On May 13th, The Wentworth Watershed Association hosted the fifth annual Water Summit to present on water quality and actions being taken by local watershed associations. Attendees and presenters gathered in Town Hall for the successful event, which was held in cooperation with the Town of Wolfeboro and fellow lake associations.
Forrest Bell, Principal at FB Environmental Associates was this year’s keynote speaker. His company has worked with 1,000+ waterbodies in New England leading lake assessment and restoration projects. His presentation, “Lessons Learned Over Three Decades of Watershed Management Planning”, conveyed the need for local action in watershed management to bridge the gap between science, policy, and communities. He broke down the essential steps of the watershed management planning process; building public support, setting goals, developing solutions, and creating an action plan. He emphasized the importance of creating a watershed management plan, and how water and landscapes are interconnected within our communities.
An overarching theme was identifying best management practices (BMPs) and protection strategies to mitigate threats to watersheds. Among the largest threats to watersheds are nutrient and sediment loading, which can lead to an increase in cyanobacteria loads. He explained how phosphorus easily attaches to sediments in lakes, acting as a fertilizer that feeds naturally occurring algae and bacteria. Phosphorus attaches to soil and sand and is washed into tributaries and lakes during rain storms and spring melt-off.
Forrest noted that landowners have the most power to make a difference in lake health. He urged community members to consider ways they can reduce sediments getting into stormwater no matter where they live in the watershed. For shorefront property owners, a native vegetation buffer infiltrates water, filters pollutants, prevents erosion, and slows runoff. He encouraged the community to explore local educational resources to become more “lake minded”, including local partner websites and NHDES materials.
Gary Spaulding from Advanced Onsite Solutions presented about the importance of proper septic system maintenance. He focused on preventative measures people can take to preserve their septic systems, including pumping them routinely every three years and monitoring household water usage. Less than 1% of fresh groundwater is available for drinking water, and the rest goes through the septic treatment process. He emphasized how septic system maintenance is vital to our water quality and environmental health. Gary will be holding a Septic Systems 101 workshop at Wentworth Watershed Association headquarters on June 14th, where he will delve into the down-and-dirty aspects of septic system maintenance.
Leaders from the Wentworth Watershed Association, the Rust Pond Association, Mirror Lake Protective Association, Lake Winnipesaukee Association, and Wolfeboro Waters Committee talked about where they are with watershed management planning and implementations, as well as shared information about water quality and their current initiatives to protect the watershed. Included in these were the WWA’s plans for phase V of their 319 grant application for a proposed site at Kingswood Acres, the LWA shared their Lake-Wide Comprehensive Protection Initiative, RPA shared their North Inlet project, MLPA talked about their aquatic plant monitoring, and Wolfeboro Waters Committee explained that they are community members appointed to the committee that reports to the planning board. They have three subcommittees that focus on assessment, mitigation/prevention, and community communication about water quality issues.
Don Kretchmer moderated fielding questions and comments from the engaged audience to the panelists. An audience member asked about reverse osmosis as water treatment for cyanobacteria, Don tabled the question at the Summit so he could further research the answer. He has since responded that the scientific community believes that reverse osmosis could remove some toxins, but not all. More research seems to be warranted as all reverse osmosis systems are not alike. Our take on his response is to proceed with caution and do your own research on any systems you are thinking of installing and read their research carefully.
Thank you again to our attendees, sponsors, and underwriters for helping make this year’s successful Water Summit possible!
You can watch the video of Water Summit 5 on the Wolfeboro Community Television YouTube channel.
Thanks again to all of our sponsors.
The Wolfeboro Fund, NH Charitable Foundation; Wolfeboro Waters Committee, Town of Wolfeboro.
Anne Blodget and Phil Holberton in honor of Mildred Beach and Ruth Schillereff, Baldwin Excavation, D.F. Richard Energy, Folsom Design Group, Governors Landing Association Corp., Joan and Ray Green, Lake Winnipesaukee Association, Melvin Village Marina, Mirror Lake Protective Association, Morgan Stanley, Rust Pond Association, Southpaw Yacht Sales.