A number of years ago, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) embarked on a legislatively mandated study known as the Lamprey River Watershed Instream Management Project. The resulting Plan proposed significant changes to the annual drawdown of Pawtuckaway Lake. The PLIA was instrumental in alerting NHDES that its members were important stakeholders in this Plan, and their interests needed to be taken into account.
Prompted by input from the PLIA and Nottingham Town officials, when NHDES issued its 8/29/13 Decision affecting winter drawdown of Pawtuckaway Lake, it included a highly significant and perhaps historic provision. It promised a collaboration between stakeholders like the PLIA and NHDES in monitoring and managing future lake water use and health, in implementation of both the new drawdown and the overall Lamprey River Management Plan.
Seizing on this provision, during a subsequent brainstorming session with other Pawtuckaway residents and community members, PLIA member Liz Kotowski suggested that we request an actual Partnership Participation Agreement with NHDES to implement its pledge. Then PLIA President Tom Duffy pursued this idea until a written agreement of cooperation was drafted and signed by our President and NHDES Commissioner Tom Burack in October of 2013.
We are the first lake association in NH to have this close cooperation, and increased testing and management as a result. It enables the PLIA and NHDES to work collaboratively to enhance Pawtuckaway Lake’s water quality, which has been improving in recent years! You can read for yourselves the product of a lot of hard work, energy, and persistence, as well as a blueprint for future cooperation that gives the PLIA a voice in how NHDES manages our most important resource. The text of this historic agreement is at: http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/rivers/instream/documents/20130925des-plia-pa.pdf
NHDES and the PLIA share the common goals of protecting and improving the water quality and habitats of Pawtuckaway Lake, its tributaries, and downstream areas, as well as ensuring the enjoyment of the lake by residents and the public. To implement these goals, the Partnership Agreement calls for regular meetings, open to the public, to discuss and report on strategies to improve water quality in Pawtuckaway Lake. The objective is to balance the needs of the Lamprey River Watershed—of which our lake is an important component—with the recreational needs of the public and residents who take pleasure in the natural resources of Pawtuckaway Lake’s water and wildlife.