Phase III of DES Watershed Assistant Grant- Camp Bernadette

Newly Installed Rain Gardens at Camp Bernadette

As 2019 draws to a close, the Wentworth Watershed Association and the Town of Wolfeboro are wrapping up the third phase of the Wentworth-Crescent Watershed Management Plan. Completion of this two-part project is expected to remove substantial stormwater threats to Lake Wentworth.

An eroded lawn at Camp Bernadette before installation of stormwater structures
An eroded lawn at Camp Bernadette before installation of stormwater structures

Set to end on December 31, the Phase 3 effort uses $50,000 in federal EPA-funded monies to construct shoreline improvements that prevent stormwater runoff from entering the lake at a popular access site along Route 109 and at Camp Bernadette on Heath Shore. The EPA funds were assigned to the project by a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Combined with $28,000 in cash split between the Town of Wolfeboro and the Wentworth Watershed Association, as well as administrative services from the Town and volunteer effort the Association, the grant has a total value of $103,000.

The work at Bernadette includes the construction of stormwater management structures – referred to a BMPs (best management practices) – that divert runoff from lawns, roads, and parking areas into rain gardens. Those structures then infiltrate the water and absorb any phosphorus it carries before that pollutant reaches the lake.

ad and parking area runoff will be captured and infiltrated. (Becky Arnold photo)
Road and parking area runoff will now be captured and infiltrated.

The grant work at the camp has been complemented by a significant investment on the part of the Diocese of Manchester, which owns the facility. In addition to rebuilding a degraded boat ramp, camp management has installed gutters, drip edges, and rain barrels to capture runoff from the large roof of the dining hall, the largest structure at the camp.

The second component of the project will repair an eroded lake access on Route 109 near Triggs Landing. The popular pull-out is marked by significant erosion where foot traffic has beaten down roadside vegetation and degraded the shoreline. The work, to be undertaken in the new year with already-committed funds, will restore native plantings to the shoreline and replace multiple worn pathways with a single set of stairs down to the water. As with the work at the camp, these improvements will prevent unwanted phosphorus in stormwater runoff from entering the lake.

An earlier implementation phase of the plan, running from 2014 to 2017, dealt with three high-priority stormwater issues: runoff flowing towards Fernald Brook from parking areas at the former Trites automotive facility (now Auto Care Plus and Bartlett Tree Service) on Route 28; runoff from the parking area at Mast Landing flowing into Crescent Lake; and an erosion-prone shoreline at Gene’s beach along Route 109.

An infiltration pond captures parking lot runoff at Auto Care Plus. With the cooperation of the Manelas family, now the facility’s owners, installation of the structure protects nearby Fernald Brook from stormwater and snow melt.

That project garnered a $120,000 EPA grant through NHDES, supplemented by $150,000 in matching cash and in-kind services from the Wentworth Watershed Association and the Town of Wolfeboro.

In 2020, the Town and Association will partner on a Phase 4 construction project that will address stormwater issues at Camp Pierce Birchmont on Governor’s Shore, at a beach in the Wentworth Park neighborhood, and the Harvey Brook crossing of Route 28, near the New Hampshire Boat Museum.

That project has been awarded $100,000 in federal Clean Water monies by EPA and NHDES, matched by $75,000 in Town and Association funds and services.

In addition to grant-funded projects, a number of additional stormwater issues identified in the watershed plan have been addressed by private landowners and the Town of Wolfeboro. Outreach and education efforts spearheaded by the Association have provided impetus for these projects.

Initiated in 2010, the Wentworth-Crescent Watershed Management Plan inventoried wetlands, streams, and lakes in order to identify the most serious threats to water quality. Topping the list of those threats was stormwater runoff from rain and snowmelt, which results in the delivery of phosphorus into the watershed’s surface waters. That unwanted nutrient in turn supports the growth of weeds and algae in the water.

The initial project was funded by a $68,000 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The DES funding was complemented by a $30,000 contribution by the Lake Wentworth Foundation – predecessor of today’s watershed association – and some $55,000 in Town of Wolfeboro administrative services and Foundation volunteer labor.

Oh, and the coolest shot of the project is taken from a drone courtesy of Rich Masse. You can’t get pictures like that from the ground!

Newly installed rain gardens at Camp Bernadette
Newly installed rain gardens at Camp Bernadette

The full plan and its findings are available here.