The Board of Directors of the Stockbridge Bowl Association (SBA) thanks you for your concern about the health of Stockbridge Bowl. We invite you to join us in protecting our shared resource, now and for the future, as part of our Save Stockbridge Bowl Capital Campaign.
What is the problem?
For more than half a century, invasive weeds have been multiplying near the shore and sediment has built up continuously. Inevitably, the sediment is getting near the surface in critical parts of the lake and “Stockbridge Bowl” is seriously in danger of becoming “Stockbridge Bog.” This concern led the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Stockbridge to state in one Annual Report, “The future health of the lake is hanging in the balance. If we don’t address these issues soon, the lake will decline and die.”
Who maintains the Bowl?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts owns all great ponds and lakes in the state, but the municipalities bordering those lakes are charged with protecting them. Because the Town of Stockbridge is responsible for maintaining the Bowl, the SBA turns the money we raise to restore the Bowl over to the Town. Once voters approve expenditures at Town Meeting, it is the Town that hires the consulting engineers and the contractors to undertake the work. This is the procedure recently followed in constructing the 150-foot long diversion drain that allows water to bypass a Town sewer and three liquid gas lines that were choking the outlet of the Bowl.
What needs fixing now?
Engineers have measured locations where sediment has piled up most deeply. These are where sediment needs to be removed to enable a 5.5-foot winter drawdown of the lake to freeze and kill the roots of invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil, the weed that grows prolifically near the shore all around the lake. The engineers determined that 20,000 cubic yards of sediment must first be dredged from the outlet and behind the Island to permit the drawdown. Not only would that kill much of the Milfoil, it would also expose additional sediment that needs to be removed in front of the Town Beach and next to the causeway. The dredged sediment would be removed in a single winter and be trucked to meadows at Bullard Woods, owned by the SBA at the north end of the lake. When dredging is complete, the meadows would be smoothed, reseeded and fully restored.
What will it cost?
The Town’s engineers estimate that it will cost $2.7 million for the dredging phase of the Lake Management Plan. The SBA already has raised $2 million in grants, contributions and pledges, of which $597,000 came from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection. Stockbridge residents have also approved grants for the project of more than $400,000 from town funds and state matching money under the Community Preservation Act. The SBA is actively continuing our Save Stockbridge Bowl Capital Campaign so that the Bowl restoration project – in planning for nearly 20 years – can be completed.