Saving Stockbridge Bowl by Implementing the Lake Management Program

On August 30, 1946, the Stockbridge Bowl Association was formed to protect the natural beauty of the Stockbridge Bowl and its watershed, and set standards that may aid the general cause of conservation. —The Founders’ Mission Statement

The SBA Board of directors and its membership partner with the Town Selectmen toward fulfilling this mandate.

SAVING STOCKBRIDGE BOWL: THE TIME HAS COME

Stockbridge Bowl, also known as Lake Mahkeenac, was treasured first by the Stockbridge Indians and more recently by generations of Berkshire residents, Boston Symphony Orchestra members and numerous visitors. The Bowl offers swimming, fishing derbies, ice fishing, boating, and the kayak portion of the Josh Billings triathlon. The beautiful 370 acre lake is both widely enjoyed and an essential part of Berkshire economy

However, the Bowl, like a park or municipal bridge, requires maintenance, particularly after human acts have degraded it. The lake has been heavily contaminated by non-native Eurasian Milfoil brought in inadvertently by many boats and by proliferating water lilies; in addition, the lake is being choked by the build-up of silt. If we don’t halt the growth of invasive Milfoil and reverse the build-up of silt, much of the Bowl will become an unsightly unusable bog.

To fight this deterioration, the Town of Stockbridge adopted a Lake Management Program, otherwise known as the 3-D program—Diversion Drain, Dredge, Drawdown. The goal is a five and half foot drawdown which will maximize eradication of the milfoil. The Town of Stockbridge has the Permit for a 5.5 foot drawdown that can be achieved only with a functioning diversion drain and sufficient dredging to permit adequate water to flow out of the lake. The installation of a diversion drain in the outlet began in December 2011 and was completed at the end of April 2012 at a cost of slightly over $1 million raised by the SBA. The second phase will include dredging large amounts of silt that are filling in parts of the lake.

Now the Second Phase of the 3D program-Dredging-begins. Three primary sites on the lake choked by the build-up of silt require dredging—the Outlet, behind the Island, and the holding pond at the Causeway. Testing by engineering consultants will help determine where dredging should begin. Dredging will be done in phases as we and the Town secure secure funds and obtain the necessary permits. Dredging will expensive, but it is essential to maintain the beauty and recreational usefulness of the Bowl. Significant funding is required for the dredging phase.

The final step of the program, the 5.5 foot drawdown, will freeze and kill much of the Milfoil and water lily root bed. No special funding will be required for the 5.5 foot Drawdown.

To complete this expensive dredging phase of the program and insure the future of Stockbridge Bowl, we are turning to you to help SAVE STOCKBRIDGE BOWL for all of us and for future generations.

Respectfully submitted,
The Committee to Save Stockbridge Bowl

Richard Seltzer, SBA President
Shirley Blanchard, Campaign Coordinator
Phyllis (Patti) Klein
Joan Kopperl
Matthew Mandel, Campaign Co-chair
Michael Nathan
Cris Raymond, Campaign Co-chair
Peggy Reiser