Great Barrington Earns Grant to Help Preserve Lake Mansfield

Town of Great Barrington
Jennifer Tabakin, Town Manager
Town Hall
334 Main St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230

For Immediate Release

Monday, Dec. 4, 2017

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Great Barrington Earns Grant to Help Preserve Lake Mansfield

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force is pleased to announce that Great Barrington has earned a state grant that will help fund the installation of an improved storm water drainage system that will boost Lake Mansfield’s water quality.

The $288,925 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection will cover the cost of addressing sediment deposition and particle pollution that flows from Knob Hill into the lake, which will benefit the lake’s overall health and slow the growth of invasive plants.

With the funding, Great Barrington is a step closer to preserving Lake Mansfield for generations to come by mitigating the impact of pollutants. The town will install structural best management practices that will capture sediment and other pollutants that have had a negative impact on the lake in years past.

“This grant is the result of the dedication and effort by everyone on the Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force, which is constantly looking for ways to keep the lake healthy and beautiful and make it more accessible to residents,” Task Force Chair Christine Ward said. “This grant is an extraordinary boost to our efforts, and I’m thankful for the work everyone has done to make it a reality.”

Offsetting storm water impact on the lake is part of a larger ongoing effort by Great Barrington to care for Lake Mansfield.

“We are incredibly grateful for this grant, which will go a long way toward protecting the lake as an essential natural resource,” Town Planner and Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force Ex-Officio Member Chris Rembold said. “We are constantly evaluating and pursuing grants and other funding opportunities that can support the work we still need to to do to address the beach, road, parking, boat launch and more.”

Lake Mansfield is an approximately 30-acre body of water, located within the Housatonic River watershed, less than one mile from downtown Great Barrington. The lake is a Massachusetts Great Pond and is a four-season recreational and scenic resource. Swimmers, walkers, runners, bikers, canoeists and kayakers of all ages enjoy its lovely setting and tranquil waters as well as its beach area, play area and the boat launch. In the winter, ice skaters, and ice fisherman frequent the lake whenever ice conditions permit. Lake Mansfield is unusual in Berkshire County. It is close to downtown and publicly accessible, but it is free of docks, boat houses and other structures on the lake shore.

“The grant for Great Barrington’s clean-up project is no small figure – this local investment will improve the water quality of Lake Mansfield for future generations and support the state’s agenda to reduce pollution,” said State Senator Adam Hinds. “We should be making every effort possible to ensure that all residents in the Commonwealth have access to clean water resources.”

After a decade of cleanup and restoration efforts by the Lake Mansfield Alliance and the Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force, the lake is a popular year-round recreational retreat. However, the lake poses unique challenges — such as the rapid erosion of a vegetated buffer that has lost its effectiveness as a defense against pollution  — which the DEP grant will help to alleviate.

“This investment in the health of our lake water and ecosystem is a critical and beneficial one for our entire community,” Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin said. “It will preserve the future of our environment while also maintaining the lake as a pristine recreational venue for the region.”

“Mitigating the pollution entering Lake Mansfield from storm water runoff and erosion is critical to ensuring folks will be able to take advantage of this amazing environmental resource for generations to come,” State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli said. “Congratulations to Great Barrington, the Lake Mansfield Committee, and Christine Ward, without whom this project would not be possible.”