WHO WE ARE
MRPG is a local non-profit, community membership organization of shoreline property owners, lake users, community associations and other concerned parties working to protect and improve the health of Moodus Reservoir, a five hundred acre lake located in the village of Moodus in the town of East Haddam, CT. Moodus Reservoir supports the town’s only public beach and provides two state boat launches for the recreational enjoyment of town and visiting swimmers, boaters and fishermen.
The mission of this charitable 501(c)(3) non-stock corporation is to a) increase public awareness of emerging and ongoing threats to the health of our lake through newsletters, local publications, website and social media; and b) work with local and state agencies to implement programs to promote, protect and improve the environmental quality of the Reservoir and its fragile ecosystem, to include the development of invasive plant monitoring and control programs to protect and enhance the overall quality of Moodus Reservoir.
MRPG began in 2010 as a small gathering of several lake front families who were concerned with the findings of the 2009 Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) Aquatic Vegetation Survey which recorded abundant plant life throughout the lake including 24 native species and, more worrisome, 3 non-native invasive weeds. These findings by CAES along with personal observations from boaters, fishermen and lake property owners led to the formation of MRPG an unincorporated group of like-minded citizens concerned with the health of the lake.
We began to dialogue with CAES, the town of East Haddam, DEEP and other lake associations throughout the state regarding our concerns with the rapid increase in invasive plants in the reservoir. Between 2010 and end of 2012 we published several newsletters and articles in local publications to educate the public regarding our concerns with invasive weed growth and lake water quality. This led to modest increases in MRPG membership.
In the spring of 2012 we endorsed a new CAES study of the Reservoir’s upper and lower basins with the cost of the study shared by the town of East Haddam. The study was conducted in the summer of 2012, published in the spring of 2013 and presented by Greg Bugbee from CAES in a public meeting chaired by MRPG and attended by town and state public officials, as well as interested town residents.
It was during this meeting that MRPG was encouraged by town and state officials to become a unifying representative voice for the health of the Reservoir, and was the genesis of MRPG’s formation as a non-stock corporation with the State of Connecticut and subsequent registration with the Federal Government as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization.
Since 2013 we have published close to 20 newsletters, articles in local and state publications, and information on our social media site concerning topics that have an impact on the health and well-being of the reservoir, including numerous discussions regarding non-native invasive aquatic weeds and our plans to treat them, guidance on the safe use of fertilizers, reminders for septic system cleanout and maintenance, boat cleaning guidelines, storm drain issues, lake workshop invitations, and invitations to the public to join Moodus Reservoir Preservation Group.
For fiscal year 2015 we applied for and received grants from the CT Department of Energy Environmental Protection and the Environmental Professionals of Connecticut, along with matching funds from the Town of East Haddam. Our project goal for 2015, detailed in our grant applications, has been a focused study of the contact herbicides Clipper and Reward applied to 25 acres of the reservoir to test their effectiveness in controlling Fanwort and Variable Milfoil. Please see the accompanying white paper concerning this project.
For Fiscal year 2016 we focused our efforts on a whole lake water chemistry and aquatic vegetation survey conducted by CT Agricultural Extension Station (CAES) continuity with prior surveys conducted in 1980, 1984, 2009, 2012. The report concluded that there are 34 native plants and 4 invasive plants with a significant increase in number and density of invasive weeds. There also was a new invasive species called identified as "Large Floating Bladderwort" which has never been seen in Connecticut until now. We also began to look at treatment options to combat the invasive weeds including Benthic Barriers and weed Harvesting Machines.
For Fiscal year 2017 we decided to move forward with the purchase of the eco-harvester and associated accessories for a budget amount of $100,000.00. We also established two subcommittees:
1. The Equipment Operations Subcommittee
2. Fund Raising Subcommittee
For Fiscal year 2018 The MRPG is focused on primarily on fundraising. Numerous events were attended including Lakeside Dan's Save the Lakes, MRPG Picnic, East Haddam Events, we also began to sell Tee Shirts & Raffle tickets. There has been numerous donations from property owners and businesses. As of January 8, 2019, $41,000 has been raised for the equipment purchase.
For Fiscal year 2019, The MRPG continued with fundraising. By October 2019 we have raised over $90,000 and put down a deposit for a June 2020 delivery of the ECO Harvester. Our focus now will be on organizing our harvesting operations, continued fundraising for operational costs and getting all paperwork finalized to operate.
For Fiscal Year 2020, the harvester has been delayed due to Covid 19. A spring 2021 delivery is anticipated. All fundraising events have been cancelled as well.
For Fiscal Year 2021, the harvester was delivered in May. The machine was only used for a couple of days when there was a failure of a critical weld. The machine was send back to the factory in Minnesota for repairs and returned within a couple of weeks. No further problem have occurred. The summer of 2021 provided a learning curve on the use and operation of the machine. 2022 should be a good year for weed removal.