This fall, the Ecology Committee is leading an educational effort to increase member awareness of how to care for our lake and extend its life cycle, the first effort in what we hope will be an annual program. To date, LHA actions have been reactive, that is, chemically treating the lake to control ugly algae blooms with mixed results. This fall’s educational effort is meant to be proactive and preventative. Please look out for our volunteers who will be visiting houses in your neighborhood with our materials.
How can you help? Sign the “Lake Safe Pledge” by emailing Rachel Dreyfus at racheljdreyfus (at) gmail.com, or when visited by our volunteers. You will then recieve a “Guardian of the Lake” magnet on for your mailbox.
As part of this fall’s effort, it’s a good idea to test your lawn and garden soil before applying any fertilizer. Does your lawn really need it? And if so, what is the best plan?
Fall is the ideal time to soil test. To help out with this, the association has secured a discount of $8 per sample from the UConn Agriculture Lab. Inaddition, Ecology Committee Chair Jeff Henchcliffe will also be collecting lawn samples and checks for the fee $8 at his house on November 11.
Why is this important?
We need to be knowledgeable of the journey of plant nutrients, chemicals and debris from our yards to our lake and their subsequent impact to the lake environment.
A healthy and beautiful lake affords members the recreational and enrichment benefits absolutely central to the value of living in Lake Hills. A healthy lake improves our well-being and that of our children.
Three main reasons the health of our lake is at risk:
Surface water runoff that transports chemicals and debris directly or via storm drain systems into the lake and its tributaries
Plant nutrients, especially phosphorus, contained in fertilizer and leaked from poorly maintained septic systems
Debris, including grass, leaves, branches, soil and sand that enters the lake from the shoreline or storm drains
These three hazards promote weed and algae growth, sediment buildup and deteriorated water quality. Their impact can be amplified during periods of above average air temperature and low water flow.
The Lake Safe Pledge signifies our commitment to adhering to five important behaviors to benefit the health of our lake and to educating others.
1. Pick Up Pet Waste: Do not leave pet waste on the street or edge of lawns, and never put it into storm drains.
2. Regularly Maintain Septic System: If you have a septic system properly maintain it and ensure it is not leaking.
3. Do Not Dump: Never dump chemicals or yard debris into driveways, roads, storm drains, the lake, Mill River or Cricker Brook. Note Lake Hills rule F7: Pollution of the lake or its tributaries, littering, dumping in the Lake or on Association property is strictly prohibited and may be illegal. Never put fish or plants from aquariums or other water bodies into the lake, its marsh or its tributaries. It’s the law! (CGS 15-180, CGS 22a-381d)
4. Maintain & Develop Plant Buffers: Maintain or develop plant beds around your home and at the edges of your yard. Buffers help prevent surface water, nutrients and debris from entering roads, storm drains and the lake, and help deter geese from entering lake-side yards. Consider using native plants and rain barrels and building a rain garden.
5. Use Organic Fertilizer (or none at all): If you decide to apply fertilizer, use organic slow-release fertilizer with low or no phosphorus or use yard compost. Fertilizer products indicate their N-P-K contents: Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium, example, 10-0-2. Keep the middle number low or zero.