It was another great season for Lake Wise on Lake St. Catherine!
This weekend, the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (PMNRCD) notified the four 2021 Lake Wise Award winners, congratulating them on this outstanding achievement for their lakeshore properties.
What is Lake Wise?
Lake Wise is a program developed by Vermont’s Lakes and Ponds Program to recognize outstanding efforts by homeowners who live along a lakeshore to protect the water quality and habitat along the shoreline and within the near-shore area of the lake. Four categories are assessed: The driveway and parking area, the structure (which includes roof, drainage, and septic), the recreation area (the lawn/footprint of non-natural, high-use yard areas), and the shoreline buffer area.
The goal of the Lake Wise program, from the Lake Wise website:
"The goal of Lake Wise is to establish a new normal, a new culture of lakeshore landscaping that is proven to help protect the lake. A property that earns the Lake Wise Award will represent a 'model' shoreland property. The Lake Wise Award certifies a property is well managed, using shoreland Best Management Practices, and is maintained to care for the lake."
This season, the LSCA earned a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) to perform Lake Wise assessments, and to help property owners with projects on their land to mitigate stormwater runoff into the lake. The LSCA was happy to again partner with the PMNRCD on this project.
Although the Lake Wise Program is open to all LSC property owners, we decided that the 2021 program would focus on properties on Little Lake. In cooperation with the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund (LSCCF), we began the outreach to the lake community to get folks excited and signed up for Lake Wise.
Stormwater has a widespread environmental impact which makes it a growing concern in Vermont. In a statewide effort, towns and local organizations are working to implement large scale projects to help clean stormwater before it enters water bodies. Work is being done from the headwaters all the way down to the stream outlets. Excess nutrients in the water contribute to problems which affect both human and wildlife health including; lower oxygen levels in the water, toxic algae blooms, and excessive plant growth.
As a shoreline property owner, you have the access and the ability to control what is happening directly at the water's edge.
While small-scale improvements on individual properties may not seem like they have much impact, collectively the implementation of many small projects will have a positive benefit on the water quality in the lake and the surrounding watershed.
Actions now will promote a healthy lake environment that will continue to support swimming, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing in the future.
This is such an important program for long term health of Lake St. Catherine, and we can all pitch in to make a difference.
Lake Wise Awards
So, without further ado, our 2021 Lake Wise Award winners are:
- Andrew Gioulis - West Lake Road, Poultney
- Barbara Gutheil - Ferncliff Road
- Michael Marine - Channel Drive
- Sue Williams - West Lake Road, Wells
Congratulations to this year’s Lake Wise Award winners!
Lake Wise Program work continued late into the fall, so we were unfortunately unable to give the awards to the winners before the end of the season. We’ll reach out to winners in the spring to schedule the presentation of their award and to take a photo!
Lake Wise Work Completed On LSC In 2021
The PMNRCD crew completed a tremendous amount of work in support of the Lake Wise Program this season. They were also able to leverage their Lake Education Action Program (LEAP) program, which pairs student and community lake education with the implementation of small planting projects for shoreline owners to increase the amount of projects completed.
Some statistics for 2021:
- 24 property owners signed up for Lake Wise
- 20 assessments were completed (some assessments are awaiting property owner input)
- 89 written recommendations were made to property owners by PMNRCD staff
- 22 projects were implemented, including: vegetated buffer plantings, infiltration step installation, culvert stabilization efforts, and rain garden construction
- 340 feet of shoreline buffers were installed
- 412 native plants planted
- 40 live stake cuttings planted
- 4 Lake Wise Award winners!
Property owners that did not qualify for the Lake Wise Award this season can continue to work on their shorelines with the LSCA and PMNRCD to raise their assessment score. Three of the four award winners this year had their initial assessment done in 2020. After some projects were implemented this year, their properties qualified, and they are now award winners. To date, 57 properties have participated in the Lake Wise Program, and have at least received an initial assessment.
This brings the total Lake Wise Award winning properties on LSC up to 16!
Thank you to all the winners and Lake Wise participants for the work they have put into their property in an effort to become Lake Wise. This work represents a model of what all LSC lakeshore owners should strive for, as these projects are both beautiful and lake friendly.
All winners will be receiving the Lake Wise Award plaque that they can proudly display on their shoreline. Keep an eye out for them as you cruise around the lake next season.
In October, we applied for a $25,000 Clean Water and Healthy Ecosystems Projects grant from the LCBP which we hope to earn to help fund the Lake Wise Program for 2022.
The LSCA would like to help other Lake St. Catherine property owners implement best practices to mitigate stormwater on their properties, and help them to earn the Lake Wise award. If you would like to have your property assessed, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a positive impact on the lake and be Lake Wise!