The streams which flow into Caspian Lake play a vital role in the quality and ecology of the lake. They are the lake’s main arteries, which means that their health is directly related to the health of the lake itself. More particularly, these streams are critical for maintaining water quality and for providing spawning habitat for many of the lake’s fish species.
Fortunately, the feeder streams are healthy and functioning well, with one exception.
That exception is erosion and sedimentation, which is creating expanding deltas and contributing to unwanted nutrient loading. Sand, dirt and gravel washing downhill from the town’s dirt roads are certainly a major contributing factor, but landowner oversight and new development are also adding to the problem.
According to Jim Ryan, there are some culvert and road drainage issues which should be addressed soon.
It would be a mistake to think of the feeder streams only in terms of Porter, Tate and Cemetery Brooks, the three primary year-round feeder streams. The intermittent and spate brooks can also have a significant impact on the lake, particularly since their flow is often maximized during high erosion weather events. Some of these smaller streams and water courses are linked to domestic drainage and runoff systems, some of which are not functioning effectively in terms of minimizing erosion.
It would also be a mistake to view the major feeder streams only in terms of their effect on Caspian Lake; they have ecological significance of their own, independent of the lake.
It is fair to say that the feeder streams have not received the attention that they deserve. A concerted effort needs to be made to publicize their importance and to implement best practices in the riparian zones and along town roads.
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