In September, a request from Lewisboro highway superintendent Peter Ripperger about cutting down dead ash trees near power lines on the TEA’s boat launch property (1.5 acres) at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Gilbert Street started a multi-phase TEA project that will be ongoing for several years.
Phase 1 (complete):
- Dangerous tree cutting. 18 dead ash trees were cut and cleared in September 2021.
Phase 2 (complete):
- Clean up debris remaining from the tree clearing including vines, stumps, broken branches, and barberry plants destroyed by the heavy work of the tree cutting in phase 1. Phase 2 scoped out November 2021 and work was completed December 2021.
Phase 3 (2 years, Winter 2021-Spring 2023):
Goals: 1.) Convert the newly cleared area into a native plant pollinator pathway. 2.) Repair fencing, gates, and locks to boat launch entrances. 3.) Install private property, boat launch permission, and resident fishing tag requirement signage on all gateways.
Native pollinator/plant pathway establishment requires solarization of the cleared area to kill the persistent invasive species currently established on the property (barberry, privet, wild rose, burning bush, Norway maples, others) without the use of chemicals. Without solarization, the invasive species will return in the spring and a perfect opportunity to reclaim native planting areas to a section of the property in flux due to the tree work and ground disturbance will be lost.
The property has several watercourses that will carry any chemicals used directly into the lake. This is something we (and everyone around the lake) should avoid doing at all costs since it damages our most precious natural resource and the animals, plants, and insects that reside here with us.
Steps in Phase 3 include:
- Take inventory of plants currently present on site.
- Consult local native plant experts.
- Purchase tarps and other ground coverings. Place around disturbed area to solarize invasives (kills without chemicals). This process takes two years and it will look ugly.
- Lewisboro Garden Club experts recommended placing water bars or rocks near the pipe at the corner of Gilbert and Lake Shore to direct and slow the velocity of the water and limit erosion.
- Repair and reinstall split rail fencing along the property line/roads edge.
- Install fence gates, lockable latches, and private property signage at the two boat launch entrances.
- Speak with town wetland consultant about permits needed for planting and fencing work.
Phase 4 (Spring 2024):
Replanting disturbed and newly solarized area.
- Replanting can include native plants such as blueberries, viburnum, dogwoods, river birches, and others as deemed appropriate and practical.
- Helpful links:
- Focus will be on replanting native species that are beneficial to insects, birds, and animals native to the region.
Phase 5 (starting in 2023, ongoing):
- Expand invasive plant control beyond the current disturbed area at the corner of Lake Shore and Gilbert Streets.
- Cut back the invasive plants and repeat Phase 3 and Phase 4 over time to reclaim the land cover.
- Replace over time with native species that are beneficial to the native plant, animal, and insect ecosystem.
- Observe which native species are needed and thrive best. Adjust as needed for success.
This long-term project will help our lake maintain a healthier balance and attract a larger diversity of native species over time.
We are not “clear-cutting” this area. We are not creating a “park” either. We envision a vibrant, healthy, green area that will provide ground cover to this unique undeveloped riparian property on Truesdale Lake. It is the largest mostly undeveloped property on the lake and it provides some of the best cover for nesting birds, small mammals, and amphibians in our very busy recreational lake.
Note: The project phases and outline is subject to change as time, budget, goals, and permits require.
If you are interested in helping out, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have expertise you’d like to offer, we welcome your input.