1/25/14 Lake and Pond Workshop

The 27th Winter Workshop of the MA Congress of Lakes & Ponds Associations will be at Worcester State University.  This January 25 event is a great place to learn about lake & pond management, as well as discuss challenges with other lake & pond advocates.

The 8:30 a.m. plenary session will focus on stormwater policies and legislation affecting Massachusetts lakes and ponds.  Plenary speakers are State Senator Stephen Brewer (invited); State Rep. Anne Gobi; and Richard Sullivan, Secretary of the MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFollowing the plenary, the COLAP meeting features five concurrent sessions on lake management techniques and a lunch break with exhibits and networking.  After lunch, participants can choose from five afternoon workshops on varied topics including Great Pond Law, aquatic plants, lake ecosystems, and state grants for dam repair or removal.

The afternoon sessions will also include a slideshow about how to keep lakes and ponds healthy.  This presentation by MWC’s Ed Himlan will share low-cost remedies that can prevent and fix polluted runoff.

For more details, see the 2014 Winter Workshop flyer that is available at www.macolap.org


Grow a Greener Community

Communities are faced with damages to drinking water supplies, lakes, rivers and streams caused by stormwater runoff.  When it rains, the “first flush” of runoff from roads, driveways, sidewalks, lawns and parking lots, carries pollutants that harm community uses of water and poison aquatic life. Oil, grease, heavy metals, lawn chemicals, sand and salt are washed into underground pipe systems that pour pollutants directly into water bodies.

FortG3 L. George edhunately, low impact approaches can be used to treat stormwater near its source. Methods such as rain gardens, vegetated buffers and tree box filters capture stormwater and infiltrate it into the soil where the water is detained and cleansed.

The Massachusetts Watershed Coalition has created A Community Guide to Growing Greener, a set of guidelines for designers, developers and community boards. It will help local builders, businesses and community residents to use effective, low-cost measures to prevent runoff from harming water supplies and habitats. This guidance will also help to attract development that can protect the Town’s character and its valuable natural resources.

The Guide describes design and construction practices for stormwater management, erosion and sedimentation control, landscape design and site planning. This Guide will also be useful to communities required to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Phase II stormwater regulations.

Community boards can use the Guide in the development and redevelopment process. Because many of these practices are less costly to install than traditional large-pipe stormwater systems, developers find them attractive to use. Thus municipalities can reduce stormwater pollution at little cost to the community.

Walkway and Driveway Maintenance

While it is the middle of winter and you may not be thinking about brooks and ponds as you are snug in your house, stormwater problems do not hibernate.

One of the easiest thing that you can do in regards to stormwater in the winter, is make changes in regards to walkway and driveway maintenance. This can be done by limiting the area that needs deicers and sand for traction. Less area equals less need for harmful deicers.

You can also help reduce damages from deicer by making more “environmentally sound” choices than salt. Salt which has been used as deicers for years, has cyanide and chloride, corrosive chemicals that kill plants and hurt an animals feet. Alternatives to salt, and new salt reduction techniqueshave been showing up over the years to decrease our dependency on salt.

An example of a salt alternative is formic acid which has been used on airplane runways for years. It has a low toxicity level and is biodegradable. Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) and Calcium chloride are two advertized pet-safe deicers. CMA is far less toxic than salt and about as effective. Calcium Chloride is more potent and can be used in smaller amounts, able to work down to negative 25 degrees Fahrenheit, it has no cyanide but does have chlorine impact. More are being studied, but the impact of large scale usage of alternative deicers itself has not been studied to the extent of salt.

A new salt reduction technique, using a mixture of beet juice and salt, has been studied in Chicago. The mixture works better than pure salt and can reduce the amount of salt needed by 30 %.(http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/eco-friendly/beet-juice-deicer-460313) Many municipals are trying to come up with ways like this, using things like cheese brine in Wisconsin (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/24/us/wisconsin-finds-another-role-for-cheese-de-icing-roads.html), and molasses-like solutions. Through more research we can discover and study more mixtures that help the salt’s ability melting (or even the alternative deicers’ melting) to find not only an effective solution, but a cost effective one as well.

Together, we can help prevent plant damage, protect our pets, and keep our water clean.