Truesdale Lake  

South Salem, New York

December 9, 2017
by Susan Enos


Lake Truesdale
Hydro-Dredging Project

Project Overview
Many homeowners have suggested that dredging is an obvious solution for improving the health of the lake. This project endeavors to determine what can be done and what the impact will be.
A group of homeowners came together to explore dredging their lakefront/cove on the north end of the lake. Cliff Munz led the initiative and reached out to TLPOA and TEA to cooperate with the lake associations and lake management program.
A steering committee was established with representatives from TLPOA, TEA and unaffiliated homeowners to investigate the benefits and costs of dredging. The current members are as follows:

Taka Andrews, Vreeland Cove
Rob Cummings, TEA President
Dave Douglas, north end
Sue Enos, north end
Lara Gorton, TLPOA lake manager
Steve Macaluso, south end
Cliff and Lucille Munz, east side
Laura Sanchick, east side
David Sach, TLPOA President

The following questions were generated from the TRUESDALELAKE.COM website and other sources. The HDIG has provided answers to some of the questions below. We will continue to update lake residents as we learn more.


Removing sediment from the lake bottom using a suction process and depositing it in appropriate locations around the lake
Quite literally ‘sucking the muck’
Optimally, we would use the dried sediment as top-soil rather than the costly alternative of trucking it off-site


Dredging would materially improve access to and enjoyment of the lake in shallow, silted-in areas
It would help to maintain property values for everyone in the lake community
Dredging the TLPOA and TEA beaches would improve enjoyment of those common areas


Dredging is not a “silver bullet.”
Dredging would not replace regular lake management for weeds or algae but would be supplemental to other best practices like shoreline planting, septic maintenance, eliminating lawn fertilization, etc.
The overall ecosystem in Truesdale Lake will not change dramatically and will still be affected by weather, periods of extreme heat, lack of rain, nutrient load from the watershed and other contributing factors
Improvement of points of ingress to mitigate sources of sediment is equally important to overall lake health, i.e. paving Boway, the East of Hudson project improvements uphill from TEA beach, maintaining catch basins and storm drains, etc.
Dredging will be considered relative to alternative remediation techniques, including partial draining of the lake. This would enable natural compaction of the silt during the winter (freeze the weed seeds) or dry excavation of the accumulated sediment.


Property values are directly impacted by the health and appearance of the lake
There is widespread interest in determining if dredging is a viable solution to lake improvement
Improved access to the lake means more enjoyable experience swimming, kayaking, fishing & entertaining

WHY NOW? (need meets readiness)?

Community interest in lake management is at an all-time high due to extreme conditions of the last few years
Lake homeowners among the broader lake community have expressed interest and contributed to exploring the possibility of dredging


The object of this project is to determine where dredging could be most effective and provide cost/benefit analysis
Sediment collects in certain areas like inlets, coves and particularly the south end of the lake where there’s not a lot of water flow or current to move it out, causing those areas to be more shallow, weedy and collect algae.
Initial conclusions are that targeted dredging would improve lake access and enjoyment of the lake but that significant dredging to deepen the overall lake would be required to materially change lake conditions and would raise additional constraints and prohibitive costs


Phase 1 – Schematic Design
Project scope & phasing alternatives
Sediment storage alternatives
Alternative financing options

Phase 2 – Design Development
Specific permitting requirements
Environment mitigation plan
Refined project plan (phasing)
Refined cost estimates & financing options

Phase 3 – Required Permitting
Answers to all stakeholder questions
Go / no go decision

Phase 4 – Dredging Planning

Phase 5 – Dredging



Funds for the initial scope analysis in Phase 1 were collected from interested homeowners after the last public meeting
Recommendations from Phase 1 are expected to determine scope and estimates of further funding that will be required
Truesdale is a private lake and as such, there is no public funding available. Grants require municipal fund matching that has not been available to Truesdale in the past


Schedule a public meeting in January/February to review conclusions from Phase 1 analysis with Kate Throckmorton from Environmental Land Solutions, James Gorman from Pond and Lake Connections who has been contracted to provide lake treatment in 2018, and the HDIG.

Explore alternatives as a part of the long-term lake management plan, i.e. modify the outflow of the dam to regularly lower the lake level in winter. The replacement of a gated by-pass drain near the dam or a siphoning system would probably be necessary in order to lower the lake enough in winter to expose and freeze a significant amount of the shoreline sediment. ELS is in the process of getting an estimate of costs for engineering, permitting and installing a drain. We will also explore the possibility of “dry removing” sediment from areas around the lake shore. We will continue to keep everyone informed about this alternative when we find out whether it is feasible and how much it would cost.

Work with the town to keep the lake drains and settling ponds clear so that future sediment going into the lake is reduced.

Explore alternative ways of removing algae accumulation during the summer.


Learn about the project ( read other informative posts

Raise questions, be open to listen to responses, advocate with the Town, consider participation in funding

Contact anyone in the HDIG with questions, comments or interest

December 9, 2017
by Susan Enos


Dear Truesdale Lake Resident,

Last June and this past September, TLPOA and a small group of Truesdale Lake residents held two public meetings to determine if there was enough interest from lake residents to explore the possibility of dredging some areas of Truesdale Lake. Our goal was to see if dredging and removing accumulated sediment from areas of the lake bottom would be a feasible and affordable solution to improve the appearance and health of the lake. Thanks to a $3000 donation from TLPOA as well as donations from many individual residents we were able to raise approximately $6000 to hire a consultant,Kate Throckmorton from Environmental Land Solutions, to advise us. A group of 10 people representing all areas of the lake, the Hydro-dredging Initiative Group (HDIG), has been working with a consultant and meeting regularly all fall to thoroughly explore the possibility of dredging.

The format of this update is two-fold. First, below, there is short summary of the presentation our consultant, Kate Throckmorton of Environmental Land Solutions, gave to the HDIG in November to discuss progress, recommendations and next steps.

Second, many people have visited the website and have submitted questions about the project. We promised to answer the questions as we found answers. Please refer to the FAQ section of the website to find a list of FAQS with the answers we know at this time. We can’t answer all the questions yet but we will continue to keep you updated as we get more information.


Kate has surveyed the lake to identify locations that are candidates for dredging (hot spots) and storing the sediment.
We learned that…
Dredging may not have the effect on the overall health of the lake that we had hoped because we would not be dredging at sufficient depth to make a difference.
That said, dredging should still be considered as an alternative to eliminating the sediment that has built up in select locations. This would improve the appearance and usability of the lake.

Partial draining the lake has moved to the fore as a complementary or alternative approach. This would enable either natural compression of the sediment or the ability to dry-excavate the same select locations. Repairing the dam by-pass drain at the north end of the lake (or finding another way to significantly lower the lake) would probably be necessary to drain the lake enough in winter to expose the hot spots of sediment around the lake.
Lastly, we discussed in-season treatment options that should be considered whether we dredge / drain or not
Next steps…
Work with Kate to estimate the maximum volume of silt to be dredged and identify drying locations. Given that the latter is likely our binding constraint, work with her to prioritize where dredging would have the greatest impact.
Kate to assist with identifying the viability of partial draining, including; permitting requirements and engineering.
Consider the most effective ways of limiting sediment from continuing to enter the lake and working with the town to achieve this.

We are on schedule to hold our next Lake-wide information session early in the new year. Please feel free to ask questions directly to any of us or through the website.

Thank you for your interest and support in this project,


Taka Andrew, Vreeland Cove
Rob Cummings, TEA
Dave Douglas, north end
Sue Enos, north end
Lara Gorton, TLPOA
Steve Macaluso, south end
Cliff and Lucille Munz, east side
David Sachs, TLPOA,
Laura Sanchick, east side

October 14, 2017
by Susan Enos
Comments Off on Hydro-Dredging Meeting (Summary) , October 12, 2017

Hydro-Dredging Meeting (Summary) , October 12, 2017

The Hydro-Dredging Project Group of nine people, representing all three associations as well as unaffiliated lake residents, met this past Thursday to discuss the plan to hydro-dredge the hot spots on Truesdale Lake.

We have already begun the first of five distinct phases of this project.  Environmental Land Solutions has been hired to develop a schematic design which will help us understand the scope, funding implications, and data required to obtain the necessary permits before we can begin dredging.

Phase 1 will be completed before the end of the year.  At that time we will share the findings and recommendations of ELS with you before proceeding to the next phase.  There will be information posted on this website as well as a meeting open to the public scheduled sometime in December or early January.

In the coming weeks we will ask you to complete a short survey to ensure our recommendations have considered your specific questions and concerns.  The invitation will be sent via Nextdoor Truesdale and the survey will be available for completion on this website,  In addition we will post FAQ responses on this website as we find the answers to your questions.

Please reach out to anyone in our group or submit questions on this website if you have additional questions or concerns.

Best regards,  The Hydro-Dredging Project Group

Taka Andrews ( Vreeland)

Rob Cummings (TEA president)

Sue Enos (TLPOA)

Dave Douglas (TLPOA)

Lara Gorton (Lake Manager)

Steve Macaluso ( unaffiliated lake resident)

Cliff Munz (TLPOA)

Lucille Munz (TLPOA)

David Sachs (TLPOA president)

Laura Sanchick (TEA)


August 29, 2017
by rob
Comments Off on Diet For A Small Lake – FREE book download

Diet For A Small Lake – FREE book download


We have published this in the past, but for all new residents — and those who may have missed it the prior publications — this is a great resource for learning about the lake. If you ever wonder “how do these people know all this stuff about the lakes?” a lot of it came from reading this book. If you want to learn about living on and around a lake, this is the book.

The classic lake management book ‘Diet for a Small Lake‘ has been made available as a FREE pdf download. Originally published in 1990 — this is the 2009 edition which is the latest update.

The physical book is published at cost – hardcover is $25 and paperback copies sell for $15 if you want something to hold on to (order form here). The publication is 318 pages and chock full of useful information for homeowners and other stakeholders in the lake area. This pdf version of it contains the whole book.

The book is an cooperative effort between the NYSFOLA and the NYS DEC.

From the description:

Diet for a Small Lake is a combined effort by the New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It is designed to motivate private citizens who may not have knowledge or experience in the field of lake and watershed management. Examples from within New York State are provided to illustrate the topics. References to state laws and government structure are specific to New York State, making this book a valuable reference for professionals in the field of water resources management. The information will build the knowledge and confidence required to delve deeper into lake management. Appendices F, G and H contain internet resources, references cited, and additional readings for those who seek more information.

We advise new and old lake watershed homeowners to grab the download and dive in!

July 12, 2017
by rob

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
Comments Off on Informational Meeting about Targeted Hydraulic Dredging Tonight

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
Comments Off on May 16th, 2017 Lake Treatment

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

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 and 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.


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  or, 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.  And as always, questions and comments are welcome.   Thank you!

— Janet Andersen,

January 19, 2017
by rob
Comments Off on A Note From The Vet

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

For more information on roundworms and dog feces go to The Companion Animal Parasite Council website has lots of information about pets and parasites. Here is more information from Stanford University


Carol Gamez, D.V.M.