Foundation, Town share $120K environmental grant

The Lake Wentworth Foundation and the Town of Wolfeboro have won approval of a $120,000 grant for stormwater mitigation in the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake watershed. News of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s release of the Watershed Assistance Grant comes from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), which is responsible for disbursement and management of funds made available by the federal agency under the Clean Water Act.

The grant money will be combined with approximately $25,000 in cash from the Lake Wentworth Foundation and some $125,000 in donated time and material from the town, Foundation volunteers, and project partners.

The project proposes work on three of the top-ranked stormwater problem sites identified by the recently completed Wentworth/Crescent watershed management plan. That work will consist of:

  • Several large stormwater treatment structures behind the Trites automotive dealership in order to intercept stormwater before it enters Fernald Brook and Lake Wentworth
  • Shoreline/roadside stabilization and infiltration structures (referred to as BMPs – for best management practices) along Governor Wentworth Highway (Route 109) where it runs adjacent to Lake Wentworth
  • The design and permitting of a series of stormwater treatment structures to treat runoff from South Main Street prior to discharge into Crescent Lake

The project represents the second collaborative effort by the Town of Wolfeboro and the Lake Wentworth Foundation and their partners. It builds on the recently completed management plan for the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake watershed.

The management plan, completed in 2012, determined that the watershed’s streams, as well as highly developed shoreline properties, can carry sediment and nutrients – particularly phosphorus – from stormwater runoff and can adversely affect water quality in the lakes. Over the past two decades, yearly water quality testing under the auspices of the University of New Hampshire has shown an increase in algae and low levels of oxygen in Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake as a result of these sediment and nutrient loadings. An invasion of variable milfoil in both lakes is also thought to be made worse by increased phosphorus levels.

Based on this analysis, the watershed management plan established a goal of reducing phosphorus levels in Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake by 15% over a period of 10 years. Using the proposed BMPs, the second phase of the watershed management plan anticipates an annual reduction of approximately 44 lbs. of phosphorus per year, approximately 9% of the total pollutant reduction goal.

Given the Wolfeboro area’s dependence on high-quality waters to draw visitors and seasonal residents, the effort to stem the flow of pollutants can be viewed as critical to the community’s continued long-term prosperity.

Implementation of the environmental projects will be overseen by Wolfeboro Director of Planning and Development Rob Houseman; Department of Public Works Director Dave Ford; and Foundation President Jack O’Connell. Technical assistance will come from Wolfeboro resident Don Kretchmer, a certified lake manager; Bob Craycraft, Program Coordinator of UNH Cooperative Extension; and Steve Landry, Merrimack Watershed Supervisor, NHDES. Houseman will also serve as project manager and fiscal agent for the effort.

The Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake watershed occupies approximately 35.6 square miles of land and water, mostly in Wolfeboro but with smaller areas in New Durham and Brookfield. It consists of large areas of non-developed land, with some small isolated urban areas and residential homes/summer camps along the shorelines of the two lakes. Fourteen streams, totaling 54 miles in combined length, drain these developed areas into the lakes.

In order to meet the targeted 15% phosphorus reduction in the lakes over the next 10 years, the Town of Wolfeboro and Lake Wentworth Foundation anticipate implementing additional phases of the watershed management plan.