LIA Midwinter Report - A letter from Chris

posted Mar 9, 2019, 5:42 PM by Lake Iroquois Association

February, 2019


Dear Friends of Lake Iroquois,


The winter has brought a lot of snow and much fun on the lake.  Many of our weekends have been spent watching area community members from surrounding towns coming to the lake to play.  Skaters, skiers, ice fishers, snowmobiles and at times dozens of hockey players land at the lake for the day.  On occasion we enjoy the dirt bikes racing on a figure eight track.  This reminds me of coming to the lake as a teenager from our farm in Richmond on weekends learning the ropes of driving on ice with cleats on our tires during sponsored Sports Car Club of Vermont Rallies. Most everyone out on the lake during the weekend braved the cold and enjoyed the snow and ice.  Living on the lake allows so many moments of enjoyment even during the off season.  If you haven't spent time hiking the LIRD trails or joining the dozens of dog walkers or xcountry skiers on our network of trails, you certainly are missing out, even in the dead of the winter.  Tons of fun is enjoyed by many!  

Speaking of tons of fun, your board of directors of the Lake Iroquois Association has spent the past several months planning our spring and summer projects for the lake.  We have spent many hours working collaboratively to build education programs for a healthier lake.  A number of your board members spent a morning in Montpelier in December meeting with DEC's Commissioner Emily Boedecker reviewing our failed herbicide permit and what we can do as a board to determine the best management plan for dealing with Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM) in the future.  We continue to work tirelessly to research every method that exists to mitigate the spread of this huge problem.  We have not ruled out the possibility of applying for a permit from the state for  a new herbicide that has just been introduced in Vermont for controlling EWM, called Procellachlor.  There are several lakes in Vermont that have already applied to the state for a permit to use it this summer to combat EWM.  Because we at the LIA are still in the investigative stages of this product, we feel that more time is necessary to research this herbicide and its uses. We will also be observing the outcomes of other Vermont lake permit applications and the effects on EWM if their permits are issued.   Stay tuned for more information on this in the coming months.

A quick reminder that it took us over three years to do all of the research and planning to reduce and control EWM in the lake and to develop the separate permit applications needed to use DASH, benthic mats, and herbicide to combat EWM.   Funding, community discussions with residents, lakeshore property owners, community members, a long list of meetings with state and municipal agencies and finally selecting a licensed aquatic contractor to help with our many details required by the permit process.  The daunting task of coordinating all of this takes enormous time and we all realize that our volunteers have professional work lives that require as much time or more.  For that reason, we are going to take our time with the next steps.  We’ll continue our research and we will continue to consult with other lake associations, DEC scientists, and other experts, as well as with the surrounding towns, residents, and lake users.

As I write this many of your board members have just completed hours of paper work doing the final reports that are necessary for the federal and state grant projects that we completed this year.  Even as we finish up the reports for the summer of 2018, we are also applying for new grants for projects for the 2019 season, including continued funding for the greeter program, for another aquatic plant survey, for additional diver assisted suction harvesting (DASH) of EWM, and for the continuation of our tributary sampling program.  In collaboration with LIRD, we have already received a planning grant to develop a design to mitigate the erosion and runoff problems coming from Beebe Lane at the north end of the lake. 

I have just had the pleasure of meeting with the Town Managers and Selectboards of the towns of Williston, Hinesburg, and Richmond.  Every year we meet with each town and review our programs and outline our plans for the coming year.  Over the years, our association has gained much deserved respect as we have worked hand in hand with these municipalities and with the relevant state agencies.  This recognition on both the local and state levels has come through the hard work of many previous and current LIA board members who deserve so much credit for the high quality of the many projects undertaken by the association.  In particular, the LIA greeter and boat wash station program has been recognized by the DEC as a model for other lakes in the state.

I feel very fortunate to be one of the many volunteers  carrying on the torch of such an amazing group and organization. Let's face it, without these efforts who knows what the health of the lake would be today.  As I have said so many times in front of the Selectboards, we have an amazing resource with our lake and recreation lands surrounding it, enjoyed by thousands of users every year.  Let's make certain that  generations to come can continue to enjoy the beauty and wonderful resource that the Beebe Family decades ago provided to our communities.  Let's be honest here, we are the lucky ones, and we should be thankful and gracious for the opportunity to carry a healthy lake forward for another several decades of use.  Working as hard as your volunteers do today is a small part of that accomplishment and commitment.

Speaking of history.... Here's a huge task for each of you and your neighbors!  We would like to include the history of each property on Lake Iroquois in a book to be published in the near future tentatively called " A Lake Iroquois Legacy Continues".  There are so many properties on the lake that many of us have heard stories about.  There are also many we know nothing about.  We would love to hear and read these stories.  So there has been discussion about soliciting a few volunteers on the lake that can help get the word out and share the task of compiling the data: stories, previous owners, family histories, etc.  This is one more fun aspect of living on the lake.  We may know who lives in a specific camp on the lake but we many not know anything about the history of that camp.  This is not going to be an easy task for the camps that have history dating back 130+ years.  You could share some of the stories that surround some of the characters on the lake. For example, my family had a story of " GoGo" living up in the woods each year, who would occasionally come out of the woods at night while we were enjoying a bonfire.  Our kids still to this day enjoy the horrors of the GoGo story.  In fact, those stories had such an impact that my son did his senior film documentary in college on this man. More to come on "GoGo" in the future.  Meanwhile, we would love to gather your family history and stories, and even early photos to share of your camp. Remember we need your help to make this happen,  Please contact me if you’re interested in helping on this.  We need a few volunteers to coordinate this program.  We hope to publish in early 2020 to be available for the summer reading sessions along the lake.  


Finally, I can’t forget to remind you that if you haven’t sent in your 2019 membership dues yet to join this amazing lake association, now is a great time to do it.  And please, if you can, include an additional donation.  We can’t do any of this without your help and support.  As an all-volunteer organization, every penny you send in dues and donations goes to support our water quality projects and lake user educational programs. We have a lot of projects going on in the coming year, so I hope we can count on your support.


I hope you have enjoyed reading this short update. Thank-you again for your support of our beautiful lake!   


Let's look forward to spring daffodils and sunny warm weather ahead!


Chris Conant


Lake Iroquois Association