GoFundMe Site is Raising Money for a Two-step Plan that Could Save Stafford Springs’ State Line Pond

State Line Pond in 2019 (above) and Fall of 2008 (below)

A grassroots effort is underway to address severe deterioration of water quality in State Line Pond in Stafford. As of February 28, close to 10 % of a $ 15,000 Go Fund Me campaign to save the pond had been raised. The Whispering Pines Lake Association – which manages the pond — started  the GoFundMe site a month earlier.

State Line Pond, a 75-acre Stafford Springs lake that shares a border with Monsoon, MA, used to be well know for its usually clear water. Once a popular swimming destination for many local residents, it has for a number of years become increasingly overgrown and infested with milfoil and other evasive weeds.  According to a town notice posted on the Stafford Springs CT Bulletin Board on February 28, fish are dying off and the lake is on the verge of degenerating into a swamp. 

According to George Norboe, president of the lake association, the overall lake community had all but given up on the idea of saving the lake due to the overwhelming rapid advancing stages of eutrophication. “As the condition of the lake worsened, the costs for available solutions increased beyond our reach,” says Norboe. Last Fall, the association became aware of an affordable treatment by the Pond and Lake Connection, in Brookfield.

On February 19, Nicholas McMahon, a fisheries biologist from The Pond and Lake Connection, presented the plan to residents of Stafford at a public meeting.

Step one of the plan involves using a relatively quick-acting and easy-to-apply aquatic herbicide specifically developed to target invasive weeds in ponds and lakes; however, it does not harm fish or mammal life. The treatment, approved by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment Protection, is believed to be able to reduce the weed infestation to a point that the fish population may be able to survive. 

The next step would be to stock the pond with triploid grass carp, a herbivorous freshwater fish often used to reduce aquatic vegetation while not endangering other fish life. According to the presentation, for a relatively small price enough carp could be introduced to State Line Pond to keep weeds under control for years.

“This is very doable and affordable with a little help from our friends,” says Norboe.

Yet, time is of the essence. The town notice warns that if treatments are not applied in the next few months, State Line Pond may be too far gone to recover, since the fish population in the lake is already severely depleted.

“We are basically stewards of the lake,” say Norboe. “Generations ago, the owners of the lake very generously left it in the care of the future lake community. They left it in the care of people who they would never even meet or know their names. We take this responsibility very seriously and greatly appreciate all the help we are getting.”

To donate to the GoFundMe page for State Line Pond go to http://www.statelinepond.org/donate.asp. Supporters can also donate by checks made out to The Whispering Pines Association with “donation” in the memo line. Send checks to: Ed Burzawa, Treasurer, The Whispering Pines Association, 303 Monson Rd., Stafford Springs, CT 06076.

Laura B. Hayden writes for Crain’s Business Newsletter and the blog@sevenponds.com.  She is the author of Staying Alive: A Love Story, which received a 2012 Readers Views Award and has been recommended by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals. Her most recent work is posted on her blog at http://blog.sevenponds.com/author/laura-b

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