The Wentworth Watershed Association has the goal of protecting the lake. This is done through education, active programs like eradication of milfoil and conserving lands that could impact on water quality. The Moose Point, Allen A and Hersey Point properties all preserve sensitive areas. While none of these three properties alone can “save the lake”, each protects important parts from development.
A problem with all conservation is that people can criticize its protection as a “not in my backyard” issue. However, in the case of these three properties, each one protects areas that are seasonally wet and they provide vegetative buffers to pollutants that might enter the lake. Vegetative buffers are perhaps the best way to protect the lake in that they trap the pollutants and, in some cases, allow the removal of nutrients like nitrates and phosphates by the soils as well as the plants living in these areas. This adsorption onto soil particles and absorption into plants prevents these nutrients from causing algae blooms in the lake and is very important for lake quality. While small, each area also provides habitat for wildlife. Many birds like to take advantage of wetlands but also have protected places to build nests. Some of the properties have dense woods near the wetland areas which gives the birds that option. Amphibians also take advantage of these wetlands and can become food for birds and mammals. The vernal pools, the seasonally wet areas, are particularly important for salamanders. Without these pools, they can’t reproduce.
THE MOOSE POINT PRESERVE
The small Moose Point property may not be a “glamorous” piece of property unless you are looking at it as a vegetative buffer. Half of it is thick woods and half of it is wet during the wet season. The entire property would probably have issues with siting a septic system (although it would be possible near the road) but keeping it in its natural state protects the beneficial properties of the area. Hooper Brook meanders along the edge of the property and these meanders mean that the water slows down when there are rain events. Because of this slowdown, silt and other pollutants may be prevented from entering the lake.
THE ALLEN A CONSERVATION PRESERVE
The Allen A property is more important ecologically than the Moose Point property. It is a funny shaped piece with one part southwest of the Allen A and the other northeast of the Allen A (with a long skinny piece along the railroad track). One section contains Hooper Brook and the other Tyler Brook. Neither of these streams are major tributaries to the lake but protecting these streams and their associated wetlands prevents nutrients from entering the lake. Each section also has large enough areas to allow construction on them and increased activity near these streams would harm their natural ability to help the watershed. When there are “rain events”, water flows into these wetlands and the nutrients are then adsorbed onto soil particles and absorbed by the plant materials. This is a good thing. Neither section is great for recreation because they either have thick woods or are seasonally wet. They do, however, protect the views from the Cotton Valley rail trail and this makes for a more pleasant experience when enjoying that valuable resource.
THE HERSEY POINT PRESERVE
The Hersey Point property is a rather large piece that has quite a bit of seasonal wetland but would most likely be able to support a number of house lots. While septic systems for new construction probably would prevent most environmental damage, the property protects the seasonal wetlands. This property is mostly flat, open woods and people can walk through it although there is nothing of particular interest. As with the Allen A property, protecting this land protects the view from the Cotton Valley rail trail so it is valuable for the people enjoying the trail.