PREVENTING POLLUTION: PROTECTING WATER QUALITY AT ROSELAND LAKE

 

THE PROBLEM

 

SURFACE WATER QUALITY & ALGAE


algae bloom on Roseland LakeRoseland Lake is considered impaired for its designated use (recreation) due to excessive nutrients, eutrophication and biological indicators. The potential sources are agriculture, waterfowl, and unknown. Read more about the Water Quality of Roseland Lake.

Roseland Lake is a primary source of drinking water for the Town of Putnam and limited areas of Woodstock. The lake suffers from chronic algae blooms.

Algae imparts an undesirable taste to drinking water. The Town of Putnam treats the lake with copper sulfate to control the algae. Trout and other water organisms are sensitive to even small concentrations of copper. Also, copper sulfate treatment causes existing algae blooms to die and sink to the bottom of the lake, and then decay, which can result in oxygen depletion. Therefore, preventing algae growth in the first place would be better than periodic treatment with chemicals.

SOURCES OF POLLUTION


There are no permitted industrial discharges to Roseland Lake. No specific storm drain outlet issues have been identified above Roseland Lake in the area closest to tributary streams, although there are some Areas of Concern.

That means that the main problem for Roseland Lake what is called "nonpoint source pollution." The term"nonpoint" refers to the fact that the pollution is not coming out of a specific discharge point like a pipe. Instead, it comes from diffuse sources, as rainfall and/or snowmelt move over and through the ground.

A large quantity of surface water moving over the land (e.g., during a heavy rainfall) is called "stormwater." "Stormwater runoff" is water that runs off across the land instead of seeping into the ground. It usually flows downhill to the nearest body of water, and is not treated in any way.

Stormwater runoff can carry fertilizers, pesticides, pathogens, sand, sediment, salt, heavy metals and petroleum products into the lake. Large quantities of unregulated stormwater flow can cause erosion and sedimentation. Erosion and sedimentation can increase nutrient loading that causes eutrophication, which in turn contributes to algae blooms. Sedimentation can also interfere with hatching of fish and amphibian eggs. Stormwater runoff during a major rain event can also cause rapid temperature changes in parts of the lake.

Specific activities that can contribute to pollution at Roseland Lake include the following:

  • Runoff from agricultural operations (like growing crops or raising cows) upstream can contain animal waste by products, fertilizers and pesticides. The Woodstock Golf Course uses pesticides and fertilizers. They are located to the west of Roseland Lake. One of the fairways drains into an intermittent stream channel that empties into Roseland Lake.
  • Housing and residential development upstream or around the lake can increase nutrient loading due to lawn care practices, pet waste, loss of vegetated buffers, and malfunctioning septic systems.
  • Timber harvesting and land clearing during construction can result in soil erosion. The slopes on the southeastern side of Roseland Lake are very steep. When stripped of ground cover, heavy rainfall creates gullies, carrying dirt and sand into the lake.
  • An increase in impervious surfaces (like paved driveways) can keep water from slowly soaking into the ground, resulting in sheet flow of water that can carry pollutants and sediment with it.
  • Canada geese can contribute to water quality impairment. Large numbers of migratory and over-wintering populations of waterfowl do congregate on the lake. However, the Muddy Brook and Little River Water Quality Improvement Plan concluded that Canada geese do not stay long enough at Roseland Lake to be of concern. So far, there are no resident populations here. If future populations do become established, their fecal material could further increase nutrient loading in the lake.

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

 

LITTLE RIVER SOURCEWATER PROTECTION


Roseland Lake is part of the Little River watershed. Volunteers and officials from the towns of Putnam and Woodstock and the State of CT DEEP have been working together with environmental protection and conservation agencies and land trusts, residents and businesses to develop a plan to protect the Putnam and Woodstock water supplies, which includes the Little River Watershed.

A management plan was developed by a local volunteer team during a nearly year-long process to protect the Little River watershed which supplies drinking water for much of the Town of Putnam and public water supply wells in Woodstock. The plan addresses the lack of hard data and the need to mitigate known potential contamination sources. Major plan elements included: a comprehensive evaluation of the watershed, agricultural best practices, protection of key watershed lands, education and outreach, and a focus on both Roseland Lake and Muddy Pond waterbodies.

A Plan summary is posted on Town of Putnam website (under Water and Sewer Dept, Information) at: http://www.putnamct.us/new/waterandsewer.htm (Source: CT Nonpoint Source Management Program, 2005 Annual Report, CT DEP, November 2006)

RECOMMENDED MEASURES TO PROTECT ROSELAND LAKE WATER QUALITY


The Muddy Brook and Little River Water Quality Improvement Plan recommended the following measures to help protect Roseland Lake.

  • PREVENT EROSION AND STORMWATER RUNOFF:
    • Establish/increase/maintain vegetated buffers: on the lake shores. Note that in 2012, a rain garden was installed along the stream by the Woodstock Golf Course to provide a vegetative buffer.
    • Avoid disturbing highly erodible soils. Even though the Town of Woodstock regulations only require stormwater controls for construction projects involving more than 2.5 acres, Roseland Lake is small enough to be negatively impacted by smaller projects.
    • Manage crop land cover. Develop and continue sound management practices. Farmers can voluntarily implement best management practices to reduce agricultural runoff. For example, farms can apply for a Section 319 NPS grant for innovative manure injection application on sensitive agricultural lands.
  • CONTROL SOURCES OF POLLUTION
    • Minimize and manage fertilizer and pesticide application: Develop and continue sound management practices. Farmers can voluntarily implement best management practices to reduce agricultural runoff. Implement green lawn care practices to minimize or eliminate the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
    • Maintain and monitor septic systems, and repair as needed.
    • Scoop Poop: remove pet waste from areas near the lake.
  • CONSERVE OPEN SPACE:
    • Support preservation of key parcels.
      • The Little River was granted Greenway status in 2006. This status is jointly applied by the Towns of Woodstock and Putnam as part of a natural resource protection strategy.
      • Although some of the land surrounding Roseland Lake is not developed, currently only Roseland Park and the Wyndham Land Trust Little River Preserve are considered "protected" open space.
      • The Zeelandia parcel is under PA-490, and the owners plan to put a conservation easement on it with a local land trust.

 

The following additional recommendations apply to the watershed as a whole.

  • Form a local watershed/source water protection team to evaluate plan implementation progress and modify it as needed. As of 2014, a formal standing committee had not been formed. However, some watershed stakeholders continue efforts to fulfill the recommendations contained in the plan.
  • Assess threats and develop strategies to address those threats.
  • Monitor water quality.
  • Establish thresholds for nutrients, eutrophication and biological indicators. Set goals to improve water quality to the target Class AA.
  • Implement best management practices that target nutrient Nonpoint Source pollution.
  • Use town zoning to minimize impacts from development.
  • Establish local watershed protection regulations.
  • Address stormwater issues (Areas of Concern) and implement best management practices and controls: e.g., plant vegetated swales to enhance infiltration, minimize impervious surfaces, minimize steep slopes, control erosion during construction, upgrade stormwater management facilities, treat stormwater as appropriate, etc.
  • Avoid introducing invasive species
  • Evaluate, control and remove invasive plant species.
    • Note: The CT DEEP treated Phragmites clumps growing on Roseland Lake in 2005 (?), and again in September of 2014.
    • Dredge or excavate out dead and dislodged Phragmites rhizomes that trap 'floatables' carried by wind and waves (Note: This would require a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.)
  • Prevent the introduction of invasive aquatic species (aquatic hitchhikers.)
  • Take measures to prevent the establishment of resident Canada Geese populations.
  • Discourage feeding of waterfowl.
  • Hold and participate in household hazardous waste collection days to prevent illegal disposal of hazardous chemicals.
  • Inspect underground fuel storage tanks and remove them if they are failing.
  • Offer targeted periodic public outreach and education to increase environmental awareness, including interpretive signage and events.