Six lake organizations have launched a single coalition seeking to improve conditions in the smaller water bodies of in Vermont.
The Coalition of Vermont Lakes was launched earlier this month to work with each other and state entities to ensure the protection and restoration of lakes and ponds of 5,000 acres or less. Lake Saint Catherine Conservation Fund President Bill Steinmetz will also serve as president of the new group. “The organization was put together because it was recognized that the environmental restoration needs of the smaller lakes of Vermont are not getting the attention that they really deserve. Their representation through existing organizations has not been very effective. And we feel that, understandably there’s a lot of attention particularly to Lake Champlain, but our own lakes that are more in the alpine lake category, five thousand acres and less, have very particular needs and challenges. And we feel by banding together we can help each other, and help represent our needs better to the state and to others.”
The smaller lakes face unique issues not found in larger lakes, according to Steinmetz. He says a primary goal is to work together to share information regarding lake management issues. “The impacts of an invasive species on the lakes under five thousand acres are very different than they are in Lake Champlain. We have issues principally of restoration. I would say in virtually every one of our member lake associations, the lakes have experienced degradation in the quality of the lakes in terms of being able to use them for the traditional uses of the lake, for swimming and fishing and waterskiing, that sort of thing. They’re solvable problems, but many of these problems are not being taken on in an effective way right now. So we want to restart the communications and relationships with, principally, the state.”
LakeDunmore/Fern Lake Association President Sue Potter is treasurer of the coalition. She notes that the Lake Dunmore group has been struggling to control not only an infestation of Eurasian Water Miloil, but the costs to deal with the invasive aquatic weed. She believes the new coalition will be a vehicle to share and work with other lakes to determine successful methods for lake protection. “We’re hoping that if we work together that we will be speaking as a group and that we may be better able to open the ears of the people that we need to communicate with in Montpelier about our needs. And there's a lot that we've got to learn from one another. You know, when we’ve communicated in the past we really haven’t even known who to go to in the association. So this coalition has brought us all together. This is something we’ve never had before and we really do need that. We’re going to be able to gain a lot from other people's experiences.”
The member organizations of the Coalition of Vermont Lakes are the Lake Bomoseen, Lake Dunmore-FernLake, Lake Hortonia Property Owners, Lake Saint Catherine, and Sunrise-Sunset-Lakes-Perch-Pond Associations and the Lake Saint Catherine Conservation Fund.