Lake Health

You may have noticed an area of water that has been cordoned off with stakes and buoys near our sunken island. Unfortunately, it is marking an area of invasive watermilfoil that was discovered just this past weekend by a District resident. Milfoil is a very resilient, invasive species that can spread by root expansion, seeds, and especially by fragmentation, which is precisely what we are trying to prevent. 

PLEASE stay very clear of the area. The slightest disruption of this plant could result in numerous breakaway stems that in turn will literally take root all over the lake. We can’t state this strongly enough – it is imperative that you give this area a very wide berth. We are hoping that this has been found early enough to prevent a massive outbreak.

This will quickly be dealt with, under the guidance of our limnologist and the company tasked with its removal, with the hope that we can gain some control of what could be a very difficult undertaking, should it have the chance to spread and expand around our lake.

Late the week of June 20 or early the week of June 27, 2022 we will have SCUBA divers in the water to pull and remove all of the plant that they can possibly find. Be aware that the workers will be operating on a gas-powered boat, with suction pumps that physically suck the plants out of the water, into bags on the boat, while the divers pull it out by its roots.

Any questions, comments, or concerns should be forwarded via email to fickerama@yahoo.com.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Residents are encouraged to join the Amston Lake Health Committee from 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2022 (rain date Sunday, June 26) as they host the District’s limnology consultant, Aquatic Ecosystem Research (AER), at the Amston Lake clubhouse at 16 Wood Acres Road in Hebron. The results of the 2021 Water Quality Monitoring Report will be discussed, and AER limnologists will be available to answer questions from ALD residents about lake water quality. If you’re not able to attend, please forward any questions you may have for AER to Frank Hoisl at hoislfr@gmail.com.

Prior to the presentation, AER will be performing their periodic plant survey on the lake beginning at 8 AM on Saturday. AER has been granted special permission to use a gas-powered boat on the lake.

Mission Statement
Newsletter
Volunteer
Long Term Health Plan
Analyses and Reports
Committee Activities
Erosion Control
Right of Way and Detention Basins

How to protect our lake

Our lake is a recreational resource for every resident in our District. We need to remember that the health of our lake directly impacts us all. Without a healthy and clean lake, all property values will decrease. Let’s all work together to keep our lake clean and free of unwanted nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus).

Amston Lake Health Committee (ALHC) Mission Statement:  To develop, communicate, and implement a Lake Health Management Plan that identifies key activities necessary to maintain or improve the health of the Amston Lake watershed and lake environment for the Amston Lake District.

What you can do to protect our lake

Fertilizer use:  It is best not to use any fertilizers because if it helps grow your lawn and plants, it helps grow weeds in the lake, too. If you must use fertilizer – have your soil tested first so the proper amount can be applied, and only use fertilizers which have no phosphorus (the middle number on the fertilizer bag) as even a little phosphorus may contribute to algae and weed growth in District waters.

Amston Lake District Newsletter:   A newsletter is issued yearly which provides guidance on lake health and other topics regarding the Amston Lake District. Other newsletters can be found at Amston Laker.

Be a volunteer:   We are a committee of volunteers who monitor and work to improve the health of our lake. Our action item list and a description of our efforts can be found here: Lake Health Committee Activities. Feel free to contact us or come to a meeting if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.

Long Term Health Plan:  The Lake Health Committee has created a historical table of information which is used to research past events in order to plan for current issues. The Lake Management History folder contains detail for lake management and available archive documentation. The Lake Health Committee is constantly learning, and so can you. Please visit this educational folder to learn more about lake health and read detailed discussions with our limnologist in our current year folder.

Analyses and Reports:  Many types of reports are prepared as a result of lake monitoring practices. They may be performed monthly, yearly, or multi-yearly depending on how quickly lake conditions change or how often they are needed. Detailed information can be found for a specific year by reviewing past reports described below.

  • Annual Limnologist Summary Reports provide a summary of testing results and inspections performed over the past year and an analysis of lake health. These efforts first began in 1994 and have continued to present day. Each report evaluates previous year’s test results in order to capture the current lake health condition.
  • Bathymetry Reports show the lake’s depth in a topographical format. The most current map is more detailed due to improved technology. Comparing past and present bathymetry reports has been limited due to the availability of historical data.
  • Fish reports by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection show trends of our fish habitat and approximate fish populations. Our committee has combined the data in the reports showing the populations of fish types over the years.
  • Plant Surveys and Controls investigate past vegetation mapping of Amston Lake and summarize lake health with respect to the plants needed for a healthy lake. Excerpts from our limnologist’s yearly reports provide a quick look at previous year’s plant reviews, while detailed plant surveys provide a more complete picture of the entire lake. Vegetation treatments have been performed in the past with limited to poor results, which actually decreased the quality of the lake’s condition.
  • Current year testing activities are performed and recorded monthly, which may include deepwater, phytoplankton, stormwater, and bathing water (beach- E. Coli) samples.
  • A lake data spreadsheet is updated in July and November which includes all storm- and deepwater testing at Amston Lake. This data is one of the primary methods of understanding our lake’s health.

Committee Activities

We are a very active committee and this page was created to educate members of the District on our efforts, as well as how they can help.

  • Amston Lake Health Committee meeting minutes provide a summary of the discussions at our meetings and include current open actions. All Lake Health meetings are open to Amston Lake District members.
  • ALHC testing efforts include deepwater, stormwater, and beach (bathing water) testing.  Much of this information is very detailed, and our committee is always willing to educate District residents in what we do and how they can help keep our lake beautiful.  Link to Committee activities.
  • Amston Lake Management Procedures and Planning Guide is a document that provides a history of Amston Lake along with information about the watershed, topography, wastewater, lake monitoring, aquatic plant ecology, and other items.  Please take a look at this educational material.
  • Barley straw has been used at Amston Lake with spotty results.  General information about barley straw can be found on the ALHC Page.
  • Amston Lake Historical Document Management This spreadsheet includes documentation since 1974 that can be searched to find information about Amston Lake health. This document can be searched by titles, description, author, issue date, overview, and category to locate information. 
  • A Lake Management History Spreadsheet tracks approximately 10 lake management areas and describes efforts performed over the years to focus our attention on pertinent issues.

Erosion Control

Erosion is a major contributor to poor lake health. Anything that goes into the storm drain by your home can go straight into the lake. This means that everyone’s property affects lake health.  The use of plants, rocks, detention basins or similar impediments to water flow can help to minimize sediment getting into the lake. The information below describes methods our lake health committee is working on to monitor and minimize erosion.

  • Stormwater:  In 2008 a detailed stormwater analysis was prepared for the town of Hebron to document inflow conditions on the Hebron side of Amston Lake. This analysis continues to be used to support our stormwater collection activities.
  • Amston Lake Stormwater/Drains : The ALHC researched all the storm drains around the lake, how they are interconnected, if they contain a sump (basin at the bottom to catch sediment), and where they enter the lake. Members began documenting catch basin depths, before and after yearly spring cleaning, along with any changes to storm drains that may have occurred. A table was developed to track the yearly measurements.
  • Master Drainage (Stormwater) Plan:  This goal was identified in the Town of Lebanon 2020 POCD (Plan of Conservation and Development).  A budget target was listed, but the town has yet to commission this plan that would include Amston Lake. Our hope is that expected federal infrastructure funding, coming to the state and/or town, can be used to support the plan, as improvements in storm drains on the Lebanon side of the lake are badly needed to further improve lake health.   

Right Of Way (ROW) and Detention Basins (plunge pools):  Lake Health Committee members observe water flow during heavy rainstorms. Erosion control priorities are established and corrective measures are reviewed. While some projects require considerable engineering, including numerous back and forth discussions with town departments, committees, and individuals to achieve final approval, others are straightforward and easily performed. The folders for erosion control show efforts around Amston Lake.