A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection says the Snow Bowl site remains secure despite recent algae blooms appearing on Hosmer Pond.

Staff from the DEP's Water Quality Bureau visited Hosmer Pond May 17 in response to photographs submitted to the agency by neighbor Lee Schneller Sligh, who serves as a certified volunteer pond monitor. The agency's Land Resource Bureau also visited the Snow Bowl May 18 for a regularly scheduled site visit and found that the erosion control processes previously put in place are working and the site is stable, according to David Madore, DEPs director of communications, education and outreach.

Sligh said in an email to DEP that people living on Hosmer Pond continue to be concerned about the conditions at the Snow Bowl. On May 14, she photographed an algae bloom in one area and evidence of scattered algae in other areas. She said the worst bloom is directly in front of her swim float.

Although the site may be secure right now, Sligh said, confirmed erosion and sedimentation events from the past two years has added excess nutrients to the pond, which are now playing havoc with the algae in swimming areas, which is clearly shown in her photos.

"We continue to be concerned about conditions at the Snow Bowl," Sligh wrote in the email. "For example, the native woody vegetation was clear-cut all along the lower edge of Hosmer Brook on one side near where it flows into Hosmer Pond. The stream bank is caving in due to the loss of root structure. In addition, the construction of a settling pond in that area clearly contributed to the collapse of part of the stream bank, which has been 'repaired' with rocks.

"It’s alarming that the town is still doing things which are clearly ecologically unsound, especially after turning the whole pond brown repeatedly with erosion and sedimentation events which the DEP labeled 'clearly preventable' over the course of 18 months."

Sligh also said many Hosmer Pond residents are disappointed the town has not yet been fined by the DEP for violations found at the Snow Bowl during the first phase of the redevelopment. Runoff resulting from cutting trees to make updates to ski trails on Ragged Mountain in spring 2014 caused Hosmer Pond to turn brown and some areas to fill with silt.

Madore said it is not uncommon for an enforcement case of this magnitude to take this amount of time to process.

"It is the department’s policy not to comment on ongoing enforcement cases," he said. "However I can assure area residents that our staff has been and continues to monitor the situation on Ragged Mountain and Hosmer Pond."

Courier Publications Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at klincoln@villagesoup.com.