PawPrints in Color

Every year, the PLIA produces two versions of its newsletter; one in print to mail out and the other an electronic edition to share online. The print version – in black and white – has been mailed, so here we present the e-version – in color.
We hope you will click here to access this informative and interesting newsletter, to review what the PLIA has been up to and see what it has in store! And as always, See you on the lake!

Annual Weed Watcher Training

By Zoom Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 12:30 PM

From our Weed Watcher Co-Captain Steve Soreff:

The Annual Weed Watcher Training is both a refresher course for veteran Weed Watchers and a training for new members – Welcome!  First, of all, thank you for being a Weed Watcher. You are protecting and preserving our lake. Member Therese Thompson, our area invasive species expert, will conduct the training.  Material covered can be found in her slideshow here: . You may want to review it before the training or even print it out for future reference. It will cover the basics of what to look for, how to survey your area of the lake, and what to do if you find something.

This year is the 14th year of the of the rejuvenated Weed Watchers. To celebrate over a decade of Weed Watching and in memory of one of its pioneers, Lee Bartlett, there are now new Weed Watcher tee shirts for all volunteers who have been active during the 2020 season and for new members at no charge.  Lee is the one with a crutch in the group wearing the old tee shirts. What spirit!

And to the left is a picture of what the new tee shirts will look like. They are eye-catching and elegant.


Several points should be mentioned:

  • Remember, attendance at the training counts as part of your monthly reported hours.
  • If you are a new Weed Watcher please, register with Steve Soreff at or call him at 603 895-6120.
  • You will be added to the Weed Watcher email list and assigned an area of the lake to survey.

You can join the training via Zoom by emailing Steve Soreff to get the link, ID,  and passcode for the training. All are welcome!

Again, thank you for being a Weed Watcher!

WARNING: Zebra Mussels in Aquariums!

AQUARIUM OWNERS! Have you recently bought a “moss ball” for your tank? If yes, please read this. You may have inadvertently picked up some hitchhiking invasive species that can cause big problems.

Zebra mussels are invasive aquatic PESTS! They are one of the most destructive invasive species in North America, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Zebra mussels can quickly take over waterways and lakes, disrupting the food chain, clogging pipes and filters, and changing the chemistry of the water. They clog water intakes for power and water plants, block water control structures, and damage fishing and boating equipment, all at great cost.

zebra mussel is seen in a moss ball

Invasive zebra mussels have been found inside a type of algae ball – commonly known as a “moss ball” – that is a popular aquarium addition. Invasive mussels from this product could get into the wild, start a population and do serious damage, so wildlife agencies are urging owners to kill the balls and disinfect their aquarium.

These so-called “moss balls” are actually spherical algae. In the past few years they have become popular among aquarium owners because they’re easy to take care of and provide a plaything or a resting place for fish and other aquarium creatures.

Aquarium water should never be dumped into drains that can lead to local waters. The concern is that live mussels released into a storm drain or flushed could get into waterways.

Instead, the “moss balls” should be decontaminated before discarding, freezing them for at least 24 hours, plunging them in boiling water for at least one minute, placing them in diluted chlorine bleach, or submerging them in undiluted white vinegar for at least 20 minutes. This will destroy any zebra mussels and larvae they contain. Also, they should not be flushed down the toilet. The aquarium and its filters and gravel should be disinfected with a weak bleach solution before fish are returned to it.

If you own an aquarium, we urge you not to buy “moss balls” to furnish it. If you already have them, please destroy and dispose of them responsibly and ensure that your aquarium is a zebra mussel-free zone! For more information, click here:

The PLIA and Pawtuckaway Lake thank you!

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!

PLIA now has an Instagram account!

A picture is worth a thousand words. Our members have a history of taking great pictures of wildlife, scenery and lake activities which can be seen in our Photo Gallery.   Instagram is another great platform which allows us to easily capture images, videos, and stories to share Pawtuckaway Lake with the world.  Please follow our new Instagram account to stay in touch with PLIA activities and to see beautiful images of the lake from our members and fellow lake lovers.

You can now follow the PLIA on Instagram @Pawtuckawaylake_PLIA

Please feel free to tag @pawtuckawaylake_plia in your lake pictures or share them via a direct message if you would like them to be featured on the PLIA page.

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.