Buttermilk Falls has been adopted!

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Teaming up with local ski resort Okemo, the Black River Action Team (BRAT, a local volunteer-run watershed group) is making swimmer safety a priority at this VRC conserved swimming hole and waterfall. Check out Buttermilk Falls this summer!

Buttermilk Falls Adoption Press Release

L to R, Mike Doran of Okemo Mountain Resort and Kelly Stettner of Black River Action Team)


“Is it safe?” Swimmers visiting the popular Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow will have access to a new feature: a large informative sign (courtesy of Kiosko of North Springfield) and a weekly monitoring report generated by the Adopt-the-River program through the Black River Action Team. The scenic cascades and pools of Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow have officially been adopted by Okemo Mountain Resort for the 2013 sampling season. Mike Doran, the Permits & Compliance Coordinator for the resort, is trained to collect samples of water from the popular swimming hole in special bottles. The samples are tested at Endyne Labs in Lebanon NH within a specific time-frame, to get an accurate count of the levels of the bacteria Eshericia coli (commonly known as E.coli). Results are graphed and posted within 48 hours of sample collection, to help give visitors a snap-shot of the state of the water. For “full contact recreation” such as swimming, the EPA considers 235 to be the maximum “safe limit” for the number of colony-forming units (cfu) present in 100 milliliters of water. The goal of the chart and sign at Buttermilk Falls is to make swimmers aware of the recent levels of potentially harmful bacteria in the water; the sign cautions visitors not to swim if the water appears murky or if it has rained heavily
in the previous 24 hours.

Sign mounting by Rick White of Dept of Parks, Forests & Recreation

Sign mounting by Rick White of Dept of Parks, Forests & Recreation

BRAT Director Kelly Stettner is eager to use the weekly test results to form a database of information on Branch Brook, a tributary to the Black River. Long-term data can reflect trends in the water quality and spot-light potential problems, which can alert BRAT and State agencies to look for possible sources and solutions. The adoption of Buttermilk Falls by Okemo Mountain Resort is truly a “watershed moment,” as Mrs. Stettner puts it. She has high hopes that other area businesses and organizations rise to the occasion and adopt some of the other heavily-used swimming holes in the Black River watershed: Twenty-foot Hole in Reading on the North Branch, Tolles Power Dam in Weathersfield, the trestle bridge in Proctorsville, and the rope swing in Ascutney are waiting to be adopted! To learn more about the BRAT and its many volunteer opportunities, contact Director Kelly Stettner at blackrivercleanup@yahoo.com or log on to¬†www.BlackRiverActionTeam.org.

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