Vol. II No. 04 2/15/2021
About Stockbridge Bowl
by Charles Kenny, Chair, Board of Health
The Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Committee was formed by the Select Board to study and manage issues on the lake so that this beautiful treasure will remain available to everyone. Made up of members of the public as well as various Stockbridge boards and committees, the committee meets twice a month and is open to the general public via Zoom.
Most recently, the committee received a preliminary report from the GZA lake management firm and from the consulting firm of Robert Kortmann, Ph.D., about a lake testing program put in place last year. It was requested by the Board of Health, authorized by the Select Board, and implemented by GZA. Stockbridge Water and Sewer Commission assisted.
The report was focused on the issue of risk of cyanobacterial bloom, such as occurred in August 2018. Dr. Kortmann, a cyanobacteria expert, noted that the Bowl indeed has a risk for potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms, especially from Oscillatoria (Planktothrix) species, but advised us that the Bowl in general is not in a deteriorating or worrisome state. To the contrary, the Stockbridge Bowl has been in a stable and relatively satisfactory state since the 1980s. Water clarity has actually improved. There has been only one health advisory for cyanobacterial bloom since the 1980s. As we proceed to tackle specific complaints related to the Bowl, it seems reasonable to consider that what we have been doing, and what we haven't done, has worked so far.
Dr. Kortmann did advise that the committee proceed with its plans to establish a comprehensive lake management plan and recommended specific testing to monitor conditions that might predispose it to another cyanobacterial bloom.