1. Algae Harvester. In 2019, through efforts of the Conservancy and governmental organizations, an algae harvester made by the engineering firm, AECOM, was installed on Lake Agawam that was capable of removing more than 90% of nitrogen, phosphorus, and blue-green algae, returning clean water back to the Lake. Given its effectiveness, more than $9M in federal and Town grants have been obtained to install three, one-million-gallon-a-day algae harvesters on Lake Agawam that hold the promise to remove significant quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus, ultimately mitigate blue-green algae blooms. Installation is expected in 2024.
  2. Permeable Reactive Barrier: Facilitated by a combined public-private partnership that has included more than a half million dollars in public grants, the project to install a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) began with a groundwater study of the north-end of the Lake. This study identified a high nitrate plume emanating from Main Street entering the Lake. Given the depth of the plume, a novel injection-well reactive barrier has been designed and is in the process of being permitted by the Village and DEC. Installation is expected in 2024.
  3. Preservation of 11 Acres & Creation of Public Garden. The Conservancy is partnering with the Community Preservation Fund (CPF), as well as the Village and Town to conserve 11 acres of land along Pond Lane and create a beautiful public garden and park for the entire community. This park will be bordered by native plant filled vegetative buffers along Pond Land. These bioswales, or buffers, will serve a dual purpose of both intercepting and mitigating run-off into Lake Agawam (as described below), and also facilitating a fertigation approach whereby water from Lake Agawam can be treated and cleaned as it is run through the vegetative buffer as well as potentially through the new proposed gardens proposed.
  4. Cleansing and Reducing Run-off into Lake Agawam. Run-off into Lake Agawam is a significant source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and dangerous bacteria. Since its inception, the Conservancy has supported multiple projects including a bioswale on Linden Lane, another bioswale on Gin Lane and a third bioswale on the South Shore of the Lake, across the shorelines of Lake Agawam to mitigate storm water from directly running into Lake Agawam. These swales filled with native, resilient plants absorb run off into their roots, reducing flooding and removing nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria prior to discharge into the Lake and our shared groundwater.
  5. Use of a Photocatalyst to Improve Water Quality: During the summer of 2022, the Gobler Lab tested a novel photocatalyst approach in an experimental setting (up to 300 liters) to reduce the nutrient pollution in Lake Agawam water and forestall blue-green algae blooms. The photocatalyst was capable of significantly reducing the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in water and in sediments and was able to transition the algae community from one dominated by blue-green algae to one dominated by other, beneficial algae. This approach has been proven effective in other water bodies and may be an important tool for remediating Lake Agawam and its sediment in the future.
  6. Remote Monitoring of Lake Agawam. Facilitated by an in situ, telemetered monitoring buoy that provides real-time data on blue-green algae blooms as well as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, conductivity, and total algae, this continuous monitoring approach allows day-night and storm-induced dynamics to be visualized in parallel with seasonal trends. The buoy serves as an early warning system for the emergence of dangerous blue-green algae blooms and low oxygen conditions.
  7. Sewering Downtown Southampton Village: The Village is planning for the creation of a new sewage treatment plant that would connect 254 Village parcels (118 acres) and divert 141,000 gallons per day of wastewater flow away from Lake Agawam and to the new plant. Completion of the sewer system is projected to divert nearly 10,000 lbs. of nitrogen away from Lake Agawam annually, reducing its total nitrogen load significantly.
  8. Septic System Upgrades: The largest source of nitrogen fueling blue-green algae blooms is wastewater from the thousands of people within the watershed. The New York Center for Clean Water Technology received a grant from NYS to work with Lake residents to upgrade their septic systems. Four systems have been designed and approved by Suffolk County with installations expected soon. The Center is at the ready to assist other homeowners through this same process.
  9. Lily Pad arvesting: This approach has served as a means for increasing the circulation of stagnant regions in the lake where blue-green algae had been accumulating, as well as a means for the bioextraction of nitrogen and phosphorus. Given that excessive nitrogen and phosphorus promote blue-green algae blooms, this approach will also benefit water quality.
  10. Mitigation of Blue-Green Algae Blooms with Hydrogen Peroxide and Ultrasound. In 2021, a dual approach was used to mitigate blue-green algae in Lake Agawam using a combination of hydrogen peroxide and ultrasound that was funded by the Conservancy and NYSDEC, respectively. While the ultrasound was ineffective, the hydrogen peroxide provided a one-month respite from the blooms in the spring, but only a one-week of relief in summer. Given the short duration of summer mitigation, this approach was not continued.
  11. Healthy Landscape Education. The Conservancy has sponsored workshops to encourage the use of organic, slow-release fertilizers, native plantings, and shoreline buffers and to minimize the use of pesticides. Dozens of professional landscapers and homeowners have been engaged and are taking on these new practices.
  12. Aeration of Lake Agawam. The Conservancy has partnered with the Village to expand the number of bubblers in Lake Agawam, as approach that maximizes oxygen levels in the Lake to the benefit of wildlife and water quality.