July 2018 Quarterly Report

July 2018

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

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2018 Comprehensive milfoil management program begun on Lake Winnisquam

The Winnisquam Watershed Network (WWN) began implementing a lake-wide treatment program for the control of variable milfoil in Lake Winnisquam this week. Beginning with the Sunray Shores area in Belmont, Gilford-based Aqualogic Inc. will conduct approximately 25 days of diver-assisted harvesting to remove invasive milfoil from a number of locations along the lake shore this summer.  This will be followed by a controlled herbicide application in September in areas with the densest infestation to be conducted by SOLitude Lake Management, Inc. of Shrewsbury MA.

The $45,500 program will be funded primarily through a grant to the WWN from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and local matches from the Towns of Meredith, Belmont, Tilton and Sanbornton and the City of Laconia. Several neighborhood associations and private donors have also contributed to the effort.  The WWN is continuing to solicit donations. According to Lisa Eggleston, WWN President, management of the invasive milfoil in Lake Winnisquam has historically been very localized and some areas of infestation have not been treated since 2008. In order to significantly reduce the areas of infestation and prevent further spread of the invasive weed, WWN intends to conduct variable milfoil management on a consistent, long-term basis going forward. They have also recently implemented a Weed Watcher program in which trained volunteers monitor designated areas of the lakeshore to identify new invasive plants or animals early on so they can be more easily managed.

For more information on the milfoil management program or to make a donation please visit http://www.winnisquamwatershed.org.

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Weed Watcher Press Release

The Winnisquam Watershed Network (WWN) will be actively managing invasive milfoil in Lake Winnisquam this summer. The WWN is also coordinating a Weed Watcher program to assist us in locating any invasive species inhabiting the lake for later management. We are looking for volunteers to help us conduct once-monthly weed surveys of the shoreline areas near them. This is a great way for residents to get involved – volunteers will be instructed on how to conduct a weed survey, what to look for, and who to contact if there is a problem. They will also receive a bag full of information on the program and details on the most threatening invasives, and a plant identification key for common aquatic plants. Training will take place at the Winnisquam Marine Services Sales Showroom Conference Room on June 2nd from 9:30-11am.
The only equipment needed is a boat, a helper or two, and a nice bright summer day. WWN with N.H. DES assistance will run a weed-watcher training class that will take place in early June. Lake wide weed watching events will be scheduled in the months of July-September. Please consider joining our weed-watcher group. The time commitment is not huge and will go a long way to preserving our beautiful lake. Sign up can be accomplished by emailing us at winnisquamwatershednetwork@gmail.com. Also please visit our website at http://www.winnisquamwatershed.org or our Facebook page @winsquamwatershednetwork.

Winnisquam Watershed Network’s Milfoil Management Plan Getting Traction…

Continuing with its focus on strategic long-term milfoil management for all of Lake Winnisquam, the Winnisquam Watershed Network (WWN) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded an Exotic Plant Control Grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.  This award of $11,380 for the management of variable milfoil in Lake Winnisquam catapults the WWN forward in taking its first step to address invasive milfoil growth across the entire lake.  Variable milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that spreads rapidly and ousts beneficial native plant life, impacting water quality and aquatic habitat. It also makes swimming difficult and can devalue waterfront property.

The Winnisquam Watershed Network was formed in July 2017 with a mission to preserve and protect Lake Winnisquam for future generations. According to Lisa Eggleston, WWN President, milfoil management efforts on Winnisquam in recent years have been performed on a site-specific (spot-treatment) basis, depending on who had the resources and the wherewithal to get it done. Meanwhile, the milfoil infestations in areas that were not consistently treated have increased in size and density, and pose an ongoing risk of continued spreading to other parts of the lake. One of the first priorities of the WWN is the coordination and implementation of a strategic long-term milfoil management plan for all of Lake Winnisquam. The group believes that this, in conjunction with the prevention, public education and early detection measures that they will also implement, will be the most successful and cost-effective means of preventing the spread of variable milfoil in the lake and limiting its impact in areas that have already been infested.

Working with the WWN, staff from the Exotic Species Program of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) surveyed the lake in 2017 and mapped locations of variable milfoil throughout the shoreline areas of Lake Winnisquam. NHDES subsequently prepared a 2018 Long-Term Variable Milfoil Management Plan for Lake Winnisquam, calling for a controlled herbicide application in areas with the densest infestation (approximately 21 acres), and up to 25 days of professional diver-assisted harvesting in additional areas of milfoil growth.

The WWN has obtained competitive bids for the recommended work and estimates the total cost of the program for the 2018 growing season at $45,519. In addition to the NHDES grant covering 25 percent of the program costs, the WWN has requested local matches from each of the five municipalities bordering the lake, and is soliciting additional grants and donations to help fund the program. Donations (payable to Winnisquam Watershed Network) can be mailed to PO Box 502 Winnisquam, NH 03289, or made online at www.winnisquamwatershed.org. Together, we can all make a difference to preserve and protect our great lake!

 

2017 Water Quality Results Reported

CONCLUSIONS FROM THE REPORT

“The 2017 water quality data from Mohawk Island, Pot Island, and Three Island indicate that the lake represents ideal water quality conditions in comparison with NH state water quality standards and thresholds. Lake Winnisquam sup-ports an oligotrophic lake classification as phosphorus and chlorophyll-a levels are consistently below the oligotrophic thresholds, and water clarity and dissolved oxygen levels are high. The decreasing (improving) phosphorus trend sug-gests that nutrient loading into the lake (from fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural runoff, septic failure, etc.) has been decreasing throughout the watershed over time. Apparent color measured in the epilimnion indicates that the overall lake color is clear with little dissolved organic matter that imparts a tea color to the water. Turbidity is consistently low (good) suggesting minimal suspended solids and particulate matter. This is further supported by the high water clarity (transparency). Conductivity levels are slightly elevated and higher than the state median of 40.0 uS/cm and have sig-nificantly increased (worsened) over time. Chloride levels are between 10 and 20 mg/L, which is above the NH state median of 4 mg/L, but well below the NH state chronic chloride standard of 230 mg/L. The increasing conductivity lev-els are most likely a result of road salt usage on impervious surfaces that enters the lake through stormwater runoff and groundwater discharge. Lake pH levels are generally within an ideal range for aquatic life. The ANC level indicates that the lake is moderately vulnerable to changes in pH from acid rain and other pollutants. Best management practic-es for road salting, development, and stormwater should be implemented throughout the watershed as increased fre-quency and intensity of precipitation events will continue to impact water quality. Refer to “Ready, Set, Action” on the next page for collaborative watershed management considerations that can be executed to effectively protect lake water quality health.”

READ FULL REPORT

Lake Winnisquam Report-Final

2017 Summary of Activities

Members and friends of the Winnisquam Watershed Network,

Since our charter meeting on July 29th the WWN Board of Directors has been hard at work getting the organization off the ground and pursuing our mission to preserve and protect the lake for future generations. Our aim is to work with state and local entities, our members, and volunteers in the pursuit of this mission, and to provide a key role in coordinating the water quality monitoring and milfoil prevention and control efforts for Lake Winnisquam.

Here’s a summary of our accomplishments to date:

  • We have registered as a non-profit with the State of New Hampshire and have filed for federal designation as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The latter will make all donations to the WWN tax-deductible and enable us to pursue additional grants to further protect our lake.
  • We have launched a logo design contest open to area college and high school students, and will award a $100 prize (donated by several Board members) to the winner. Submissions are due by January 31, 2018.
  • We have been working with NHDES to update their mapping of milfoil infestation throughout Lake Winnisquam and to develop a comprehensive plan for long-term milfoil control in the lake. In contrast to the fragmented approach that has been employed on Winnisquam in the past, we believe that milfoil control will be most effective when it is conducted on a lake-wide, consistent basis, in conjunction with public awareness and education efforts. We intend to begin implementing the plan next summer, but we need to raise about $45,000 to do so. The WWN has applied to NHDES for a 2018 Exotic Species Control Grant and anticipates that at least 30 percent of the program costs will be met through grant funding. We have also requested local matches from each of the five municipalities bordering the lake, and will be soliciting private donations to support our efforts.
  • During the summer of 2017 WWN volunteers implemented the first tier of a comprehensive water quality monitoring program for the lake. This program brings together the efforts of two volunteer monitoring programs that have been operating on the lake for many years; the UNH Lakes Lay Monitoring Program (LLMP) and the NH DES Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP). This comprehensive program is aimed at building on the data that has already been collected, assessing water quality trends and identifying pollutant sources on a lake-wide basis, and providing better coordination of resources. Together with you, our goal is to expand the water quality monitoring program in future years to sample other locations in the Lake Winnisquam as well as some of the tributaries that flow into it. This effort will require additional funding for sampling equipment, as well as an expanded volunteer corps to conduct the monitoring.
  • We have begun collaboration efforts with the Lakes Region Planning Commission and area municipal planners to offer our assistance with the development of a Watershed Management Plan for the Winnisquam watershed and anticipate additional collaboration as work on the Plan progresses.

 

Since we began this endeavor we’ve heard from many of you who enthusiastically support the mission of the Winnisquam Watershed Network and want to know how to help. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you haven’t done so already, please become a member of the Winnisquam Watershed Network by clicking the “Join Us” button on the Winnisquam Watershed Network For a nominal annual membership fee of $25.00, you can help preserve our lake for future generations.  Everyone is welcome, so encourage your neighbors and friends to join as well!
  • Consider an additional donation to support our water quality monitoring and milfoil control efforts by contacting us at info@winnisquamwatershed.org. Donations will be retroactively tax-deductible once our 501(c)(3) status is verified, and we will be sure to notify our donors when that occurs.
  • Help spread the word about our logo design contest to area high school and college students. What a great opportunity for our community to get involved.
  • Volunteer to help with water quality monitoring during the summer months, or to help us fabricate some of the tools needed for monitoring.
  • Become a volunteer Weed Watcher or Lake Host and help prevent the spread of invasive vegetation in the lake. Training will be offered in the spring.
  • What skills do you have that can help further our mission? We are seeking volunteers to help with fundraising campaigns, website design and management, and education and awareness.
  • Give us feedback, or let us know how you want to help! We can be reached by email at winnisquamwatershednetwork@gmail.com.

In this season of thanks giving, we’d also like to add that we are very grateful to the NH Lakes Association for all the assistance they provided in getting the Winnisquam Watershed Network off the ground and for the advocacy work they do on behalf of all of New Hampshire’s lakes. We hope that you will consider supporting them as well.

 

 

 

STUDENTS – HELP DESIGN OUR LOGO!!

The Winnisquam Watershed Network (WWN), Lake Winnisquam’s newly formed lake association, is conducting a logo design competition open to all area high school and college students. Lake Winnisquam is the fourth largest lake in NH and is located within the communities of Meredith, Laconia, Belmont, Tilton and Sanbornton. The lake is a valuable recreational resource in the central lakes region and provides valuable habitat for many species of fish and wildlife, including lake trout, loons, osprey, and bald eagles.

The Winnisquam Watershed Network’s mission is to work together to preserve and protect Lake Winnisquam for future generations. The group’s efforts will include the development and implementation of a comprehensive water quality monitoring program for the lake, working to prevent and control of milfoil and other invasive aquatic species, and working with local municipalities to encourage and support planning on a watershed-wide basis.

Logo designs should be in vector EPS format scalable art and submitted by January 31, 2018 to winnisquamwatershednetwork@gmail.com. Any questions about the contest or the organization should also be addressed to that email address.

WWN’s Board of Directors will review the submissions and select the top three for recognition on our website and in local media. The student submitting the winning design will also be awarded a $100 savings bond and their logo will be used on the Winnisquam Watershed Network’s website, official letterhead, publications and promotional materials. The winner will be asked to sign a release granting exclusive rights to the design to the WWN.