Progress

Lake Carmi Featured in National Lake Management News

With two feet of snow on the ground, it’s easy to forget that the last few summers have been dominated by talk of cyanobacteria blooms in Vermont’s lakes—specifically, Lake Carmi.  Carmi is one of several lakes featured in the 2018 winter issue of LakeLine, published last month by the North American Lake Management Society.  We encourage you to get cozy and read the entire issue, however if you’re short on time, scroll to page 27: “Intense Cyanobacteria Blooms Spur New Approach to an Established Plan”, authored by our scientists with the Lakes and Ponds Program.  The theme of the issue is “persistence in lake management”—an apt description of the unwavering dedication of multiple local, regional, and state partners to address Lake Carmi’s water quality.

Particularly intense cyanobacteria blooms during summer 2017 curtailed lake recreation, worried community members, and grabbed media headlines.  Heavy late spring rains carried nutrients into Carmi, fueling robust early summer blooms.  Decaying cyanobacteria caused a steep decline in lake oxygen levels, which led to fish kills downstream from the lake.  The unusually warm fall that followed allowed the blooms to continue through October; the intensity and persistence of these blooms triggered growing concerns about the impact of cyanotoxins on human health.

Lake Carmi is one of several Vermont waterbodies with an EPA-approved Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  The TMDL emphasizes actions across the watershed as long-term solutions to water quality improvement; however, the public health concerns associated with Lake Carmi have spurred expedited work across the watershed, as well as plans for whole-lake aeration.  Scoping and modeling of the whole-lake aeration system has been completed and finalized plans for design and installation of the system will be announced in the coming months.

Interested in learning more?  Contact Emily Porter-Goff, coordinator of the Franklin Watershed Committee (emily.franklinwatershed@gmail.com), or Karen Bates, basin planner with the Watershed Management Division (karen.bates@vermont.gov).  The next meeting of partners engaged in cleaning up the watershed – the Lake Carmi TMDL Implementation Team – is scheduled for Thursday, April 18th, 4:45 PM – 6:45 PM in the Franklin Homestead FELCO Room

A view of a dock on the shore of Lake Carmi. Three people are fishing from the dock. A health alert sign is clearly visible in the foreground.

Health alert signs were common sights on Lake Carmi during summer and fall 2017. Image by Perry Thomas.

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