From the Classroom to You
by John Palaitis and Barry Joseph
A Special Supplement to the Taunton Times - Fall 2001
Residents John Palaitis and Barry Joseph graciously gave of their time and energy to attend a two day Lake Management course given by Rutgers University at the Cook College Campus in February, 2001. Their purpose was to learn lake science to better serve the Taunton Lake community. In addition, John studied for and passed the New Jersey State Commercial Pesticide Applicator's License test and the Aquatic Pesticide Specialization Test so that he would have a first-hand knowledge of aquatic pesticides as they are currently used. The following are comments that John and Barry asked to share with the community.
Lake Management Activities
Based on a recent comparison with a Rutgers curriculum, the OTCC Trustees are to be commended for their lake management practices over the years. The activities at Taunton Lake reflect many of the major guidelines provided by the Rutgers course. We have a comprehensive plan to monitor, protect, and improve the lake. We also are active in watershed issues, such as the Aerohaven Project in Evesham Township. Knowing our watershed is important in order to address the causes as well as the symptoms of pollution. In the Aerohaven case we are concerned with the potential runoff from heavily fertilized acreage and the downstream impact to Taunton Lake and we have spoken out publicly. In spite of considerable opposition, there is still support for this project and recent elections in Evesham have encouraged its backers. Jerry Klein has posted a history of this controversy on the www.tauntonlake.org Web site.
Weed control has concentrated on managing rather than eradicating the weeds and their natural fish habitat. This approach is consistent with professional recommendations. Weed control will be a constant challenge as new species appear and as we try to minimize the use of chemicals to control them.
John Palaitis is now certified by the State of New Jersey to apply aquatic pesticides (herbicides). The certification is good for 5 years, during which time John will be available to supplement the activities of Great Blue, our current contractor. Great Blue has applied a second treatment of Reward (Diquat) to help control the bladderwort nuisance.
Beach goers may notice water samples being taken every week. There is a state requirement to monitor the bacteria (fecal coliform) count on public beaches. The water is tested and a report is made to the County Health Department to show compliance.
If the count is too high the water is retested and, if necessary, the beach is closed until the count is reduced. There have been no closings so far this year, and closings in the past have been rare. However, an occasional waterfowl congregation (for example) could create a problem, and it might take several days to subside. (Editor's note: This is a good reason why you should not feed the ducks and geese that visit our lake.)
Paul Lucas has been an active participant and mentor in all things aquatic for many years. He is an OTCC Trustee and chairperson of the Aquatic Weed Committee which also consists of John and Ann Palaitis, Gil Zlock, Mike Gallaway, and Barry Joseph. Mike also chairs the Water Quality Committee and is active in monitoring the lake along with John and Barry. Water temperature, pH (acidity), Nitrogen, and Phosphorus readings are taken at 6 locations around the lake. This is done monthly throughout the summer, or if a problem is suspected. Readings are periodically checked by samples supplied to a professional lab. Any inconsistencies are usually resolved by re-testing, equipment adjustments, or new chemical reagents. Results are posted on the Web site each year. The Water Quality committee is a good place to learn more about the lake and what activities it takes to keep it healthy. New volunteers can contact Mike Gallaway at 856-797-7922.
If you enjoyed the beach this summer, give a "well done" to the people whose efforts made it so nice. Emergency life-saving equipment must be in place, lighting and emergency telephone service provided, beach attendants scheduled, the flag raised and lowered, beach raked, pavilion swept, flowers watered, trash emptied, playground equipment maintained, police contacted, and fishing from the beach and dam controlled. Kristen Lorenz, Phil Myers, Kevin Callahan, Bob Burns, Cindy Maladra, and Joan Myers have given much of their time. It is rewarding to see that a lot of other nice people have quietly done many of these tasks whenever "something needed doing." The efforts of these and other volunteers make the whole system better.
You and Your Lake
This article originally was going to be about what you should or should not be doing to help keep Taunton Lake the healthy and beautiful lake that it is; but while looking into the research concerning lake maintenance, I realized that such an article has appeared in the Taunton Times before and that, even now, information about lake maintenance exists on our Web site.
What can be found in these articles makes good sense; for example, one of the suggestions is to keep your septic system working well. Imagine, if you would, the damage that could be done to this lake if a septic system began to overflow or to leak into the water. At the very least, swimming would be banned and fishing would be affected until the damage was contained.
Another tip concerning lake maintenance is to be sparing with the use of fertilizers, or to use organic fertilizers instead of the usual commercial brands. Remember, what feeds your lawn also feeds the lake. In order to avoid an excess of weed growth and algae, avoid the excessive use of fertilizers.
Also mentioned as a kindness to the lake is being careful as to how near the water you wash your car or do auto repairs. The soap that runs off your driveway may run into the lake, and the oil, grease or gasoline that may be spilled during car repairs could eventually wind up in the lake. When added up, this kind of abuse could do some serious damage.
Again, these are good tips and there are more of them available just by logging on to www.tauntonlake.org. But knowing what you can do is one thing; actually doing so is another. So, I thought I'd use the rest of this article to mention why, at least in my opinion, you should be active in caring for our lake.
The first why that comes to mind is that our lake, Taunton Lake, is so absolutely unique. Drive anywhere within fifteen minutes of here and what do you see: suburban sprawl. Then, come back to this lake, drive around, and the magic takes over. As a friend of mind said to me this winter, "You may as well be in the Maine woods!" It's magnificent. It's beautiful, and it's one of a kind. To lose it would be a real sadness. No amount of money could bring it back.
Which brings me to another reason why you should help maintain this lake. Our properties have a premium value because they are either on or near the lake. If something were to happen to the life of this lake, if it were to become dead, as some lakes in New Jersey already are, the value of these properties would diminish considerably.
Finally, there is another value you may consider as well, a personal value. Living in Taunton Lake, you have two homes - a residential home and a vacation home - all in one. You can swim from your own backyard, or from a short walk to the beach. You can fish without traveling miles. You can ice-skate in the winter, or you can simply take a relaxing walk around the lake. All just seconds away, not hours. That's value!
I'm sure I could think of a few more reasons why you should care for this lake, but this article must end, so I'll let you come up with your own reasons. Then, hopefully, do what you can to keep this lake alive and well.
Sources of Lake Management Information
There is a proliferation of information sources for lake managers and homeowners to use as reference material and as guides. This abbreviated list may be useful to lake residents. Shipping and handling must be added to most prices. Those members without Web access can call Barry Joseph (856-988-0052) or John Palaitis (856-810-2487) for phone or mail contacts. Barry and John also have more extensive bibliographies of publications and web sites.
Lake Smarts - The First Lake Maintenance Handbook. Update Fall 2001. $21.95, 228 pp. A good source for lakeside homeowners. Low cost - low tech methods.
Lake and Reservoir Restoration Guidance Manual. Update Fall 2001. $5.00, 326 pp. A "bible."
Aquatic Plant Management in Lakes and Reservoirs. $25.00, 103 pp.
Through the Looking Glass (A field guide to aquatic plants). $25.00, 248 pp. Good illustrations.
Diet for a Small Lake; A New Yorker's Guide to Lake Management. $20.00, 268 pp. "An invaluable book." Excellent for the lay person. Detailed instructions for creating a plan, descriptions of restoration and management techniques, and a comprehensive discussion of lake ecology.
Pond Life (2001 edition). Reid, Zim, and Fichter, A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press. $6.95, 160 pp, pocket-size. Handy color-illustrated guide to North American plants and animals that live in or near ponds, lakes, streams, and wetlands. Available at bookstores but may have to be ordered.
www.state.nj.us/dep/dwq The New Jersey Dept. Of Environmental Protection's Water Quality Homepage.
www.state.nj.us/pinelands/ New Jersey Pinelands Commission Home Page.
njenv.rutgers.edu/njdlib/ The NJ Environmental Digital Library is a repository of environmental literature and multimedia related to New Jersey. The digital collection includes documents, reports, studies, photographs, videos, and maps.
www.epa.gov The US Government EPA web site. Offers links to news, events, regional offices, projects, programs, laws & regulations, databases, and software.
www.nalms.org North American Lake Management Society (NALMS). A useful web site.
www.terrene.org The Terrene Institute publishes EPA and NALMS documents.
www.nysfola.org The Federation of Lake Associations - New York.