Care & Feeding of the Watershed

What is a watershed anyway?
No matter where you live, work, or play, you are in a watershed. A watershed is a geographic area in which all the water running off the land drains to a specific location -- in our case, Long Meadow Lake.

Monitoring Program:
A water quality monitoring program will track changes in the lake over time. This will help to identify new issues that should be addressed, and track the results of management techniques. Information that we gather may include thermal stratification, dissolved oxygen, phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations, water transparency and alkalinity.

Winter Drawdown:
During the winter months, the water level may be lowered up to four feet, exposing 25% of the lake bottom.This will allow those areas to freeze, killing rooted aquatic plants.

The water level should go down slowly to allow for the migration of certain aquatic species such as muscles, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper water. The drawdown should be followed by chemical treatment.  

The sediment in Long Meadow is loose and uncompacted and is about 87% water and 13% solids. The soft sediment is a result of storm water runoff and the decomposition of organic materials, primarily aquatic plants. A successful drawdown will also result in sediment compaction and will allow for sediment removal. Maintenance to structures such as docks and wall will become facilitated as a result of the drawdown. 

The success of the drawdown is partially dependent on the weather.  A warm, wet winter will result in fewer positive impacts. We believe that the installation of a pipe/valve system in the existing dam would provide a safe, controlled method of drawdown permanently. Currently it is an above ground system.

The Long Meadow Lake Management Committee has received tremendous support from the community, the Bethlehem municipality, and from many other similarly focused organizations including the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and the Northwest Conservation District.

The LMLMC is a member of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS).