Milfoil Status Report Presented to Nottingham Board of Selectmen

On October 17, 2022, Milfoil Team Chair Neil Santos made a presentation to the Nottingham Board of Selectmen at one of its regularly scheduled meetings. He outlined the history of milfoil infestations in Pawtuckaway Lake, emphasizing the hundreds of hours that PLIA volunteers have donated in efforts to find and extract this noxious threat to the lake.

The Town has contributed support to the PLIA’s Lake Host Program for many years. Dee Decker, Chair of this Program, trains and deploys people to conduct voluntary boat and trailer inspections at public ramps on the lake to prevent invasive aquatic species of all kinds from entering the water. Last year she organized a community training to include interested residents from other lakes in town.

In 2015, however, milfoil was discovered in Pawtuckaway Lake just off the State Park boat ramp, and since then it has been located – by PLIA volunteers – in many other coves and areas of the lake. Pawtuckaway is located entirely within the borders of Nottingham, and thus the Town has taken a special interest in preserving the health of its signature resource. For this reason, the PLIA felt it was important to keep the Board of Selectmen and citizens of Nottingham informed about the threat posed by the growing presence of milfoil in the lake. The Town beach and State Park have recently experienced significant milfoil discoveries.

Neil’s report demonstrated how widely distributed the areas of milfoil around the lake have become. The maps in his report are particularly dramatic and disturbing. He also outlined the efforts made by the PLIA and its volunteers to locate and contain these infestations. Finally, he explained what more comprehensive and possibly drastic measures might have to be taken if the situation continues to worsen.

One member of the Board of Selectmen urged others to visit the lake for themselves to learn about these undertakings and see how serious the problem has become. The best way to understand the scope of milfoil growth in Pawtuckaway Lake is to read Neil’s report, Pawtuckaway Lake Milfoil Status and Outlook. We think you will find this report comprehensive, informative, and eye-opening. Please join or renew your membership in the PLIA now and help us fight this threat to our lake!



“Banquet” tables had to be lined up for the feast

A few rain sprinkles did not deter attendees at the PLIA’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Cookout on Sunday, September 25th from enjoying themselves. Under the shelter of the State Park Pavilion, about 40 members of the PLIA who volunteer their time in various programs and service projects gathered to eat, drink, and be merry.

Our chef dodged occasional rain
And, yes, we do recycle!

PLIA Board members organize this event every fall to celebrate and thank the folks who give of their energy and dedication to support our organization. They arrived early to set up and get ready for guests.

Our volunteers are Weed Watchers, Lake Hosts, Milfoil Team searchers and extractors, water samplers, neighborhood ambassadors, Chinese mystery snail eradicators, community service contributors, roadside trash pickers, event planners, trainers, fundraisers, committee members, and all-around supporters of the work the PLIA does. When they get together, you can feel the energy of their love for

Warming up by the cozy fire
Warming up while the food cooks

Pawtuckaway Lake fill the space and raise the roof!

President Steve Soreff
Vice-President Pete Wawrzonek
Milfoil Team Captain Neil Santos

Our President listed and praised all the many volunteer activities that have been performed this year. Plans for a winter event or events on the lake are already being hatched, according to our Vice President! This summer has been particularly challenging for our Milfoil Team, with more infestations to extract and fewer Weed Control Divers to do it! We are looking to train more of them for next year.

So, if you see one of our volunteers at work or at rest, please take a moment to say THANK YOU!

Third Annual Paddle Poker a Winner

On August 20, 56 paddlers entered the Third Annual Paddle Poker Tournament held on Pawtuckaway Lake. It was a fundraiser for the PLIA and raised a whopping $2,200 for our organization’s programs! Troy Brown of the Mountain Road Trading Post donated $250 to sponsor the event, as well as  discount coupons for merchandise at the store. Thank you, Troy!

There were five stations around the lake offering playing cards and refreshments to participants as they paddled the course. These hosts contributed generously to the fun and games: Tom Duffy and Karen Rydeen, Michele and Mark Lefebvre, Bob and Karen Given, Pete and Carol Wawrzonek, and Dee and John Decker. Thank you to these wonderful hosts!

After making their way around to all of the stations, tournament players landed at the beach of Barb and Les Thompson, where more refreshments were available and prizes were announced. Poker winners were: Kim Larkin (highest hand), Gayle Kenney (second highest hand), Mary Bates, (third highest hand), and Roger Frieden (Low hand).

Next were the lucky raffle winners, taking chances on a superb variety of gifts: Gregg Larkin and Roger Frieden (Mountain Road Trading Post gift boxes), Matt Currier (photographic print by Susan Medeiros), Pat Farrington (harvest basket from the Lefebvres), and Melody Bergevin (charcuterie Board by David Turcotte).

The weather was fine, the company was lively, the conversation was spirited, and the love for Pawtuckaway was abundant. What’s not to enjoy? Thanks to all who participated and made this event such a spectacular success – there was plenty of fun to go around (see for yourself)!

Stewards of the Lake – Supporters of the PLIA

The PLIA Annual Meeting held at the Pawtuckaway State Park Pavilion on June 11 attracted a crowd of over 80 people. The weather was fine, spirits were high, and attention was focused on issues of importance to wildlife and recreation on the lake.

The featured speaker, Krystal Costa Balanoff of NH LAKES, addressed the gathering on the topic of making shoreline properties lake friendly. She stressed the harm caused by runoff of polluted water into the lake and ways to mitigate such damage through landscaping and other practices. NH LAKES offers a program called LakeSmart designed to help property owners assess conditions on their property, suggesting methods to improve their land and its impact on the health of adjacent water. The program is free of charge and completely confidential. To learn more, click here.

Reports on the PLIA’s programs were given, updating members on the status of various issues related to the lake and its community.

A fundraising effort initiated by one of our youngest members was also introduced.

The annual Local Hero award was presented to Jamie Burleigh for his tireless work and countless volunteer hours extracting milfoil from the lake with his diving partner Sarah Patey. Neil detailed the efforts of this exceptional team of volunteer divers over the past several years, starting as early as April with ice still on the lake until October amid the lake drawdown. Because she could not be present at the meeting, Sarah was presented with her award at the home of Milfoil Team Chair Neil Santos. Thank you, Sarah and Jamie!

Folks who attended the Annual Meeting came away with a fresh sense of enthusiasm for the work of the PLIA and their part in that work as supporters and volunteers. Below are photos of this wonderful crowd! See you on the lake!



Annual Meeting is Right Around the Corner!


We are returning to the Pavilion at the State Park for our annual gathering of members and friends, but we are also returning to our old meeting time, at the beginning of June. This will help us kick off the new season, while giving us the chance to review our work from last year. As before, entry to the State Park will be FREE to all comers!

We have changed our lineup for the meeting:

SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2022 9:30 AM


  9:30 – 10:00  Registration, Membership, Refreshments

10:00 – 10:15  Socialize, Program Displays, Hat & T-Shirt Sales

10:15 – 11:00  Speaker and Questions

11:00 – 11:45  Business Meeting, Vote for Board Members, Treasurer’s Report, Program Reports                                          

11:40 – 11:45  Local Hero Award

11:45  Wrap Up

The map to the right shows the State Park and the Pavilion. The sign at the intersection of Route 156 and Mountain Road indicates that the State Park entrance is two miles down Mountain Road. Drive into the Park to the entry booth and let the Park staff know you are going to the PLIA Annual Meeting at the Pavilion. Entrance will be free of charge. Continue down the Park road until you see a sign for the Pavilion to the right, then take your next left into the parking lot. We are excited about our program this year and we look forward to seeing members and supporters. You should not hesitate to bring a neighbor or friend to share with them all that this organization does for the lake. And welcome!

Lake Hosting – All You Need to Know

Did you miss the April 3rd training or the “How to Lake Host” webinar?
Wondering what you need to do to become a Lake Host?
Below is a step – by – step pathway to Lake Hosting!
NH LAKES Lake Host Volunteer Onboarding:
• Please fill out your Volunteer Information Form at – everyone needs to fill out a new form every year
• View the “How to Lake Host” training webinar recording at…/8AoCMLu0j8cxEOKTV59MCKa… – required for everyone, every year
• Read Lake Host Program Training Manual – update for 2022 at…/2022-Lake-Host-Program-Manual.pdf
• Find the Volunteer Timesheet at…/1A9Vv-VrSR4d…/view- this is the . Time will need to be submitted on a bi-weekly basis in the drop box at the Nottingham town offices outside the gym door or in Coordinator Dee Decker’s newspaper box at 11 Lakeview Drive
Here is information specific to PLIA Lake Hosting:
1. PLIA Lake Hosts use paper forms for boater surveys, not the app discussed in the training materials. The boater surveys are provided for Lake Hosts and stocked in the boxes at the ramps. All boater surveys should be dropped off at 11 Lakeview Drive, or in the drop box at the Nottingham town offices outside the gym door.
2. Uniforms and other materials – please contact Dee Decker if you need any material or a uniform t-shirt:
3. We are encouraging volunteers to work in teams of two. Most of our volunteer hours will be at the State Park and are at the discretion of the volunteer. We will send out emails and reminders via SignUp Genius. Get the link to the 2022 SignUp Genius calendar at Dee will be adding shifts this week.

PawPrints Now Available Online

The print  version of our annual newsletter, Pawprints, has been mailed to members and friends of the PLIA. Now it is also available electronically – and in color!  Just click here:  PawPrints 2022. 

We hope you will enjoy reading news of our organization and plans for the upcoming year. There is also information about our Annual Meeting in June, which will once again be held at Pawtuckaway State Park. 

As always, there is a reminder to renew your membership in the PLIA or if you haven’t joined us already, to become a member! We look forward to seeing you at the Park and on the lake

PLIA Tackles Nottingham Town Beach Clean Up

Beach grass before clean up

On April 16, 2022, a crew of PLIA members volunteered to take on the Town beach as a service project for Nottingham Clean Up Day. They brought their tools, rolled up their sleeves, and got  to work on reversing the neglect of five years without maintenance. From 8:00 – 11:30 AM on April 16th, volunteers wielded picks, hoes, rakes, saws, loppers, and wheelbarrows in an effort to reclaim the sand that had been taken over by grass and bushes.

It turned out to be a more challenging task than anyone had anticipated. The grass had roots that were holding together a lot of soil on top of the underlying sand. The bushes had roots that were long and tough and resistant to being pulled up.

One observant worker noticed the layering of soil and sand under the grass. The top part was darker brown and clearly the product of decomposing plant matter over a number of years, while the sand beneath remained a lighter inorganic shade. Very dramatic! However, it made the group’s job clearer – remove as much organic matter as possible and expose the sand to the surface rays of the sun. Backbreaking but rewarding work.

As for the bushes, well, they often required a reciprocating saw to trim their branches and a lopper to tame their roots. Thank goodness for the wheelbarrow to transport the discarded plant matter into the woods where its decomposition would benefit the trees and wildlife.

All in all, a successful morning amidst beautiful scenery. Fresh air, a breeze to blow away the bugs, good company, plenty of exercise. And Pawtuckaway Lake looks good from every angle!

Now, so does the Town beach!



On April 3, 2022, at the Town of Nottingham Community Center, the PLIA held an Aquatic Invasive Species Training. They called in experts and tapped their Program Chairs to offer free Community Workshops to anyone in Nottingham interested in protecting a local water body from invasive species. For those who were unable to attend or attendees who wish to review some of the materials presented, there are links in the article below to each Power Point presentation.

First: Member Therese Thompson provided instruction on identifying aquatic invasive species in or around a lake or pond. Her lecture was very comprehensive, covering both native and non-native plants. It included pointers on how to recognize and distinguish between both, which can sometime be a difficult challenge. She highlighted the invasive plants that have been found in and around Pawtuckaway. In particular,  she urges everyone to pay special attention to the last slide in her show, that has links to resources to help with identifications:  Aquatic Invasives


Next: Lake Host Coordinator Dee Decker explained NH LAKES’ Lake Host Program and the PLIA’s participation in it. Her presentation included instruction on inspecting boats and trailers to detect invasive “hitchhikers” before they enter a water body, plus how to clean, drain, and dry watercraft to avoid the spread of these invaders. When the gathering moved outside, Lake Host Manager Mary Hervey assisted Dee to demonstrate actual boat and trailer inspection protocols. They also offered advice about courtesy, efficiency, and education when talking to boaters about these inspections:  Lake Host

Then:  Milfoil Team Chair Neil Santos demonstrated how milfoil has spread  in Pawtuckaway Lake since 2015. He explained why a milfoil infestation is harmful and how his team searches for and removes this weed, one of the most pervasive of the invasives. He reminded people to contact him, Dee Decker, or Steve Soreff if they saw a suspicious growth so it could be located and identified. There are  two Power Point presentations that illustrate his talk: Milfoil Procedures and PLIA Milfoil Team

Finally: Chair Pete Wawrzonek introduced the PLIA’s Road Representative (or “Road Rep”) Program that enables residents and members to learn about the organization and its activities and encourages newcomers to join: Road Reps

Last but not Least: Attendees enjoyed a complimentary pizza lunch and a selection of free T-shirts to take home.

We have learned much over the years with our experience on Pawtuckaway and are happy to share it with the entire community.