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Lakes panel offers update on progress



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October 13, 2010
STURBRIDGE — Members of the Sturbridge Lakes Advisory Committee gave an update of the group's work to selectmen during the board's work session Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The presentation focused on what SLAC has been doing since it was made an official town committee by Town Meeting in June 2009, and what members hope to accomplish in the future. SLAC was formed to encourage "wise use and the enjoyment" of Big Alum Lake, Cedar Lake, Leadmine Pond, Walker Pond and South Pond. The committee works with the various lake associations to help protect the water bodies, fight invasive species and encourage recreation.

"We want to make sure we have viable lakes that can be used by everybody," said John O'Brien, SLAC chairman. "This group is about the overall use of the lakes and how they affect the town and neighboring towns."

O'Brien said SLAC currently has a number of ongoing projects and future goals, including increasing public information about the lakes and how to use them, fighting invasive species and other forms of contamination and to increase community involvement to attract volunteers and to help find ways to get funding.

One way SLAC would like to help people enjoy the lakes safely is by sponsoring boat safety courses, O'Brien said. Along with that, he said, the group would like to make informational print materials detailing the rules of each lake to help ensure safe recreation. There are also plans to create a website for the group with information on the group and topics of safety.

However, as more people use the lakes, there is always the possibility that boaters may inadvertently transfer invasive species to the water. O'Brien said invasive plants can travel on motors, the underside of boats, on trailers and even in the back of trucks and on hitches. In order to combat the spread of these species, O'Brien said SLAC would like to set up boat inspections at the ramps. If that is not feasible, the group would at least like to get information to boaters on how to check their boats and other equipment and properly clean it to avoid accidental transfers.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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