permit requires that we make plans for next summer’s milfoil treatment while the lake is still covered with ice.   So in the end of January we met with representatives of Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation, including the Administrator of the Aquatic Nuisance Control Permit Program.  We talked about the condition of the lake, looking at last fall’s situation and speculating about the coming summer.

Also present at that meeting were representatives of Lycott Environmental, Inc., the company with whom we contract for milfoil control services.  The Lake Fairlee Association board believes that herbicide treatment is the most cost effective way to control the milfoil in our lake.  On the other hand, our State permit mandates that herbicide be used as an integrated part of a multi modal plan.

The State only allows the use of herbicide where the milfoil growth is moderate or dense.  So the program we presented to the State looked much like the previous map:

In 2012 our planned treatment was foiled by the last minute discovery of a rare plant near the mouth of Middle Brook.  See LINK.  We prepared this graphic to show the range and extent of both the mermaid weed and the milfoil.

In 2012 the State would have let us proceed with the herbicide treatment if we had erected an expensive and cumbersome barrier between the treatment area and the shallows where the mermaid weed grows. We wanted permission to proceed this year without a barrier, arguing that the mermaid weed survived the 2010 treatment and flourished.

Based on our conversations Lycott would prepare and submit a treatment plan.  Our answer would wait for the necessary review process.  Meanwhile we had other work to do.


Two More Lakeshore Properties Improved

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

This year the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Lake Fairlee Association a grant to support our efforts to preserve and enhance our lake’s health.  By planting new shrubs and perennials we restored buffer zones on the shores of three lake residences, which will act as a filter to keep nutrients and pollutants out of the lake.  As you will have read in these posts, surface water flowing into the lake carries nitrogen and phosphorous from decayed plant matter and fertilizers, and toxic substances from pesticides and human trash.  The single best thing we can do to to keep the lake clear is to deter this runoff, best accomplished by allowing a natural ‘buffer’ to develop along the shore.  Simply by not mowing, raking, or cultivating a distance back from the shore the leaves and fallen plant matter that collect will slow the runoff and help remove unwanted contaminants.

Since our last post buffers were created on two more properties, completing the work funded by the grant.  Redwing Meadow, more recently known as the Tifft farm, has a long low shoreline.  In recent years grass has been allowed to grow tall down near the lake, excepting a mowed path or two.

Tifft's before

Tifft's after






The Snow’s property on Lakeshore Drive has a bank about three feet high above the water.  Here besides filtering runoff the roots of the woody plants will slow the erosion of the shoreline.

Snow's before

Snow's after







Now the plants are in the ground, have been mulched, and the surrounding area seeded and covered with straw. The single best thing that every lake owner can do to ensure an effective natural filter is to stop mowing, raking, and cultivating near the shoreline.  This lets leaves and detritus to collect on the ground and new seedlings to take root.  The ungroomed natural growth that results works best.

Who Made This Possible?

Money from the grant paid the cost of the plants and materials. The labor was donated by lake residents, conservation commission members, and generous neighbors.  The property owners have agreed to allow their shorelines to be used as models to show others what a lakeshore “makeover” can look like.

Some of those who helped:

  • E.C. Brown’s Nursery in Thetford provided all of the plants . . . then advised us about native choices, selected hardy individuals, and gave a generous discount.
  • Peggy Willey
  • Corey Paye
  • Julie Paye
  • Ann Stephens
  • Doug Tifft
  • Bonnie McAdam,
  • Renee Snow
  • Libby Chapin
  • John Chapin
  • Skip Brown

Thank you one and all (and any we have overlooked)

Part of the wet but happy crew at the Tifft's

Milfoil Treatment Update – September 2012

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

[ What follows are the notes from the divers submitted after their visit of September 11-13. ]

We extracted a total of 31 panels (est. just over 18,000 sf) and associated metal from sites shown in red. The only remaining panels that I am aware of are at the Middle Brook site (site 14 on this map).

Additionally, we hand harvested a total of 3,138 plants from 8 sites.
We did not visit (DNV) several of the sites in the south basin, but it is expected that there is growth at those sites.


Of the sites/areas we did work, milfoil growth does seem to be increasing. As examples consider the following observations:

Site 6 yielded over 1000 plants and these were noted to be spread throughout the bay, as deep as 15′ generally mixed among dense growth of native species.

Site 15, originally just the boat launch at Aloha Hive, is now spread a bit South and well East of the launch scattered to moderate all the way to the southernmost portion of the swim docks transitioning from flat silty bottom to moderately steep and rocky area.

Site 5 was not fully cleared, but plants are moderately scattered from the swim platform off the point northward a full three properties (to the large yellow house with white trim (which also has a very loud Chocolate Lab)). We worked the northernmost reach of that site off of the yellow and white house.

And while it is not noted on my map, there are also scattered milfoil plants just outside of the public boat launch.. primarily on the northern bit in the shallow rocky area just outside of the launch itself.

In general, it seems that milfoil is again starting to grow/spread faster than we are clearing it… though that conclusion is necessarily tentative. Once the full survey is conducted this week we’ll be able to put together a game plan for 2013. I would anticipate however that the 2013 plan include more robust harvesting 2-3 times throughout the summer (i.e., perhaps as much as a concentrated week-long efforts instead of spreading out 2-day visits). We’ll revisit this idea once the survey/maps are completed.