Its been 6 weeks since we were closed based on a NJDEP HAB (harmful; algal bloom) test. We were asked not to retest until the algae bloom completely dissipated. This bloom was persistent because of repeated heavy rain events washing new nutrients into the lake throughout September. Now that the lake is back to normal, we’ve asked the DEP to retest and we expect to be cleared by the NJ DoH soon.
Tests for HABs is a new thing. We’ve always tested well for the weekly bacteria tests the state requires. But HAB tests will become more frequent, so we have to take aggressive measures to reduce the nutrients coming into our lake, e.g., support of a town septic pumping ordinance and filtering at those inlets which we have tested to be our worst source of phosphorus. Our members can also help by pumping septic tanks every three years, using bio friendly washing liquids (Seventh Generation and Natures Promise), using less lawn fertilizer and mulch, and keeping storm drains clear.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
Cupsaw Lake is closed for swimming and wading due to a harmful algae bloom (HAB) with high levels of cyanobacteria in a DEP test taken this week. We will need two clean tests before we are permitted to reopen. The next test is scheduled for next Tuesday. The beach area will remain open and boating is permitted, but please exercise caution to avoid water contact.
The Cupsaw Environmental Committee invites the general membership to a 90 minute “love your lake” meeting on Tues, July 24th 7:30pm at the clubhouse. We will share our activities with aeration, lake treatments including blue dye and alum, lake testing, watershed management, and goose control. All are invited; we welcome your ideas.
Please direct questions to Alan Fedeli or Tom Conway. Thank you.
Benefit of Regular Septic Pumping
Scientists at the leading NJ Lake Management company report that with regular septic pumping we can reduce the nutrients flowing into our lake by 20 to 30%. What a difference that would make to the health of Cupsaw Lake. As a rule, we should be pumping our septics at least every three years. Please help. Spring is a good time to get this done before we allow runoff to add nutrients to our lake that cause excessive growth of weeds and algae.
We and several lake management experts have concluded that our aeration system is undersized. As a result, the benefits of improved dissolved oxygen are offset by the mixing of nutrient rich bottom water in summer months. We are going to add diffusers to the deep end to correct this problem. We will test to determine the benefit of this upgrade.
The use of blue dye was so successful last August that we plan to use it again this year. In fact we plan to apply it in the Spring and then have a booster shot in the Summer. The purpose is to block the UV rays to slow the growth of weeds and algae. It is food grade, thus safe for our swimmers.
The Cupsaw Environmental Committee works hard to make Cupsaw the best lake it can be. Here are just some of the efforts this group has undertaken:
- Goose Management-
- Kayak chases early in the morning to discourage geese
- Goose patrol to clean up after the occasional goose visitor in Spring
- Solar powered blinker light at lanes to discourage bedding down at night
- Back up USDA contract for removal, as a last resort. (Hasn’t been needed)
- Weed Management-
- Herbicide treatments in April and May
- “Weed rope” beyond the 3rd dock to catch dying weeds
- Canoe pick up of floating weeds around weed ropes and lanes
- Herbicide booster in June in shallow areas
- Algae Management-
- Aeration system to reduce internal phosphorus release
- Alum treatments in May and June to drop out nutrients (2016 & 2017)
- Canoe pick up of floating filamentous algae in swim areas
- Introduction of beneficial bacteria (June 2017)
- Copper Sulphate treatments in July and August as necessary
- Watershed Management
- Rain Garden (by Boy Scouts) near Volleyball court to slow erosion from courts
- Encouragement to pump septics regularly
- Encouragement to use lawn fertilizer sparingly
- Water Circulation
- Ensuring paddle wheel operation which is key to beach water quality
- Use of water movers near lanes and in deep cove areas
- Lake Testing and logging
- Weekly State testing for coliform count (always way below criteria)
- Monthly testing for algae presence by our aeration company
- Periodic testing by our own committee in our own lab
- Near daily testing and logging Secchi depth, temp, and goose sightings
- Four years of data logging to verify results of lake treatment measures
- Meetings and Outreach
- Monthly Environmental Committee Meetings
- Meetings with Erskine and Skyline environmental committees every other month
- Participation at NJ Coalition of Lake Assn’s meetings (4 times annually)
- Member of board of directors of NJ Coalition of Lake Assn’s
As a result of these efforts:
- Our State testing of beach water is regularly <10 for coliform, <200 is the requirement
- Our Secchi disk clarity has been improving year to year for 4 years
- Our lake swimmers and sailors have had fewer weeds to contend with
- We no longer contend with goose droppings on our beach
However, we can’t get too confident; we are dealing with nature. It is a lake, we will have weeds and algae, but we need to keep up with our best efforts.