Update on green algae

Most of you have seen green algae blooms in parts of the lake in recent weeks. A few of these have been tested in both the first and second basins and some were found to contain cyanobacteria toxins based on rapid tests by the LBA. As noted earlier in the season, cyanotoxins are toxic primarily if ingested so small children and dogs are especially susceptible and should be kept out of the lake whenever any green is visible. Toxins can also be released later as the cyanobacteria die off. Some swimmers have experienced skin rashes and eye irritation.

This algae bloom phenomenon has occurred in previous years around this time but to a lesser extent. The likely cause is accumulation of the critical nutrient phosphorus in the sediment at the bottom of the lake. Phosphorus can come from landscape fertilizer runoff, especially where there is no vegetative buffer along the shoreline, from leaves and debris allowed to wash in, from failing septic systems, from pet waste, and from some dish washing detergents.

Phosphorus is absorbed into aquatic weeds and much of it gets bound to sediment at the bottom. During summer months the upper layers of water warm up but the bottom remains cool and its greater density prevents it from mixing with upper layers. In addition, dissolved oxygen is consumed near the bottom by organic decay and no mixing. The very low oxygen condition causes release of bound phosphorus which still remains in the cold, dark water layers at the bottom. In the fall, with cooling of the upper layers of the lake, the water begins mixing and soon becomes uniform, with the phosphorus and other nutrients coming up to the warmer sunlit surface–ideal conditions for algae to thrive. With the greater rainfall this summer there may have been greater runoff of nutrients.

There is no good short-term solution to this problem. It requires sustained watershed management by all of us to prevent additional phosphorus from entering the lake. If this can be done, the phosphorus available from the sediment will eventually be reduced and so will algae growth.

Next Sustainable Stow talk looks at energy-efficient homes

Did you know Stow homes are responsible for a third of the town’s total greenhouse gas emissions? To shrink our town-wide carbon footprint Stow it’s important to build housing with excellent insulation and with heating, hot water, and cooking systems not dependent on fossil fuel.

This month Sustainable Stow’s speaker series visits a new housing development in nearby Devens with Dan Gainsboro of New Communities LLC and Neil Angus, Devens’ environmental planner. This development features all-electric homes with heat pumps for heating and cooling and induction cooktops in the kitchen.

Stow TV came along so come see what’s new in energy-efficient construction and have Dan and Neil answer your questions about electric heating, cooling and cooking at Sustainable Stow’s next program. Even if you’re not thinking of moving you’ll learn about upgrading your home to stay comfortable and save money.

The Randall Library hosts this talk on Zoom on Wednesday, October 27 at 7PM. Register and get a link at https://tinyurl.com/rhbk9hrv. You can also send an email to Randall Library by Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 27 to register and get a zoom link.

Lake Boon Drawdown will begin October 22

The fall Lake Boon drawdown, done each year, will begin on or about October 22, 2021. The lake level will go down slowly over the subsequent few weeks, reaching its base level by late November.

In fact, the lake was already lowered a few inches in August, when the dam weir was repaired and in anticipation of intense rain with hurricanes Henri and Ida. So the drawdown process will continue from the current level to about a foot lower.

Lake residents should take this drawdown into consideration when scheduling removal of boats and/or shoreline repairs or clean-up.

This drawdown is in accord with the Conservation Commission Order of Conditions. For any questions or concerns, contact Dan Barstow (DanBarstow@gmail.com) of the Lake Boon Commission.

Lake Boon History Walk Saturday, October 16

Come out Saturday, Oct 16th starting at the Stow Pine Bluffs Town/Beach on Sudbury Road. Registration begins at 11:30 am with step off at noon. Bring neighbors and friends to enjoy crisp air and fall colors during the 5-mile stroll or power walk around the lake.

The tour includes 20 posters with historical photos and fascinating background of various sites of interest around the lake, including two train stops, steam and gasoline-powered ferries, a 21-room hotel and much more. Additional signs provide reminders of environmental issues that affect the lake and what we can do to protect it. A $5.00 donation to the LBA is requested.

The new Lake Boon History book, shirts and bags will be available for purchase at the start. Early Christmas shopping anyone?

Put on your comfortable walking shoes, wear bright clothing for safety and come on down!

Sign up for LBA fall discount septic pumping program

The Lake Boon Association is proud to be sponsoring a discount septic pumping program again this fall. The program will run beginning the week of November 1st – 8th. The deadline for sign up is Saturday October 16th.

To register please email David at lbaseptic@gmail.com or call Dave Siewierski at 978-562-2203 with your home address and best phone number to reach you.

The program is open to anyone living within the Lake Boon watershed or within a mile of the lake.

Since the inception of this program many holding tanks have been pumped at the discount price, saving money for individual homeowners while preserving property values and helping reduce weed and algae growth in the lake.

The more frequently a system is pumped (recommendation every 1 – 2 years depending on family size), the longer it will last and work well. The LBA sponsors this program spring and fall each year, and so far Rich Casaceli continues to give us a lower price than other area companies for an excellent job!

Please spread the word to your neighbors so we can continue to do everything we can for a Healthy Lake Boon and keep our septic systems running well.

Lake Boon Commission meets September 22

The Lake Boon Commission will meet on Zoom on Wednesday, September 22 at 7 p.m. Public participation via calling in or using your computer is encouraged.

  • Agenda:
  • Public Comment
  • Meeting Minutes – Review/Approve
  • Herbicide Order of Conditions, Hudson Renewal – Update
  • Solitude Deliverables & Contract Expiration – Discussion
  • Bills for Payment – Review/Approve
  • End of Season Planning (drawdown, buoys, boat, etc) – Discussion/Planning
  • Dam Repair Work – Update
  • Water Quality & Healthy Lake Boon Initiative – Update/Discussion
  • Kattelle Property Development – Discussion
  • Old Business
  • New Business
  • Date of Next Meeting
  • Adjourn

For login and dial-in information please see the posted agenda on the Town of Hudson’s website.

Music on Lake Boon, Sunday Sept. 19

The band Hard Knox, which recently played on the Lake Boon Music Boat during the Lighting of the Lake festivities, will be performing again at Lake Boon this Sunday, September 19, at 3:00 p.m. Set up will be at the Stow town beach, so people can come by land or by sea. Donations will be collected for the Lake Boon Association throughout the show. We hope you can come and enjoy some familiar music, and please tell friends and neighbors about the fundraising efforts.

Lake Boon algae/cyanobacteria update

Because a dense algae bloom appeared along the northern shoreline of Pine Point Road waterfront on September 6, a couple of “quick tests” for cyanotoxins were done by the Lake Boon Association. These were NOT the official state-sanctioned test that requires laboratory work and several days turnaround. The test at 10 am at the north end of the first basin indicated the presence of cyanotoxins. A notice was then sent out to the LBA email list including the MA information sheet on Hazardous Algae Blooms to warn folks around the lake.

Another quick test was done on a sample taken the same day at 12:30 pm at the town beach which showed no toxins present.

Subsequently, a quick test was done on September 10 at 4:00 pm at the east end of the second basin that showed no toxins present.

This type of test is unofficial, but we believe is appropriate for giving a timely warning. However, it is not appropriate to use it to indicate safe conditions. In fact, no testing can assure safe conditions throughout a water body. Conditions can change rapidly with temperatures, sunlight, wind/wave speed and direction. Residents must use their own judgment.

The Mass DPH recommendation is to require two official negative cyanobacteria tests a week apart (plus testing time) to open a swimming beach that has been closed. But we are not aware of Stow or Nashoba Boards of Health doing any testing or closing the beach. The life guarded swimming season is over so they have less responsibility.

Again, residents must use their own judgment about swimming, etc. based largely on appearance of the water. If cyanobacteria are present the highest risk is to small children and pets that may ingest lake water. Dogs have died from this in Massachusetts.

There is information on cyanobacteria and the quick test being used by the LBA at
and https://www.5strands.com/products/blue-green-algae-water-test.