New Milfoil Team Equipment

Thanks to all our generous membership donations, the PLIA’s Milfoil Management Team has been able to acquire new gear to expand and improve their search and removal operations!

While the Milfoil Team has had a hookah rig since 2018 as well as having numerous milfoil markers, collection bags, and safety gear, the goal is to continue to make the team activities more comprehensive and efficient to contain the milfoil threat.

This year, the PLIA used dedicated membership donations to purchase a second hookah rig and related equipment. This second unit will enable our milfoil team to add two more divers in our ongoing search for milfoil. With another hookah we can cover more areas in a dive session and search heavily infested areas more often in the summer season.

In addition, with dedicated funds we paid for the Weed Control Diver certification of three PADI divers, allowing us to remove milfoil quickly and without dependence on outside organizations to do it for us.


Invasive Species Prevention and Mitigation is the centerpiece of our mission to keep Pawtuckaway Lake clean and healthy. Those efforts include prevention, detection, and removal of non-native milfoil and other invasive species like water chestnut, phragmites, and purple loosestrife. We do this work through three equally important programs: the Lake Host Program, Weed Watchers, and Milfoil Management:

  • Lake Hosts inspect boats BEFORE their entry, preventing infestations and saving hours of searching and extraction; they also educate boaters about the dangers of aquatic invasive species;




  • Weed Watchers cruise the lake to find suspicious or infected locations of all kinds of invasive plants, and once detected, remove all but milfoil, which can only be extracted by certified divers;





  • Milfoil Management team members search for and extract milfoil infestations with the assistance of kayak support to ensure safety.




We think of our invasive species plan as a three-legged stool that supports our mission to protect property and recreational values for everyone who uses the lake:

With this multi-pronged effort, the PLIA Board of Directors has decided that all donations received in the future should be maintained in the general fund so that we can properly allocate them to a specific effort where needed. Over 75% of our annual revenue is expended on invasive species prevention and mitigation each year, so your generous membership donations are always both appreciated and well-spent.

We thank our members and donors for their continued support of PLIA activities as we look forward to a productive 2021 season. We couldn’t do what we do without you!


Last year, the PLIA applied for and received a grant from the Lamprey River Advisory Committee to purchase a side scan sonar device. We hope to use this equipment in our Milfoil Management Program for searching large areas of the lake by boat to locate possible new areas of milfoil. Last fall, Neil Santos, our Milfoil Team Chair, tested the equipment and wrote a report about its potential use and efficacy. It is one more tool in our arsenal to fight milfoil in Pawtuckaway. We thank the Lamprey River Advisory Committee for their generous support and for giving us this opportunity to explore new avenues to respond to the threat of invasive aquatic species in NH lakes. Pawtuckaway Lake is part of the Lamprey River Watershed and keeping it clean benefits the entire system. You can read Neil’s report here

Is the Ice on the Lake Safe Yet?

You may be seeing ice fisherman on parts of Pawtuckaway Lake, but there is still a lot of open water, and that could spell danger for anyone venturing out. Please never go on the ice alone, and always check the thickness before you step on it. Remember, ice thickness can vary from location to location, so always keep checking!

The graphic above has rough minimum measurements you should consult before doing so. However, the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, NH, offers a “rule of thumb” on ice thickness: “There should be a minimum of six inches of hard ice before individual foot travel, and eight to ten inches of hard ice for snow machine or All-Terrain Vehicle travel.”

Temperatures this season have varied wildly, with snow, rain, thawing and freezing weather creating dangerous conditions on the ice. Ice can be thick, but not strong, because of varying weather conditions. Weak ice is formed when warming trends break down ice, then the slushy surface re-freezes.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has a very helpful booklet regarding ice safety and you can read it by clicking here.

To all our winter sports enthusiasts:  Safety first!

New Photo Gallery: 1985 Lake Drawdown

Dollof Dam during the 1985 drawdownBackground:  Dolloff Dam is at least 176 years old as of 2018, according to a survey conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1978. Over the years it has seen many improvements and repairs. The stoplog section was added to the dam in 1956 in place of a gated outlet at the same time the spillway was enlarged. In 1964, its upstream side was resurfaced with concrete and in 1970 a concrete walkway was built. In 1974, the dam was again rehabilitated and the stoplog section was reconstructed.

Forward to more recent times:  By 1985, further repairs had become necessary. In order to conduct the repairs, the level of  water in Pawtuckaway Lake had to be dropped drastically so that work could be accomplished on dry land. In the fall of that year, therefore, the usual drawdown of the lake continued until most of the water was drained off by October. This left an eerie landscape that was captured in photographs by former Pawtuckaway resident George Robinson, among others. George offered his photos to the Nottingham Historical Society and member John Bartsch transferred the images from slides to digital pictures. Courtesy of George, John, and the Nottingham Historical Society, we are pleased to be able to share this wonderful view into the past with the visitors to our website.

We have created a new Photo Gallery here, devoted to these pictures to add to our permanent collection of photographs of Pawtuckaway Lake on this website. For those of you who may have your own memories of this historic event, we would love to hear from you. Needless to say, if you have photos of the lake during or after it was drained that you would be willing to share as well, we will be delighted to post them on the website. Just send us an email at: and if applicable, attach your pictures.   Enjoy! And thanks!

The PLIA Team Declares Victory Over Route 156 Trash

The turnout of volunteers to pick up trash along a stretch of Route 156 on Sunday morning was the best ever! Because so many folks showed up to help, mountains of refuse were collected in record time. The sun was shining, a breeze kept the air fresh, and one or two passing drivers even slowed down to yell their thanks to those toiling by the roadside.
The PLIA has participated in NH’s Clean and Scenic roadside trash removal program for many years. Not just content to keep the waters of Pawtuckaway Lake clean, our volunteers bring their talents to dry land to remove the bottles, bags, cups, wrappers, containers, and other litter that accumulates over the months from motorists tossing these items out their windows. This summer one volunteer even found a discarded artificial Christmas tree!
Heartfelt thanks to all who came out at 9:00 AM on a beautiful Sunday morning to dedicate themselves to this civic effort! It was a show of love for this Town and appreciation for the entire community.

PLIA Annual Meeting Coming Soon

July 25, 2020 9:30 AM
Wondering what the Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association does for Pawtuckaway Lake?
Join us for our Annual Meeting and find out!
 We care about the health and safety of our members as much as we care about the health and safety of Pawtuckaway Lake. So In recognition of the restrictions imposed on all of us by the coronavirus epidemic, we have planned our Annual Meeting to be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your homes, or wherever you have access to a computer, smart phone, or tablet.
We will be offering video clips and presentations about our work. There’s a lot to share about what we are doing and what we have planned for the coming year, so PLEASE JOIN US!
Date:  July 25, 2020
Time:  9:30 AM
Where:  The comfort of your home
How: By clicking on this link
                                                                 1. Election of PLIA Board
                                                                 2. Committee Reports
                                                                         a. Membership
                                                                                b. Treasurer
                                                                                c. Water Testing
                                                                                d. Lake Hosts
                                                                                e. Weed Watchers
                                                                                f. Milfoil Management
                                                                               g. Fund Raising/Grants
                                                                               h. Government Relations
                                                               3. Local Hero Award
                                                               4. Fourth of July Boat Parade
                                                               5. Questions & Answers
                                                               6. Closing


The PLIA is planning this year’s annual Independence Day Boat Parade with some precautions to accommodate distancing protocols and out of courtesy to others. Below are guidelines that will ensure the safety of all participants during coronavirus conditions, from the New Hampshire Fire Academy & Emergency Medical Services:

The date for the event is July 4, 2020; rain date July 5, 2020. Starting at 10:00 AM, all boats gather at the northern end of the lake by Twin Islands. At 10:30 AM, John Decker’s boat will lead the parade in its clockwise progress around the lake ending at the State Park beach.
Decorate your boat—and yourselves!—however your fancy takes you.
So, what’s wrong with water balloons?
1. Water balloons can cause injuries and they hurt
2. Water balloons are harmful to wildlife
3. And there is the danger of potential virus contamination
For these reasons, even if you personally love a good water balloon fight, please resist the temptation at least until after the boat parade, and keep it on land. Super soakers are the perfect alternative, but only with others similarly equipped. Not everyone welcomes the spray!

2020 Pawprints is out!

Every Spring, we mail out printed versions of our newsletter, the PawPrints. This year, we have focused on the topic of invasive aquatic species because Variable Milfoil continues to threaten our lake.
There is information about our Annual Meeting this year as well, and we promise more details as the time nears.
Meanwhile, you can read the color version of PawPrints by clicking  here.
Stay safe, keep social distancing and, See You on the Lake!

Mud Season in the Time of Social Distancing

Enjoy Mud Season and Protect Our Lakes!

by Andrea LaMoreaux, NH LAKES
(This article was originally published by NH LAKES. As long as you’re going to be at home, you might as well do some yard work!)
In New Hampshire, we take mud season and winter storm damage clean-up in stride. Despite the complaints, I think most of us actually enjoy mud season-often referred to the ‘fifth season’ in New England. Mud season typically starts in March and extends through April, and is advertised by the gaudy orange load limit signs that are posted on many town roads. After a long winter, mud season brings a welcomed opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise-just what the doctor ordered for a bad case of cabin fever. It is a time to clean up the yard, plan home improvement and landscaping projects, and guess when ice-out will occur on the lake. (Ed. note:  it was March 11 this year on Pawtuckaway)
If you are looking for an excuse to get outside this spring and enjoy what mud season has to offer, here are a few things you can do to clean up your property and protect the health of local lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams…
Sweep your driveway, walkways, and steps to remove leftover sand. Sand used to help keep roadways, driveways, and walkways passable during the icy and snowy winter months can cause serious problems when washed into waterbodies by spring rains. Sand deposited in aquatic environments can destroy fish spawning or nesting sites and sand particles suspended in the water can clog fish gills. Deposited sand also causes waterbodies to become shallower, often facilitating plant and algal growth-while having some plants and algae in a lake is a good thing, too much of either is not good for the health of the lake, or our enjoyment of the lake.
Survey your property for areas where runoff water has caused erosion. Take a walk around your property to see if recent rains have created any gullies or other eroded areas. If possible, fix eroded areas before the next rainstorm occurs. If you aren’t sure how to fix an erosion problem, contact a local landscaper or NH LAKES to get pointed in the right direction.
Remove storm debris in accordance with the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act. If your property is located within 250 feet of a lake or river, downed and damaged trees and trees posing an imminent hazard or threat may be felled and removed.
But, be sure to leave the stumps in the ground since stumps do a very good job preventing soil from being eroded off of the landscape and polluting the water (and, it is also illegal to remove the stumps). Trees and storm debris from severe weather events can be removed from waterbodies. If equipment is necessary for the removal of debris from a waterbody, be sure to monitor the equipment for fluid leakage and use temporary work pads to lessen the impacts to the shoreline. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services recommends that property owners take photographs of damaged trees and structures for documentation.
For the sake of our lakes-and for my mental health!-I’m looking forward to the next warm day to get outside and clean up my driveway and yard. Are you?
NH LAKES is the only statewide, member-supported nonprofit organization working to keep New Hampshire’s lakes clean and healthy, now and in the future. The organization works with partners, promotes clean water policies and responsible use, and inspires the public to care for our lakes. For more lake-friendly tips, visit, email, or call 603.226.0299.


Get Your 2020 PLIA Membership Stickers Now!


The 2020 Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association stickers have arrived! This year’s beautiful design features a photo captured by PLIA member Susan Medeiros: the Mama Loon with her chicks, our favorite lake residents.
Lake Association membership starts on January 1st and is good for the calendar year. Membership dues go towards educating 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 interests of Pawtuckaway Lake.
The largest threat to lake health currently is milfoil and the PLIA has taken the lead on locating and eradicating it, scaling up and supporting a network of weed watches, snorkelers, and divers.
Please help support the PLIA by joining or renewing your membership for the 2020 year. It’s easy to do online or through the mail, by clicking here. You’ll be in good company!