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Current Projects

CLARK STUDENTS HELP WITH GRANT/FOUNDATION RESEARCH

Several students from Clark University visited with the ILWA in October 2016 offering to help with Indian Lake. The board agreed that developing a list of appropriate grants/foundations along with deadlines that would be a fit for our lake restoration efforts would be instrumental to our work. The students may assist with grant writing as well!

CYANOSCOPE PROJECT

Volunteers also took part in training with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Protection, many lake, pond and health professionals to learn about how we can help scientists and researchers track cyanobacteria blooms. Learn more at http://cyanos.org/cyanoscope.

ADVOCATING FOR OUR 'BLUE WAYS'

http://worcestermag.com/2016/06/09/blue-space-rediscovering-worcesters-urban-waterways/43487

Looking for volunteer projects? First please know that volunteers are providing weekly maintenance at many locations around the lake so help is always needed with mowing, trimming, weeding.

CITY OF WORCESTER GEESE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

Brochure

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

Additional project ideas can be found at this link:

Volunteer projects 

WPI IQP PROJECT #4

Our 4th Independent Qualifying Project with students from WPI and their knowledgeable professors wrapped up in the spring of 2016. The project began in September 2015.

Over the past 50 years, development within the Indian Lake watershed has increased dramatically which has caused increased water quality problems at Indian Lake and its tributaries and inlets. This development has attributed to increased sedimentation and unwanted nutrients entering the lake from both upstream development and urban runoff. The water impairment has led to an increase in nuisance aquatic plants. Nonnative, invasive plants that are impossible to eradicate have created an ongoing challenge for lake management.

Thus there are two major components to this IQP which are extremely valuable: In Depth Plant Survey and Developing an Online System to Track Stenciling of Storm Drains leading to Indian Lake.

PLANT SURVEY

Without a way to completely eradicate the nonnative, invasive weeds, monitoring the weed growth is an essential management tool. The ILWA’s greatest success in managing the weed growth has been an annual drawdown. This has allowed us to move away from costly chemical treatments which is a huge environmental win. Yet there are many factors that can impact its success including water level changes and weather. A freeze is essential for drawdown success.

In 2013, a plant survey was completed by three WPI students for their Interactive Qualifying Project. It was the first time a plant survey was documented in an interactive format that could be viewed by the public via the ILWA website.

- Mirror the plant collection process and data points used in the 2013 survey.
- Develop maps and reports which show new plant coverage. Due to the large size of the Indian Lake, the point intercept method is recommended as the primary data collection technique. This method allows for analysis of many points, providing an accurate representation of species’ composition, distribution, and abundance throughout the water body.
- Highlight non-native and in particular, invasive weeds with detailed information on any new species found.
- Develop a process for putting new data into the Google Earth maps including ability to show past and new surveys comparatively.
- Make detailed comparison with the 2013 survey and incorporate weather and changes in the water drawdown into the comparison.
- Create a weed survey for Little Indian and develop appropriate maps and data to incorporate into the website. This smaller portion of Indian Lake has challenges that are separate from the main body of water.

STORM DRAINS

There are approximately 1200 storm drains that lead to Indian Lake or its tributaries throughout the surrounding watershed. Anything that goes into these drains is carried into Indian Lake. A storm drain stenciling program was introduced by the City of Worcester many years ago as a public education initiative. The intent was to stencil each storm drain throughout the city with information that indicates where it leads to such as ‘Don’t dump… Leads to Indian Lake’.

The first storm drain stenciling effort in the Indian Lake watershed took place about 15-20 years ago as an Eagle Scout project lead by a local Boy Scout. Since that time, various efforts have been made to track and update the stenciling. The challenge is really how to know if they are all stenciled and which ones need to be re-painted.

The project would include locating all storm drains leading to Indian Lake, assessing their stenciling condition and developing a way to track their stenciling status so we can maintain this and plan projects to update as needed.

Congratulations to our students!

Worcester Magazine Article by Tom Quinn

Telegram Article by Steve Foskett

MassLive Article by Michael Kane

Telegram Article by Nick Kotsopoulos

WPI IQP PROJECT #3: WATERSHED SURVEY

We are happy to sponsor our 3rd Independent Qualifying Project with students at WPI in the 2014-2015 school year! This project will be especially important considering what we experienced this summer!

Our students this year are Aaron and Dylan.

Aaron is from Marshfield, Massachusetts. He is a Junior at WPI studying Management Engineering with a concentration in Operations. He is also a part of the WPI Varsity Men's Basketball Team.

Dylan is from Portland, Oregon. Also a Junior, he is studying Aerospace Engineering Concentration Astronautics. He also participates in WPI Theatre, is a member of the honor society AYO and has helped with nature restoration back home in Oregon.

The first part of their project took place October 18th in which volunteers were asked to help collect valuable data throughout the entire watershed! The goal of tracking nonpoint source pollution ... in other words... things you may not be able to see easily but could affect the lake water quality. We did this in 2002 and it will be great to get an update!

Aaron and Dylan will also be working with a science teacher and class at Bancroft School to collect data on a separate day.

Next step will be organizing it, prioritizing and determining who the correct agency or persons are that can take action.

As an organization, we are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to work with students and professors at WPI for the benefit of Indian Lake.

2002 Survey Results

HAPGOOD BROOKS MEMORIAL PROJECT

The Hapgood-Brooks Memorial was dedicated on May 27th, 1945. The Indian Lake Watershed Association (ILWA) with the support of the City of Worcester Veteran’s Services Department outlined a project to document the history of this valuable neighborhood memorial.

Eric Benoit, a student at St. Peter-Marian Junior-Senior High School took the lead on the project which included a notable plaque which was installed on the site at the intersection of Grove and Holden Street in Worcester.

The final project can be found here: Hapgood-Brooks Project

Re-dedication event photos can be found here: Event Photos

CYANOBACTERIA DISCOVERED IN INDIAN LAKE

In early July 2014, a cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) bloom was discovered in Indian Lake. When the bloom was confirmed, numbers were already well above the guidelines set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Cyanobacteria can product toxins that may be harmful to humans and pets. The toxins are often produced when the cyanobacteria is dying. While the toxin levels remained below the guidelines for the majority of the summer, the conditions can change quickly and there is currently no field test available.

As per the MDPH guidelines, an advisory was issued for Indian Lake from July to October 2014.

RENOVATIONS OF MORGAN PARK, SHORE PARK & INDIAN LAKE BEACH

Residents on and around Indian Lake have had the opportunity to participate in the renovation plans for Morgan Park, Shore Park and Indian Lake Beach recently. Public hearings began in October 2013 and plans for these facilities are expected to be voted on by the City of Worcester Parks & Recreation Commission on Thursday, February 6th.

As the planning stage moves to funding for these improvements, a separate process will begin to address the newly acquired property at the intersection of West Boylston Drive and Mattson Avenue.

Master plans as approved:

Morgan Park
Shore Park
Shore Park parking option A
Shore Park parking option B
Shore Park parking option C
Indian Lake Beach

CLEANUPS

The ILWA typically holds spring and fall cleanups of the Indian Lake shoreline and surrounding parks and beaches. We welcome individuals and groups to participate. If you are unable to help that day, arrangements will gladly be made to help you choose a project and get the proper tools to help on a more convenient day.

Groups and individuals lookiing for project but are unable to make a scheduled cleanup can contact Beth Proko at bproko@charter.net. Also feel free to join any of our dedicated volunteers that can often be seen mowing, weeding and more at the parks and war memorials in the neighborhood surrounding Indian Lake.

NEW WEED DISCOVERED

The ILWA has recently discovered a new invasive weed primarily along the shoreline of the Grove Street/ Indian Lake Parkway area. It is Phragmites australis, more commonly known as 'Common Reed'. This tall perennial can reach 16' high and has a silky flower head that may be purplish or white. It has a very large root system that can be extremely difficult to pull out. We are currently researching ways to manage this weed. More information can be found at:

Common Reed

LAKE SAFETY

Please do not hesitate to contact the Worcester Police Department if you see illegal activities happening at the parks surrounding the lake and the Environmental Police in regards to reckless driving and improper use of boats or personal watercraft on the lake. In these times of limited resources, it is critical that we all play a part in ensuring our lake is as safe as it can be.

  • Worcester Police Department
    Main number: 508-799-8606 (any time)
    Operations: 508-799-8669 (someone is usually only at this phone during the day)

    Massachusetts Environmental Police
    Dispatch: 800-632-8075
    Office: 978-630-3748

CONSULTANT COMPLETES PHOSPHOROUS STUDY OF INDIAN LAKE

The City of Worcester hired the environmental engineering firm of Brown and Caldwell to study Indian Lake and the surrounding watershed to help evaluate nutrients entering the lake and the impact on water quality. The goal is to help the City develop a long term plan for managing the nutrient flow in Indian Lake and the adjoining Blackstone River.

The ILWA has conducted a myriad of studies around this very subject for many years and therefore was able to share resources for the benefit of this work.

Brown and Caldwell presented their findings to members of the Association in June 2013. The presentation and report can be found below:

Indian Lake Phospherous Reduction Study Presentation

Indian Lake Phospherous Reduction Study Report

ILWA HELPS NELSON PLACE SCHOOL

In August of both 2011 and 2012 and the spring of 2013, some members of the ILWA have helped organize a cleanup at Nelson Place Elementary School in cooperation with Assumption College. The ILWA tool trailer was used and volunteers, in addition to the school cleanup, stencilled storm drains.

In August 2013, the ILWA loaned tools to volunteers at Nelson Place School to help support this continued effort.

ILWA HELPS WITH 'THE EAGLE' ON WEST BOYLSTON STREET

City Councilor Tony Economou led Earth Day efforts at 'The Eagle' monument on West Boylston Street across from Easy Sweep Vaccuum Shop in the spring of 2012. ILWA volunteers participated and brought the ILWA tool trailer to help with this effort. Other organizations involved include the Regional Environmental Council, which organizes the citywide Earth Day efforts and the Worcester Tree Initiative.

This memorial to all veterans was created by Carl Milles in 1948 at the request of Norton Company executive George N. Jeppson who organized a committee to fund it.

It may come as no surprise but ILWA volunteer and Word War II veteran Herb Adams has mowed and cared for this memorial for many years in honor of his fellow veterans.

2nd WPI INDEPENDENT QUALIFYING PROJECT COMPLETED

The ILWA has had the distinct honor of working with students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on a second project. This project involved conducting a survey of invasive weeds at Indian Lake and creating a system of tracking the findings online. Students Eric Plante, Chase Cheston and Alan Gribble began the project in September 2012. A project presentation took place in March 2013. WPI project advisors are Reeta Rao and Chick Kasouf. The weed tracking system can now be acessed through the main page of this website. This is anticipated to be an annual project for WPI which will be invaluable for the future management of Indian Lake.

Final Weed Survey Presentation

Final Weed Survey Report

Link to online project: Weed Survey

PRELIMINARY DREDGING REPORT

There is little disagreement that sediment that has washed into Indian Lake over the years has contributed to many problems including weed growth and water clarity. Dredging is a very complicated and expensive process. As monies and time allow, we have taken steps which move us in that direction. We have made huge efforts in reducing the amount of sediment entering the lake (see 319 grant below) which is a critical piece. We have also characterized the sediment at the 4 locations in which it has entered the lake most heavily. Characterization is determining how much there is and what is in the sediment, again very important should we get to the point of removal.

Dredging Report

WPI PROJECT PUTS FOCUS ON LITTLE INDIAN

Little Indian Lake is located on the south side of Route 122A near Indian Lake in Worcester. The small water body was cut off from the larger main body of Indian Lake many years ago when the state reconstructed Route 122A without installing the proper pass through for the water to transition between the large and small body of water. Without a continuous flow of water, the lake becomes stagnant and has endured an ongoing problem with weeds such as Duckweed, Watermeal and algae.

The lake is half on City of Worcester land and half on the abutter properties. From 1979 to 2008, abutters contributed more than $47,000 for weed treatments in which chemicals such as ACT, Diquat, Copper Sulphate and Sonar were used for weed and algae control. The Indian Lake Watershed Association (ILWA) contributes a share as an abutter each time treatment is required to help offset the cost.

The ILWA and Little Indian abutters have employed companies such as Aquatic Control Technologies and Lycott Environmental for treatments over the years however the problems appear to be getting worse. In the past two years Lycott Environmental used a containment boom to provide more targeted treatment which has helped but still not a long term solution.

Little Indian Lake was in need of a current diagnostic/feasibility study that characterized the existing conditions of the water body, wildlife and surrounding watershed that may be impacting the lake conditions and recommendations for future management and options for the long term health of this water body.

We were very fortunate, under the direction of Professor Chickery Kasouf, to have three enthusiastic and professional WPI juniors choose Little Indian for their Interative Qualifying Project which is designed to link technology and society. Victoria Mason, Evan Costa and Christian Waller spent nearly 6 months researching Little Indian and submitted a full report on the data they collected and recommendations for improvements to the water body. While their purpose was educational, not scientific, it is an excellent resource for future lake management.

Their presentation can be found here.

The fulll study can be found here.

CATHOLICS GOING GREEN KICKS OFF WITH ILWA

An ILWA representative was invited to St. George’s Catholic Church in April to kickoff their series ‘Catholics Going Green’. Beth Proko spoke to a group of parishners about the efforts of the ILWA, watershed protection and what they can do to help protect our watershed.

Thank you to ILWA board member John Paul Morosy and the St. George community for this wonderful opportunity!

The full presentation can be found here.

WORCESTER STATE STUDENTS CONNECTED TO COMMUNITY SERVICE

Beth also had the opportunity to speak at the Public and Community Relations class taught by longtime ILWA board member,  Kevin O’Sullivan, at Worcester State College this past spring. Included in the presentation about community service were the many successful projects undertaken by the ILWA.

These wonderful opportunities provide great forums to share our successes but also to inspire others to give back to the community they live in.

frostholmfrost 2

FROSTHOLM MEMORIAL RESTORATION PROJECT

The Indian Lake Watershed Association (ILWA) members have long cared for the Frostholm Memorial located on West Boylston Street in Worcester near the on and off ramps to Route 190 across from Strand’s Ski Shop. Our efforts have included mowing, annual plantings and the donation and installation of a flagpole and evergreen tree at this highly visible location.

The memorial is approximately 1 acre in size with a large stone memorial in the center. The few remaining veteran’s names were removed from the memorial several years ago after the display case deteriorated. Working with the support the City of Worcester Veteran’s Services and Worcester Parks and Recreation Department, the ILWA has recently undertaken the project of researching the names of the World War II Veteran’s from this Greendale neighborhood that were originally honored with this memorial as well as enhancing the area surrounding it. Some consideration is also underway for expanding the memorial to honor neighborhood veterans from WWII to today.

The Parks and Recreation Department worked with the ILWA to develop a plan to rehabilitate the entire memorial island as part of this effort. The rehabilitation project includes: enhancing the landscape of the entire Frostholm Memorial island; installation of over 1100 square feet of brick pathways from West Boylston Drive, where there is on street parking, leading to the memorial and flagpole; installation of benches and one permanent trash receptacle; installation of a new display case; restoration of the original World War II Veteran’s names; and, addition of a large plaque on the back of the memorial with the name inscribed so approaching vehicles on West Boylston Street can identify it.

Individuals and Businesses Make Project a HUGE Success!

After a few setbacks such as heavy rains in the fall, we are please to report that the Frostholm Memorial Restoration project is in full swing. Here are the things we have accomplished so far:

John Jolin of Jolin Paving and Excavating donated his time and equipment to dig out over 1100 square feet of pathway.

Richard Balderelli of Balderelli Brothers in West Boylston donated over 40 tons of gravel for our pathway base.

John Sansoucy of Sansoucy Stone donated the bricks, edging and over 8 tons of stone dust.

Saint Gobain Corporation Foundation awarded a grant in the amount of $2500 to assist with signage and plant installation.

Frost Manufacturing is graciously helping with signage and name tags.

We have commitments from four sponsors to cover the costs of park benches: Worcester Fitness, Chadwick Food Mart, Ramstrom’s Service Center and Hoey Tire Co.

ILWA board members and veterans Herb Adams and Bob Gates are building the approximately 6 foot by 8 foot display case by hand which will house the veteran’s names.

Over the winter, board members worked with local veterans sorting through thousands of names to re-create the list of neighborhood WW II veteran’s that were originally honored with this memorial.

Old plantings that originally surrounded the memorial were removed and items that could be saved were transplanted to Nelson Place Elementary School in preparation for over $5000 of new plants and bushes that are being donated by the Nathaniel Wheeler Trust.

On May 13th, over 30 students, teachers and parents from St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury worked with ILWA volunteers in the pouring rain to install the base and begin the pathway build.

Taylor Rental was kind enough to donate the compactor to use for the pathway installation.

Baystate Hardware offered a reduced price on rakes for the project.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped. It is truly humbling to see how everyone has come together to make this happen. It could not have happened without each and every one of you!

The Frostholm Memorial Ribbon cutting was held on Saturday, May 5th, 2007. This wonderful event was coordinated by Karen Greenwood of the City of Worcester Veteran's Services and Rob Antonelli of the City of Worcester Parks & DPW. It included several speakers, the Vernon Hill Post #435 Color Guard and of course many of our local veterans and neighbors.

If you know of a neighborhood Veteran whose name has been missed, please fill out the form below and send it in. We will include it when we make our next update. Since the names were lost, gathering the names will be an ongoing process for some time.

Veteran Form

Thank you to all!

beforefrost after

Frostholm Memorial "Before" ................................................... and "After".

WATER QUALITY MONITORING

The Indian Lake Watershed Association began monthly water quality monitoring as part of the requirements for the 319 grant combined with our efforts with the Blackstone Headwaters Monitoring Team several years ago. This combined with our watershed wide survey allowed us to document key things that may be negatively impacting the lake quality and helped us to develop a long term plan for water improvements. Testing has included temperature, Ph, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, phosphates and nitrates.

While these terms may not make you want to run out and get involved, let me explain to you some of the important reasons why these things are important:

Oxygen is necessary for all forms of life. If the dissolved oxygen (DO) level is too low in a water body, the aquatic life is put under stress. Low DO levels have been known to cause massive fish kills in a matter of hours!

There is a saying that ’green lawns mean green lakes’. High levels of nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers applied within the watershed can enter the water system, accelerate the plant growth and contribute to algae blooms. While aquatic plants are an important component of lake systems, providing food and shelter for bugs, fish and other organisms as well as providing shoreline erosion control, any conditions that harm such a balanced environment can potentially destroy thousands of organisms and aquatic life that lives there.

Indian Lake is also the headwaters of the Blackstone Canal whose ongoing revival has been celebrated from Worcester to Providence. The improvements we make will ultimately have an impact on these efforts too!

SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET GIVES ILWA A BOOST

Massachusetts State Representatives Bob Spellane and Jim Leary took the initiative to file an amendment to the state supplemental budget for the benefit of the Indian Lake Watershed Association to assist the many community projects we are in the midst of. The amendment for $25,000 (!!) was approved by the House of Representatives in late October. It then had to go before the Senate for approval.

Without hesitation, Senator Chandler took the ball and lobbied her counterparts in the Senate to support this initiative and it also passed.

We are so very fortunate to have the attention and support of these wonderful individuals. Their commitment to our organization and our community is truly remarkable.

Please take the time to pass on your thanks and support to Representatives Spellane and Leary and Senator Chandler!

These monies had to be allocated and spent before June 30, 2007. A full report has been submitted to the state. Items we were able to fund with these monies include:

Remaining items at Frostholm Memorial.

2007 aquatic management programs for Indian Lake and Little Indian.

Full lake copper sulphate algae treatment at Indian Lake.

Sediment characterization at four points around Indian Lake with the highest priorities being the locations where underground sedimentation basins have been installed to limit entry of new sediment into the lake. This is in preparation for future dredging of built up sediment.

Water monitoring equipment.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION 319 NON POINT SOURCE POLLUTION PROGRAM

In the fall of 2001, the Indian Lake Watershed Association, working in cooperation with the City of Worcester Department of Public Works (DPW), was awarded a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Program grant. The goal of this grant was to substantially reduce sediment, phosphorus and other contaminants from entering Indian Lake through the implementation of watershed Best Management Practices (BMPs). A form of sedimentation basin was designed and scheduled to be installed at four locations determined to be the most critical points of contaminant loading around the lake. The total project budget of $437,900 also included monitoring the water quality pre and post installation of the BMPs, repairs to the dam impounding Indian Lake, educational outreach and implementation of an innovative weed replacement program to combat invasive weeds in the water body. $253,000 of these monies came from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). $184,900 were to be in the form of monies raised, in-kind services and volunteer work.

Michael Zylich, the ILWAs Special Projects Manager, took the initiative in preparing and coordinating the majority of this grant which took the better part of a ream of paper for each copy!

On March 26th, 2002, Jane Pierce, Program Coordinator for DEP and Matt Labovites, then Director of Sewer Operations for DPW, finalized the required paperwork for the grant process to begin.  After this time, all monies received through memberships and grants, volunteer work and in kind services received pertaining to the project started counting as a dollar value towards our match until the completion of the grant.

This grant is especially important because it paves the road for significant opportunity at Indian Lake. Over the past 50 years, development within the watershed has increased dramatically which has caused increased water quality problems. Six to seven foot deltas of sedimentation can be seen at some of the most critical inlets to the lake. By reducing the flow of sediment, we can begin to look at removal of the built up material, thereby significantly improving water quality and increasing both wildlife and recreational opportunities.

As part of the 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant Program, the high volume underground sedimentation catch basins (also known as BMP's) were installed near Nelson Place, Huntington Avenue and Sherbourne Avenue in the fall of 2005. These devices will begin trapping much of the sediment and foreign runoff that is entering Indian Lake.

Unfortunately, when the bids came in on these systems, the cost was more than was expected. Even with a shuffle of some of our 319 funds and the elimination of one, we were not able to adequately fund the remaining three.

Matt Labovites, Assistant DPW Commissioner, and his staff did a lot of fancy footwork and were able to come up with the difference through the City's stormwater management budget. We are very fortunate to have these folks working on our side!

Once we are able to measure the success of the systems, it should open the door for additional funding for installation of more BMP systems and in the long term, dredging of excessive sediment that has accumulated and deteriorated the quality of the lake.

Some of the other notable items which we accomplished during the 3 year grant cycle are noted on the Watershed Protection page of this website. Our ILWA volunteers worked tirelessly behind the scenes attending monthly status meetings and preparing quarterly reports in addition to all the grant objectives. This website is a important piece of our educational outreach inspired by the grant.

Our group is honored and privileged to work with Matt Labovites and his staff at the City of Worcester Department of Public Works. They really went above and beyond to ensure the success of this project. Together, we demonstrated a significant cooperative partnership between the city and a non profit organization which should be commended.

And, to Jane Pierce and the Department of Environmental Protection, our sincere thanks for having the confidence in our organization and ideas. This opportunity has been so significant for Indian Lake as well as our association and the City of Worcester. We applaud the efforts of this DEP for their vision and hard work.