Living on Fern Lake and Lake Dunmore requires making daily decisions that can affect the water quality of the lakes. Living lake-friendly isn’t about giving anything up – it is about finding out what works for you and what works with the lakes. It is about educating ourselves so that decisions and actions help protect our lakes for generations to come. Here is some information to help us become better-informed stewards of our lakes.
The Vermont Dept of Environments Conservation has identified major lake stressors. They include:
Acidity – caused primarily by atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur compounds (acid rain)
Erosion – excessive channel and land erosion is brought about by human activities that alter runoff patterns and deliver sediment and nutrients to the lakes
Flow Alteration – altering the natural flow of streams or lake levels affects the extent of habitats, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and concentrations of toxins in aquatic organisms
Encroachment – placement of structures upon the lakeshores result in the loss of buffer zones, increasing sunlight penetration, reducing habitat quality and quantity, and poor ecological integrity
Invasive Species – out-compete native plants, algae, and animals resulting in reduced recreational opportunities and altered ecosystem
Nutriend Loading – septic systems and fertilizer usage deliver nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen causing increased likelihood of toxic algae growth
Pathogens – fecal contamination may result from poorly maintained septic systems, pet waste, and natural sources and cause gastrointestinal distress when exposed to swimmers
Phosphorus – increases in phosphorus can lead to problematic changes in freshwater lakes such as increased algae and a subsequent loss of deepwater oxygen
Toxic Substances – several categories including mercury, PCBs, heavy metals, pharmaceutical degrades, and personal care products have consequential impacts to aquatic life
Thermal Stress – excess warming occurs as a result of reduced lakeshore vegetation and climate change impacting aquatic species
For additional information visit the Vermont Watershed Management site.