Vol. II No. 01 1/1/2021
Lily pads and native grasses in Lily Brook by the Causeway.
Harvesting: Permitting Explained
Although our local Conservation Commission issues permits, all interventions in Stockbridge Bowl are subject to DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) approval. There are two types of permits: ecological restoration and nuisance vegetation. Ecological restorations can be "whole-lake" permits and are used to target invasive plants. Nuisance vegetation permits can target all types of plants—native and invasive—but are typically limited to ten acres. In the case of Stockbridge, the applicant is the town itself, which will apply to the Conservation Commission, the DEP and the NHESP (Natural Heritage/Endangered Species).
An exception can be made to the ten-acre limit. However, that exception is permitted by the DEP and an applicant must demonstrate that the proposed action has "no adverse impacts on wildlife". It's a high bar to meet that requires a limnologist (lake expert) to certify the claim and provide evidence.
Harvesting nuisance vegetation is a lot like mowing the grass. The town owns two harvesters, one purchased over 25 years ago and a smaller one that was purchased in 2019. The harvesters have two sets of blades with sharp teeth that move in opposite directions. Harvesters cut vegetation at a depth of up to four feet. They do not uproot the vegetation or typically kill it; plants grow back within a matter of weeks.