Mission: The Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association’s mission is to monitor and act upon environmental and safety issues that affect Pawtuckaway Lake, to educate the public on the conservation, protection, and improvement of water quality, natural shoreline, wildlife habitat, recreational resources, safety, and natural resources as they pertain to the welfare and interest of Pawtuckaway Lake. To that end, the PLIA collaborates with conservation commissions, planning boards, state and federal entities, land trusts and other conservation organizations working to conserve or protect natural resources that have an impact on the Lamprey River watershed that includes Pawtuckaway Lake.
Visitors to the State Park, swimmers at the Town Beach, fishermen, campers, vacationers, and residents alike appreciate the clean water of Pawtuckaway. Here’s what we do to keep it that way:
- Water Testing - The PLIA conducts a regular volunteer-driven water sampling program to assist the NH Department of Environmental Services in evaluating the quality of public waterways. The Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP) on Pawtuckaway operates through its Water Testing Committee five months a year.
- Preventing Invasive Species - The Lake Host™ Program is a courtesy boat inspection and public education program to prevent the introduction and spread of exotic aquatic invasive species. Administered by the NH Lakes Association, PLIA volunteers and trained personnel identify and remove foreign “hitchhikers” before they enter the waters of Pawtuckaway and proliferate.
- Weed Watchers - Trained by biologists, this group has donated countless hours locating and eradicating invasive weeds on this public water body. Volunteers who live or vacation or camp on the lake pitch in to keep biodiversity in balance on Pawtuckaway.
- Welcome Booklet - The PLIA recently created a Welcome Booklet for anyone who enjoys the beauty and recreational opportunities that Pawtuckaway Lake offers, including through the State Park, public boat launch, or Town Beach.
- Partnership Participation Agreement - The PLIA works collaboratively with NH DES to enhance the lake's water quality. Through this Agreement, the collaboration continues year ‘round, with meetings and reports keeping everyone updated and informed.
- Written by Super User
The PLIA board has written a Milfoil Infestation Bulletin. To read it, click here.
- Written by PLIA
One of the perennial parts of the Pawtuckaway Lake’s July 4th 2016 Boat Parade has been the battles between the boats and the spectators. It is no doubt fun but there is dark side to the combat and the resultant water balloons in the lake. Medically, a number of people have sustained eyes injuries from being struck by these apparently not so innocent water balloons, especially those launched by devices. Then, the water balloons do a number of things which harm the environment. Since these balloons are not biodegradable they remain in the lake for months. Even the allegedly biodegradable kind take up to half a year to degrade. Once in the lake, they can harm fish that ingest them, or loons that eat the fish. Balloons can kill marine animals. Furthermore, they litter the shoreline and beaches. Recognizing the potential and actual destructive nature of the water balloon, the PLIA recommends that the water fights should continue with the use of water guns and super-soakers only. Water balloons and the balloon remnants are detrimental to fish, loons and dogs. Several lake residents recovered a lot of discarded balloons and one noted that her dog "lives in the water all day and the thought of her swallowing a balloon remnant is very scary as it can wreak havoc in her intestines." Check out the photos of just a few of what were collected:
- Written by PLIA
LEARN ABOUT MILFOIL! Last year Lake Pawtuckaway experienced its first infestation of exotic milfoil. Milfoil is disastrous because it grows unchecked and chokes off natural vegetation. It was found in the South Channel, near the State Park boat ramp on Horse Island between the red and black channel markers. The milfoil was removed by divers brought in by the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES). Unfortunately more milfoil was discovered this year, larger and more widespread than last year, in the South Channel near the last infestation. Divers from DES have been here twice so far this year and removed the identified plants, but new ones have been identified. There are MARKERS in place that are outlining where the latest milfoil is located. THIS AREA IS VERY FRAGILE and it is important that all traffic (boating, paddling, swimming, etc.) be avoided in this area. Milfoil spreads quickly from plant fragmentation and root runners. Small pieces are easily broken off existing plants, drifting, and rooting easily. Milfoil can establish itself in a wide variety of conditions and grows quickly, sometimes several inches per day. It can quickly overwhelm a water body, making water activities impossible and reducing property values substantially.
Take a look at what a water body choked with milfoil looks like:
Squam Lake NH Infestation
To protect Pawtuckaway before it is too late, here is what every lake resident should do to protect your property and the lake:
- Remember to CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY your boat if you are ever traveling to other waterways before bringing your boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and even inflatables back into Pawtuckaway. Boat inspections are our first line of defense. We all need to be vigilant!
- If you do find floating plant fragments, you should remove them carefully from the water and dispose of them safely by placing them in a zip lock bag.
The branches are very bushy—like a squirrel tail—and they have an unnaturally bright green color, especially the younger plants. (Mature plants have a reddish stem.)
See an example below:
- You can help by looking at the lake bottom along your waterfront and extending out as far as you can see. Keep your eyes open when you are out on the water. The best viewing is on a sunny, calm day from mid-morning through mid-afternoon. Do this as often as possible, at least every two weeks. Using polarized sunglasses and standing upright looking down (e.g., paddle board) into the water are best for visualization.
- If you are willing to do more than just survey the area in front of and around your property, please contact Steve Soreff so he can bring you on board as a Weed Watcher and provide training. It would be especially helpful if any snorkelers or scuba divers would be willing to
YOUR VIGILANCE AND HELP IN THIS CRISIS IS CRUCIAL.
SPREAD THE WORD, NOT THE MILFOIL! AND THANKS!!!
- Written by PLIA
As always, the Pawtuckaway Lake Independence Day boat parade is scheduled on the Fourth of July, which this year is a Monday.
As usual, the parade starts at 10:30 am; boats start to gather near the Twin Islands at the north end of the lake around 10:00 am.
There is a milfoil infestation that was found late last summer near the State Park boat ramp on Horse Island that continues to be active and has spread in the South Channel. Therefore, there most likely needs to be a change in the parade plans.
Although divers promptly pulled as much of the invasive weed as they could find, more has been found and we need to do everything we can to prevent the spreading of this infestation. It will totally choke our lake if we are unable to catch it in time!
Milfoil grows incredibly fast, and is extremely fragile. Agitation of the water—by boat propellers, paddles, and even strong winds or the chop from boat traffic—can disturb the plants enough so that tiny parts break off and float away, to quickly take root and begin to multiply.
For that reason, travelling with a large caravan of boats through the south channel will be very risky and impossible to control. Our parade route must be altered to avoid disruption to the infestation. The PLIA Board strongly urges limiting the use of South Channel for everyone to “local traffic only” and using the North Channel under the bridge for through traffic until we are confident that the milfoil has been removed.
Do not underestimate how easy it is to take a boat, kayak, or paddle board near this area and unknowingly have it attach to YOUR craft, which you would then transport to YOUR dock or cove. Your help and cooperation is urgently requested, for the health of Pawtuckaway.
PLEASE LOOK FOR UPDATES AND FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING BOTH THE MILFOIL AND THE BOAT PARADE PLANS. THEY WILL HAVE TO BE CHANGED AT THE LAST MINUTE.
- Written by PLIA
Prepared by the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES)
Over the last year, NHDES continued its evaluation of Pawtuckaway Lake’s phosphorus, aquatic plant surveys and lake outflow volumes and phosphorus concentrations. Semi-annual meetings were held in spring and fall. A meeting was held September 17, 2015 in Nottingham where the summer relief pulses and the public hearings about the draft 2015 Report of the Instream Flow Pilot Program were discussed.
Lake Drawdown – On October 13, 2015 the NHDES Dam Bureau started the fall drawdown by opening the Drowns gate and removing a stoplog from Dolloff dam, which was subsequently replaced. Most of the flow from Pawtuckaway during the last two years’ drawdown had gone through Drowns. Initially, the target release ratio was 70:30 (Drowns: Dolloff), but later the ratio drifted to a 90:10 split in trying to maximize phosphorus export. However, this has resulted in long periods when the Pawtuckaway River received no flow other than leakage. This is much less than is needed to support that river’s ecosystem. A more balanced release will occur next time while still preferentially releasing higher phosphorus concentrations at Drowns. From October 30 to November 1, NHDES rerouted all outflow through Dolloff Dam when Fish & Game Department requested that alewives needed egress from the lake over Dolloff Dam. NHDES and NH Fish & Game are conferring on how to operate the drawdown to support the alewives’ migration out of the lake.
2015 Phosphorus values – Phosphorus export during the fall of 2015 was significantly less than in 2014. From October 10 to December 3, 2015, 211 pounds of phosphorus were released from Pawtuckaway Lake during the early stages of the lake drawdown, compared to 1066 pounds in 2014 as a result of lower phosphorus concentrations and less water entering and leaving the lake. The volume released from the lake in 2015 was 37 percent of 2014’s volume, and the peak phosphorus concentration at Drowns Dam outlet in 2015 was 40.2 ug/L compared to 2014’s concentration. NHDES is looking into the reasons for lower phosphorus concentrations in the lake.
Wiswall Dam water use – Under the UNH/Durham Water System’s Instream Flow Program water management plan, UDWS must stop withdrawing water from the Lamprey River whenever flows at the USGS gage fall below 16 cfs. UNH has developed a website at http://energy.sr.unh.edu/water/ which shows UDWS’s water withdrawals from Wiswall Reservoir and the reservoir levels. The lake level drawdown for 2016/2016 target will be -5 feet (minus 5 feet).