Petition for Grant Programs
The Winchendon Springs Lake Association is initiating a statewide petition drive of 501c3 not-for-profit lake associations. The intent of the petition is to increase awareness of the problems facing lake associations in the fight against non-native invasive aquatic species. The goal is to have the State of Massachusetts institute grant programs that provide funds directly to lake associations and municipalities specifically to be used for weed treatments and for programs to stop the further spread of these aquatic invaders.
There are hundreds of lake associations across the State of Massachusetts each working independently to preserve their lakes and ponds. The petition drive seeks to collect signed petitions from as many lake associations as possible and present these signed petitions to State Senators and State Representatives. We hope to convince a number of State Representatives and Senators to become advocates for such grant programs.
The WSLA is collecting petitions from lake associations in the 2nd Worcester District of State Representative Jonathan Zlotnik and from lake associations in the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex County District of State Senator Anne M. Gobi.
If your association is in the senate district of Ann Gobi and wants to participate, simply have a voting majority of your Board of Directors sign the Petition Form and mail two original copies to the WSLA. Note that the “supporting member/households” number isn’t meant to be an exact accounting of registered voters but rather a measure of households on the lake or pond.
The WSLA is also is looking for lake associations to take the lead in collecting petitions in other Senate Districts. The process requires identifying fellow lake associations, distributing and collecting petitions and meeting with your State Senator or State Representative.
All of our neighboring states already have grant programs in place.
For further information please contact Jon Lewandowski at 978-297-2141.
What is a “great pond”?
A “great pond” is defined in Massachusetts statutes as a pond or lake that is in its natural state at least 10 acres in size. Massachusetts General Law states that all great ponds must be open to the public for fishing and boating, including providing reasonable access to the pond. There are over 600 great ponds in Massachusetts.
Why have a petition?
Lake Associations across Massachusetts, especially those on “great ponds”, are acting as the defacto environmental managers for the state. “Great ponds are held in trust by the state as public resources. Lake associations are paying to preserve and protect state owned and state controlled properties for public use. Basic fairness requires some level of State support.
What is the goal of the Petition?
The goal is to convince the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to develop grant programs to support all lake associations’ efforts to control invasive non-native aquatic species as well as to prevent the further spread of these species.
How will this work?
The goal is to integrate the voting power of independent lake associations so that we speak with a more focused, unified voice. Together, Massachusetts lake associations represent many thousands of households and many more thousands of votes. Presenting the combined voice of lakes associations as a voting block will bring emphasis to this issue. It is also an educational opportunity as the intent is to reach out to as many State Senators and State Representatives as possible.
How do I sign on?
Members of the Board of Directors for the Lake Association simply sign the petition. Make two originals and mail them to:
Winchendon Springs Lake Association
P.O. Box 411
Winchendon, MA 01475
How can my association help?
There are 40 Massachusetts State Senators and 160 Massachusetts State Representatives. Petitions presented to a State Senator to a State Representative should come from their own constituents. The Petition work therefore must be decentralized and organic.
This requires a lake association or associations to sign on to organize the other lake associations in their Senate District.
Winchendon is in the State Senate District of Anne Gobi. The WSLA has identified 33 Lake Associations in the 28 towns of Anne Gobi’s district. We are in the process of contacting all of these associations to see if they desire to sign onto the petition. Once we have collected the petitions the WSLA will schedule a meeting with Senator Gobi to discuss the issue and present the petitions.
Winchendon is also in the 2nd Worcester District of State Representative Jonathan Zlotnic. The WSLA will also meet with Representative Zlotnik.
Where can I get a copy of the Petition?
Copies of the Petition can be downloaded from the Winchendon Springs Lake Association website. The website will also have other documentation and links that may be of interest.
Do other states have similar grant programs?
Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York all have grant programs that either support lake associations directly, municipalities or both. Massachusetts is the only state in New England that does not.
Is this an initiative petition?
No. An Initiative Petition seeks to go onto the ballot. The purpose of this petition drive is more analogous to a special interest lobby.
How do I know if my lake is a “great Pond”?
The list of great ponds can be found at:
What if my lake is not listed as a “great pond”?
There are many lakes and ponds that were created by damming streams to create mill ponds. Although these ponds do not fit the definition of a “great pond” their lake associations are in the same fight against invasive weeds and should be eligible for grants.
To download a copy of the petition, please click here.
What are our Neighboring States Doing to Combat Invasive Aquatic Species?
State of Rhode Island, Department of Environmental Management News Release April 15, 2015:
“PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management announces the availability of grant funding to aid projects that control aquatic invasive plants in fresh water lakes and ponds.”
“This initiative is being continued in response to needs of local lake associations and other groups that are working hard to protect and restore conditions in our lakes and ponds, said DEM Director Janet Coit. Rhode Island’s lakes are vital to our environment and our economy – as places that support popular public outdoor recreational activities and draw many visitors to our state.”
State of Connecticut, Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, News Release September 2, 2015
“DEEP Announces Availability of Grants to Municipalities for Aquatic Species Control on Inland Waters.”
“The introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in Connecticut poses a serious threat to the biodiversity of native aquatic ecosystems and can affect the ecological, recreational, and economic interests of the state, said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. These grants will allow municipalities to fund programs that will better enable them to gain control over aquatic invaders”
State of Vermont, Agency of Natural Resources: Department of Environmental Conservation 2018
“The Grant-In-Aid Program provides financial assistance to municipalities and agencies of the state for aquatic invasive and nuisance species management programs. Funding for Grant-In-Aid grants comes from a portion of annual revenues from motorboat registration fees and federal funds. This grant program has supported over 70 municipalities since 1994.”
State of New Hampshire
“Governor Hassen Proclaims June 2016 as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Month in New Hampshire” (June 14, 2016)
Control Grants for Exotic Aquatic Plants
“Grants are awarded to local lake associations and municipalities for the control and treatment of exotic aquatic weeds, like milfoil. NHDES will pay 100 percent of the treatment costs for a new infestation and will match up to 50 percent for repeat management practices”.
New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation News Release November 23 2015
“DEC announces $2 million grant program to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species statewide. Grants build upon state’s actions to slow spread of aquatic invasive species.”
“The announcement of this grant program highlights Governor Cuomo’s commitment to foster collaboration and coordination among state agencies, municipalities, not-for-profits and educational institutions to minimize the harm aquatic invasive species cause to New York’s environment, economy, natural resources and human health.”