Lake Stibbs Riparian Buffer Installation, Water Fowl and Invasive Plant Management
The Southbury Community Trust Fund awarded a grant to PRWC for the planting of a native riparian buffer in the 2022 field season at the northern edge of Lake Stibbs (also known as the Southbury Training School Pond) to help deter the geese that congregate on the lower lawn area and in turn help reduce bacteria runoff into the lake and Transylvania Brook.
The lake is part of the Southbury Training School property and is enjoyed by anglers for shore fishing and Southbury residents for community events. Wild brook trout spawning grounds are located just upstream from Lake Stibbs, and the Lake’s fish population is supplemented annually by the CT DEEP Fisheries Division Trout Stocking program and provides some of the best freshwater sport fishing in the region. Lake Stibbs is a five-acre freshwater lake that drains into Transylvania Brook and is a part of the Pomperaug River Watershed. The environmentally sensitive area around Lake Stibbs is within an Aquifer Protection Area.
In 2018, PRWC worked with municipalities and other important stakeholders to develop the Pomperaug Watershed Based Plan (WBP) with a focus on reducing the amount of bacteria entering local streams listed as impaired by CT DEEP and EPA. As identified in the WBP, Canada Geese and their droppings are primary contributors to the fecal bacteria impairments in Lake Stibbs and the adjoining Transylvania Brook. Waterfowl such as Canada Geese forage in areas with open sight lines and access to water where they can see and escape predators. The WBP recommends the creation of a vegetated buffer, consisting of tall grasses, shrubs, or trees, and installation of educational signage along the northern edge of Lake Stibbs as a form of habitat modification and community education. Tall grasses, shrubs, and trees can serve as a deterrent and cause geese to relocate. Vegetated buffers also play a key role in improving water quality and reducing nonpoint source pollution. Buffers slow and absorb runoff, acting as a natural filter in residential, commercial and agricultural settings. The root systems of native plants help slow down rain water, encourage infiltration, and absorb the impact of floods.
The vegetative buffer planting and educational signage installation at Lake Stibbs complements a project administered by Southbury Training School to address the highly invasive water chestnut plants in Lake Stibbs. The water chestnut control project was funded through Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Grants for the Control of Aquatic Invasive Species to further improve Lake Stibbs recreational community use.