GREAT BARRINGTON -- The town has been awarded a $30,000 grant to fund efforts to monitor the impact of pollution and stormwater runoff in Lake Mansfield.
The grant, from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, will fund a collaborative project to analyze the water quality and chemistry in the lake over a period of two years, according to Town Planner Christopher Rembold.
The project is a unique alliance of several entities: the town, Bard College at Simon's Rock, the Berkshire Environmental Research Center (BERC) and the Lake Mansfield Alliance.
Sampling sites will be located at various areas around the lake, according to BERC Director Dr. Thomas Cote, including stations near the road, the beach and the forest area -- land owned by Simon's Rock.
"Since they all have different characteristics, we'll get a balanced picture of how the lake is impacted by runoff," Cote said.
Simon's Rock students will be conducting fieldwork and research in a class setting and in internships under the technical and scientific direction of BERC staff. The college also will provide the use of laboratories, supplies and field equipment.
The town will provide administrative oversight and the alliance will provide outreach and publicity to the community.
The town conceived the project as a way to pool resources and accomplish several objectives, Rembold said. "The town will get usable water quality data and students will gain valuable research opportunities," he said.
The project follows the town's recent work on stormwater improvements in the lake watershed, including the Castle Hill Avenue stormwater project.
Hopefully, Rembold said, this latest study will enable the town to judge the success of recent improvement projects and inform future work there.
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