Members and friends of the Winnisquam Watershed Network,
Year One of the Winnisquam Watershed Network is officially a wrap! Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Annual Meeting this past Saturday to hear about our programs and accomplishments to date, elect next year’s Board of Directors, and help us prioritize our work. It’s been an exciting first year for our organization, and with the enthusiastic support of our members and affiliates and the hard work of our board members we’ve been able to accomplish a good deal.
In June we began implementing our 2018 Comprehensive Variable Milfoil Management Program for Lake Winnisquam. This lake-wide program will include approximately 25 days of diver-assisted harvesting throughout the summer by Gilford-based Aqualogic Inc. to remove invasive milfoil from a number of locations along the lakeshore. This will be followed by a controlled herbicide application by SOLitude Lake Management in approximately 22 acres where the milfoil growth is the densest, primarily at the northern end of the lake in Meredith and in the vicinity of Jay’s Marina in Tilton. The variable milfoil in some of these areas has not been treated in at least ten years, so we have a bit of catching up to do.
This $45,500 management program is being funded in part by a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services that will cover 25 percent of our costs. We were also able to line up local matches from the Towns of Meredith, Belmont, Tilton and Sanbornton and the City of Laconia, which together with contributions from several neighborhood associations and our members will help fund the balance of this year’s management program. The WWN is committed to providing milfoil management for Lake Winnisquam on a consistent, long-term basis in order that we may significantly reduce the amount of invasive milfoil in the lake and prevent further spread.
In concert with our milfoil management plan the WWN has also implemented a Weed Watcher program this summer, the purpose of which is to identify the presence of any new invasive plants or animals in the lake before they get to be a problem. Our training session on June 9th was well attended and so far we have more than 30 volunteers participating in the program and patrolling the shores near them on a monthly basis during the summer. This has already led to the identification of several additional patches of variable milfoil growth that we will be able to treat this summer. We do still need people to conduct weed watching in a few places though, particularly along portions of the Laconia shoreline, so please contact us if you‘d be interested in helping.
We continue to conduct monthly water quality monitoring at several locations in the lake during the summer months and this year have increased our corps of volunteers to perform the monitoring. We have also added monthly water quality testing at nine tributary locations t so that we can get a better sense of what pollutants are coming into the lake, and from where. Winnisquam’s water quality continues to be excellent, with better than average water clarity and low phosphorus and dissolved organic matter. However, we do need to remain vigilant. The near-shore stations have indicated a slight decrease in clarity over time, which we will continue to keep an eye on. And the conductivity and chloride levels in our lake are definitely on the rise, most likely from the urbanization of the watershed and in particular the use of road salt on impervious surfaces. This is a trend that’s been seen in freshwater bodies throughout the northeast, but seems to be a bit worse in Winnisquam.
Representatives of the WWN will also be meeting with the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) this summer to discuss coordinating our efforts to support the development of a Watershed Management Plan for the Winnisquam watershed. The water quality data that we are generating helps to lay the groundwork for that process and we will be working with them to enhance the mapping of the watershed and tributaries that drain to Lake Winnisquam.
As of November 2017 the WWN is a federally designated 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, which makes all donations to the organization tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. We have received a number of generous contributions from people like you who love the lake and want to support our mission. In addition, we have applied for and been awarded several foundation grants, including $750 from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund for the development of an informational handout/postcard about the WWN, $2,500 from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for the development of a brochure on lake stewardship, and $5,000 from the Pardoe Foundation to help support our lake and tributary monitoring program. The WWN is also a registered charity with the Amazon Smile program, which means that you can help support us every time you shop on Amazon, at no additional cost. Simply start your shopping at smile.amazon.com) and select Winnisquam Watershed Network as your designated charity. Add a bookmark to your web browser to make the process even easier!
Our members are our greatest strength and resource. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join the WWN so that they too can help support our programs, give us a louder collective voice on issues pertaining to Lake Winnisquam, and stay informed about what’s going on around the lake. We thank all of you for supporting our mission to keep Lake Winnisquam clean and healthy now and for generations to come.
On behalf of the WWN Board of Directors, Lisa Eggleston, President