Truesdale Lake  

South Salem, New York

July 12, 2017
by rob
2 Comments

Information About Hydro Dredging and Solicitation for Questions You May Have

Lake Truesdale residents — you may have heard talk about a new proposed project: Hydro Dredging.

Project leader Cliff Munz along with several other lake residents have been putting their heads together these past several months. There has been one lake-wide meeting (June 15, 2017) so far — and more to come.

In the meantime, we have put together a summary of the project at the Hydro Dredging Project Page. Please read through it when you have a chance.

In addition, we have put a form on the website here so you can fill it out and send us questions you may have about Hydro Dredging. You can also sign up to be kept informed as we publish new information and schedule future meetings about the project.

June 15, 2017
by rob
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Informational Meeting about Targeted Hydraulic Dredging Tonight

Update: We are gathering information together about the Hydro Dredging under consideration. Check back at the link for more info as we add it.

At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, June 15th, Truesdale Lake residents are invited for a discussion about hydraulic dredging. Meeting location is at the South Salem Presbyterian Church in South Salem.

We will have a presentation by John Keegan from Sacred Waters in Ridgefield – along with additional information provided by resident Cliff Munz. Hope to see many of you there.

[Note: there is a TLPOA association-only meeting immediately before the hydro dredging meeting.]

May 19, 2017
by rob
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May 16th, 2017 Lake Treatment

From the folks at The Pond and Lake Connection:

Here is a map with the approximate application sites. We used Clipper today to treat for elodea and curly-leaf pondweed. As discussed there are other locations in the lake with vegetation, this is the start of our program and we targeted these specific sites as agreed upon during the meeting. The application went well. If a spot treatment is deemed necessary let me know. I will be by towards the end of next week to check on the progress of the application.

2017-05-16 Treatment Areas

Note the treatment area included (shown in map above in bright green):

  1. The whole lake south of 25-27 Truesdale Lake Drive (roughly the south island all the way to the tip of the lake)
  2. The entire shore line from 50 Lake Shore Drive south.
  3. The area immediately around the TLPOA Beach on Gilbert Street.
  4. The northernmost cove of the lake from 10 Hoyt Street to 44 Hoyt Street.

The Pond and Lake Connection folks will evaluate how the treatment went and let us know. It may involve followup treatments in the same or different areas of the lake.

May 18, 2017
by rob
2 Comments

A Note About The Lake, Treatment, Weeds, etc.

I have received a few notes over the last month about the Lake, the weeds, last summer, and the potential of a repeat. I started to respond to each person individually but it grew into a longer note that I’d like to share here instead.

Keep in mind this is my opinion and view and I am open to corrections and I reserve the right to change my mind:

I agree last year the lake was a big problem last summer — and we are focused on not having a repeat this summer.

If you have been following along with the lake and weather the last few years (via truesdalelake.nextdoor.com and truesdalelake.com websites and the association membership meetings) you know it has been an unusual stretch.

Last winter (2015-16) was unseasonably warm and ice did not cover the lake for more than 3-4 weeks over the winter before it melted. This allowed the plants to get a huge head start in the Spring of 2016 since the sun is shining on them where they would normally be in ice and snow covered shadow for 3-4 months. Couple that with the failure of NY State DEC to approve our (routine) treatment permits until mid-July and it was a recipe for disaster. The permits have routinely been issued to us for over 30 years by late April or early May. From what I understand this was due to understaffing and budget cuts in the department that approves permits.

By the time the permits were approved in mid-July 2016, it was too late to treat for weeds. With the amount of weeds at their peak it would have created a massive die-off if they were treated. This would have created an anaerobic field day for algae blooms. If you thought the weeds were bad, the algae is worse — and certain types (which we haven’t had) are potentially toxic.

Last summer we hand cleared the TEA beach area with a few members — I spent 40 hours over two weekends clearing the weeds from the swimming area and moving them off the beach. A few dedicated people helped after we put out the word via email blast and the next-door Truesdale website. I personally am very thankful for the ones who came out to help because we all have a lot going on. We got a lot done and it looked great — for about a week.

We also hired a mechanical harvester from Princeton Hydro just after then — but weeds are like grass and they were back within a week or so after being cut. This is also very expensive — $1000/day to have this harvester at the lake with a minimum of 5 days for that rate. We were desperate last year so we employed all possible resources. I am not sure we’d do it again, but never say never.

One advantage of mechanical harvesting or hand harvesting is that you remove the plants from the lake and deny those nutrients captured inside the removed plant a chance to feed the next generation of plants in the lake. Theoretically this will make the lake less productive over time. This can be very effective in a smaller local area such as around a dock or along a stretch of waterfront.

Getting back to treatment and lake management — So what has happened as a result of last summer? Did anything change? Yes. The associations fired the treatment company (Solitude, Inc.) since we felt they shared a big part of the blame for the lack of treatment permits and they were not as responsive after their expansion a few years ago. They had worked with Truesdale for almost 40 years so firing them was a pretty significant move. We always paid them to do this stuff and they failed miserably last year. We have hired a new company starting this year (The Pond and Lake Connection, Inc.). The TLPOA has also contracted with Princeton Hydro to devise a long-term plan.

Cut to the present day: The conditions over this past winter (2016-17) were not quite as warm as 2015-16. But it was still a mild winter with about 1/2 the ice cover time of a typical winter. However, this time around we have the treatment permits in place — which will keep the biomass of the weeds from getting out of control like last year. The new company has been very responsive and they are local (based in Brookfield, CT). The prior company (Allied Biological – renamed Solitude) is based in Hackettstown NJ which is about 90 minutes away. They also went through an expansion and merger and I think that caused them to lose focus.

The Pond and Lake Connection came and we received the first herbicde treatment this past Tuesday 5/16 and are waiting and watching the results.

With all this above being said there are several other things to keep in mind, in no particular order:

  • Truesdale is a lake, which has natural living things in it. We need to maintain a balance for the health of the lake. It will never be a swimming pool. I think many understand this after having lived here for years, but occasionally new residents are unrealistic in their expectations of water clarity and plant-free water.
  • Truesdale is a shallow lake (deepest part overall is 16 feet, with the south end near the TEA beach having a deepest point around 8 feet) and that means the sun is always able to reach the bottom of the lake. This means the entire 83 acres is fertile ground for plant growth. It is going to happen. We can only affect it a certain amount.
  • Herbicides and Algaecides are not perfect by any stretch. They are effective in the short term, but they dissipate and dilute by their nature. However, they are the most cost-effective solution we have.
  • Solutions other than herbicide treatment can be very expensive (dredging, mechanical harvesting) and would require a steady source of tax-based revenue and a tax district to do on a lake-wide scale. There are some smaller scale (i.e several households size) efforts underway to address specific dredging areas, but the projects are being undertaken financially by individual homeowners or groups of homeowners, not lake-wide.
  • Other weed control alternatives like grass carp are essentially undirected biological weapons that give no guarantee that the carp will eat 1.) where your want them eat to and 2.) what you want them to eat. They can end up decimating the native plant life and allowing invasive plants to gain even more of a foothold. The fish can also root around the bottom of our lake, stirring up muck and nutrients and actually causing more problems with water clarity and weed growth. They also cannot be fished out if they become a problem.
  • Everything we do is a trade-off between time, money, and effectiveness. In addition to keeping a balance of nature, we are trying to balance the checkbook.

The bottom line is any solutions are management, not complete control. We have a limited number of levers to move to affect weeds and algae, and we (and the professionals we hire) do their best in the environment we are given.

New ideas and undertakings are always welcome — we are all in this together.

-Rob

January 24, 2017
by rob
1 Comment

Letter About Proposed Changes to Town Wetlands Law

Passing on this note from Janet Andersen who is a resident in the Twin Lakes neighborhood, a member of the Three Lakes Council, and Chair of the Lewisboro Conservation Advisory Council (CAC).

Friends and neighbors,

The Town Board proposed a new wetland code that is so flawed and so alarming that I cannot believe they will vote on it as it stands. However, since the changes in this law would lead to increased pollution in our lakes, and possibly to degraded drinking water supplies, it’s not too early to let the Town Board know of your concerns.

You can write to supervisor@lewisborogov.com  or confsecy@lewisborogov.com, and ask that the message be distributed to the town board.  Tell them that the water quality of the lake is important to you, and that you don’t want the board to weaken the protection of those waters and allow more algae and weeds to grow. You could also tell them that you care about safe drinking water, and you don’t want the protection of that vital resource to be diminished.

I’ll provide a details of a few examples where I feel the new law could endanger our lakes. Our current law prohibits animal pens and manure storage within 150 feet of the edge of our lake. The proposed law would allow animal pens, chicken coops, and manure storage to abut our lakes with no buffer distance at all. I can’t justify allowing new sources of phosphorus next to our lakes, streams, and wetlands. The proposed code would also allow new chemical and petroleum bulk storage facilities to be placed next to lakes with no buffer, an equally perplexing provision.

The proposed law has other changes. Activities within 150 feet of our lakes and wetlands fall into different review categories. Some activities are allowed without any permit, such as repairing a dock. Other activities require an administrative permit, where an applicant meets with the wetland administrator to review the plans and get a permit. The next level is a Planning Board permit, and in these cases, the activity is put on an agenda and plans are available to the community. Some Planning Board reviews will require certified notification to neighbors and public hearings. The code proposed by the Town Board allows many more activities without any permit, and makes the majority of regulated activities into administrative permits.

I’m personally concerned about having no visibility to many activities if the new code is adopted. Today, we can easily look at the on-line planning board agenda and the proposed plans. In some cases, we have met with the applicant or developer to get a better idea of the proposal and to understand lake impacts. If these activities were administrative, no one in the community would see these items.

One example that would be administrative is vegetation control in wetlands. Many of you will remember BEEP, our Brazilian Elodea Eradication Program, which called for harvesting two acres of weeds from Lake Waccabuc. While it would have been easier for me to go forward without a Planning Board review and public hearing, I feel the public (you!) benefited by the open communication of the plans and the ability to ask questions. As another example, it’s common for lakes Truesdale and Katonah to apply annual weed herbicides and bi-weekly algaecides to their lake waters. If someone proposed these chemicals for our lakes, I feel that the community should be notified and have the opportunity for comment, instead of the action being approved administratively without public notice.

The Town Board agenda shows that they will discuss this proposed code at their Monday meeting (UPDATE: this meeting was postponed to Feb 13th due to ice storm), so if you care and can take the time to send a note before that, please do so.  But I am sure that discussion will continue, so whenever you have a chance to comment, please make your views known.

If you want to know more, please see our website for more details. https://www.threelakescouncil.org/about-us/advocacy/town-wetland-code/  And as always, questions and comments are welcome.   Thank you!

Jan
— Janet Andersen, fablesx2@optonline.net

January 19, 2017
by rob
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A Note From The Vet

Passing on this public service note from neighbor and veterinarian Carol Gamez:

Hello Everyone,

Happy New Year and happy snow season! It’s a great time of year to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I have been enjoying my jogs around the lake and love everything that our lake community has to offer… the beautiful lake view, the smell of the wood stoves and fireplaces, the camaraderie of the neighbors, and the beautiful snow. Which brings me to the point of this letter.

While walking my dogs on the street, I noticed many piles of dog feces – aka poop. First of all, at night, I can’t see the poop and have stepped in it and that is very unpleasant. My dogs also step in it and then it ends up on their feet.

People don’t think much about it — but as a veterinarian, here are all the things I see in my practice related to “not attending” to dog poop. Dog feces may contain parasites or eggs that are transmissible to children and to other dogs. If the poop is contaminated with round worms, tapeworms, hookworms or giardia then our properties become seeded with these parasites. It’s microscopic so you can’t see it. If children accidentally ingest a roundworm egg by being exposed to dog poop, the results can lead to blindness or other medical issues. It’s called ocular larval migrans or visceral larval migrans. Scary stuff. The worm eggs stay in the snow and then kids throw snowballs and might be innocently exposed to these parasites. And your dogs can get sick too. They might have loose poop or gas or even a belly ache from accidentally being exposed to the feces.

Having your dogs routinely dewormed by your veterinarian helps but it is NOT the only answer. The solution is simple. Pick up after your pets, PLEASE. It’s so awful to see the piles of poop and not feel like one of us doesn’t care enough to keep our beautiful little lake community streets clean. So here is a reminder to everyone, old neighbors and new neighbors: pick up the poop. It’s for everyone’s safety, especially your children and your dogs. And clean up your yards so the eggs and parasites don’t soak into the ground and re-infect your dogs or cats.

Thank you and if you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to contact me at cgamez@georgetownvet.com.

For more information on roundworms and dog feces go to http://www.capcvet.org/capc-recommendations/ascarid-roundworm/. The Companion Animal Parasite Council website has lots of information about pets and parasites. Here is more information from Stanford University https://web.stanford.edu/group/parasites/ParaSites2005/Toxocariasis/whole%20thing.htm.

Sincerely,

Carol Gamez, D.V.M.
www.georgetownvet.com

December 29, 2016
by rob
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Truesdale Lake Update – December 2016

Sharing this note from David Sachs, TLPOA President, about results from some testing and lake plans for next summer. More to come in regular updates:

Truesdale Lake Update – 2016-12-29

Greetings and Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that you are having ample time to spend with friends and family and food this week and..

I wanted to provide you all with a quick update about Truesdale Lake and plans for this coming summer – even though there is currently a lot of ice on the lake.

  1. First of all, the copper study that was mandated by NYS DEC has been completed by Pond and Lake Connection. They took 26 samples from the lake bottom, and then sent all of the samples to a lab for testing. There were several sites that had readings that were higher than those recommended. Now everyone (including the DEC) is trying to figure out what the implications (if any) are. They have not ever required such testing before, so it is definitely a “work in progress”. We will let you know more as we learn more.   And, one thing that we do not yet know, is if the new attention to copper might impact permissions to continue to use copper sulfate treatments.
  2. Second, Pond and Lake Connection has completed the necessary permits for treating Truesdale Lake for summer of 2017. They are to be submitted to NYS DEC during the first two weeks of January, 2017 about three months prior to their intended use.
  3. The first permit is for the use of Clipper, an algaecide that is used to kill weeds. It is described as follows: A contact herbicide, the active ingredient in Clipper, flumioxazin, has demonstrated in research trials fast-acting control of aquatic weeds such as cabomba, watermeal, water lettuce, duckweed and, as part of a tank mix, hydrilla. Clipper, which worked best during the early-growth stage of most weeds, also has shown promise for control of some species of algae. Because studies show Clipper dissipated quickly from the water column and did not accumulate in the sediment, Valent Professional Products research and development manager Mike Riffle said it is less of an environmental concern than other, more persistent herbicides. Studies have also shown that Clipper can be applied to control floating or submersed weeds, providing flexibility to applicators. It is anticipated that Clipper will be used during the April time frame to inhibit the growth of weeds in the lake.
  4. The second permit is for SeClear, an algaecide that will be used to prohibit the growth of algae during July and August. SeClear is basically copper sulfate (58.9%) and other ingredients. It will be used approximately every two weeks, and, as in the past, on an “as needed basis” depending upon weather conditions and oxygen levels and DEC permitting restrictions.
  5. The third permit is for Green Clean Pro – a chemical used to treat for algae – it is really concentrated hydrogen peroxide – works quickly and effectively – but does cost about twice as much as copper sulfate treatments. We have tried this before and it is usually permitted for use AFTER the 1st of September – and also if you have to use a treatment quickly because there is a problem with algae. The DEC does need a 7-day window for treatments – but that is sometimes quicker than the alternatives.
  6. Finally, we are anticipating hearing from Michael Martin from Princeton Hydro during the month of January. He had indicated that he would have a report for us during the mid to late January time frame.

Enjoy this holiday season. Happy New Year in advance.

We will continue to keep you updated about Truesdale Lake during the coming months on a regular basis.

David

October 28, 2016
by rob
3 Comments

Truesdale Lake Update 2017

 

Sharing this note from David Sachs, TLPOA President, about the past summer and preliminary plans for next summer. More to come in regular updates.

As of 2016-10-24

Good day to you all on this brisk and beautiful October afternoon. I wanted to bring you up to date about Truesdale Lake – some information about this past summer and then more information about plans for Summer 2017.

First of all, this past summer was one of the most challenging and frustrating in memory. Permits to treat the lake were not granted by the DEC until mid-July – and that was only after we begged and pleaded and cajoled them to approve them. DEC had changed their permitting process – and they did so late last spring – and then it all fell apart after that.

When we were able to treat, we did so – but by mid-July that means that you are treating for algae, since weed treating is normally done in the April time frame. Some people said that the water quality was good – which it was in some parts of the lake – but the south end of the lake clearly was not good – with weeds and algae everywhere. Frustration levels were (and probably are) high.

Weed harvester July 2016

Weed harvester July 2016

For the first time ever, we tried some weed harvesting – in late July, when it became clear that the TEA beach was unusable. Weed harvesting can be helpful, but many have said that it is a lot like mowing your lawn in the middle of the summer; it looks good for a week or so, and then it must be done again. Weed harvesting seems to be a lot like that, at least during the summer, when weeds and algae are actively growing.

All of this has caused a lot of thinking about where the lake is today and where we are going. As many of you are aware, there has been a study underway for the past two years through a partnership with SUNY Oneonta, and Christian Jenne has been collecting lots of information about the lake, and has also been preparing a final report. We have his data and are expecting the report imminently.

At the same time, we have been thinking a lot about having a long-term plan developed by professionals. Towards that end, we have signed a contract with Princeton Hydro to develop such a plan. The plan will have a “short term” (1 year) component, along with a longer term (5 year) component. This should enable us to think more proactively about seeking external funding (grants) and doing things for the lake that might improve the situation. We have been working primarily with Michael Martin from Princeton Hydro. A brief bio of Michael states that:

“Michael has extensive experience in lake and watershed management, agricultural BMPs, aquatic plant and invasive species management, algal identification and control, environmental habitat and impact assessment, wetland design and restoration, and development of environmental resource geographic information systems. He has implemented monitoring and management programs on hundreds of lakes and ponds throughout New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, and Indiana. He specializes in the statistical analysis of long-term water quality, water quality response modeling and the development of TMDLs and numeric nutrient criteria.”

In addition, we have decided to work with a company called The Pond and Lake Connection, located in Newtown Connecticut. They will do much of the day-to-day work on the lake (primarily because Princeton Hydro does NOT do that). Meaning, they will be the ones who will apply for the permits, treat the weeds (hopefully in April 2017) and then treat for algae during the summer. They bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the discussion. Right now they are testing the lake for copper, in response to a new mandate from New York State that we do that, if we intend to continue to use copper sulfate (which we may or may not do). Their plan is to have our application in to the DEC by early December, so that there is ample time for it to be approved long before we need to have it in place. They also have some creative ideas about how to improve the lake, and we are looking forward to hearing what they are.

In all likelihood, there is no “quick fix” for the issues with the lake. But we do need a plan, and we do need more proactive actions. We might also need some additional funding, which we probably need to begin to think about as well. We currently receive and then spend about $25,000 each year on Truesdale Lake ($15K from TLPOA (150 members); $8K from TEA (80 members) and $2K from non-affiliated individuals (20 members). We are hopeful that a plan might provide some guidance about what needs to be done, and what it might cost to do it.

We will continue to provide monthly updates about Truesdale Lake throughout this coming year, and will hold a meeting as soon as we have more concrete information to share.

September 28, 2016
by rob
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Invasive Plants Guide

Screenshot 9:5:15, 4:23 PM-2If you have ever wondered whether certain plants in Truesdale Lake are invasive, this free PDF booklet will tell you. We have a couple of species shown in the book, but fortunately not many.

The book is a project of Michigan State University. It has a substantial listing of plants from in, above, and around lakes. Even though it was written with Michigan lakes in mind, the possible invasive species are the same ones that can be found around the Northeast.

Thanks to the New York State Federation of Lake Associations for making us aware of this fantastic free lake resource.

Available for Download Here.

And please don’t forget to get boat stickers for your boats — it helps to keep the invasive plant and animal species out of the lake by keeping boats local. 

September 12, 2016
by rob
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Septic Pumping Discount for Truesdale Lake Residents

Older (circa 2014) septic tank pumping map.

Older (circa 2014) septic tank pumping map.

We have good news: Earth Care is offering a discount on septic pumping and maintenance to Truesdale Lake area residents (EarthCare was formerly Kaiser-Battistone, both are now part of Wind River Environmental) . Cost for pumping tanks 1,000 gallons or smaller is $280.00 (regular cost is $320.00) with an additional environmental disposal fee and a digging fee. I have attached their Truesdale Lake letter to this article.

A well maintained population of septic tanks and systems in our watershed is vital to the ongoing health of Truesdale Lake.

EarthCare Letter to Truesdale Residents

EarthCare Letter to Truesdale Residents

Westchester County law requires septic systems be pumped at a minimum every 5 years. Septic pumping companies in Westchester have been required to report their pumping activities to the county since 2011. The county now has a list of the status of all septic tanks in the county. At some point this information will be publicly available online in the Westchester County GIS system.

Starting in May 2016 if you have not pumped your septic in the last 5 years, you can be fined starting at a minimum of $200 and increasing from there.

screenshot-91216-537-pm

Click above image to view EPA brochure on Septic Systems

Most households need pumping done more frequently than every 5 years. Recommendations are at least every 2-3 years to maintain an optimal working septic system. This is dependent on the number in the household and the size of the septic tank. Many lake area septic tanks are smaller size and need more frequent pumping — some as much as once a year.

A septic system is not something you want failing at your house. It is very expensive ($10-20,000 and up) to rebuild a failed septic system, especially with limited acres to place a new field.

Earth Care included a brochure for septic systems that has helpful information on septic systems. Or you can click on the image to the right for the EPA Septic Brochure.

Contact name and number for Earth Care is Angela Warren at 800-428-6166 ext. 101.

If you have a question about septic systems and the law in Westchester County, call Patty Tornello-Adams at (914) 864-7360.