On Saturday morning, June 3, 2023, despite the cold and rain, 200 people assembled at the State Park Pavilion to hear our guest speaker make her presentation. For many years, Amy Smagula, Chief Limnologist at NH DES, has developed long-term milfoil management plans for Pawtuckaway Lake. Consistently she has recommended that the PLIA continue its program of hand-pulling milfoil plants, coupled with a robust Lake Host program for prevention of new incoming infestations.
For the first time this year, Amy is recommending that carefully tailored herbicide treatment could be part of our milfoil plan, because of the alarming spread and density of new milfoil growths. Her most recent Long Term Milfoil Management Plan can be found here. At the meeting she detailed her history with Pawtuckaway Lake and various milfoil management tools that should be coordinated as part of a comprehensive plan. She further explained the benefits of limited applications of a new herbicide called ProcellaCOR to help our Milfoil Team keep up with ever expanding areas of milfoil infestations. In addition, she entertained questions from the audience and answered them all with examples from her own research, expertise, and experience. For those who missed Amy’s talk, it was recorded and can be viewed here
Amy helped many of the attendees better understand her plan for the lake and how NH DES will be assisting our Milfoil Team with other endeavors, such as a Diver Assisted Suction Harvester (DASH) boat.
President Steve Soreff led a business meeting in which he announced that four Board members were retiring and four new members had volunteered to join the Board. Leaving were Dee Decker, Mike Coltin, Mike Hyer, and Les Thompson. The four members elected unanimously were: Troy Brown, Dawn Fernald, Shelly Heit, and Neil Santos. Steve then introduced Program Chairs who gave their reports, starting with Bruce Henden, new Lake Host Manager. Milfoil Team Captain Neil Santos vividly described how difficult it is in Pawtuckaway’s conditions of low visibility to locate milfoil plants to begin with. He further emphasized how carefully removing entire milfoil root systems stirs up the lake’s silty bottom to create almost no visibility at all. Plant fragments and stalks can easily be lost in the murk. He also invited people to watch the video, taken by Team member Jim Kelly and displayed on a laptop, to understand how dense and impenetrable the huge infestation near the Town beach is. He concluded by saying that his team is overwhelmed and unable, with its current resources, to meet the demands of our ever-growing milfoil menace.
Communications Chair Pam Kelly announced a letter writing campaign sponsored by the PLIA to encourage stakeholders to send their comments about the Pawtuckaway State Park expansion plan to state and local officials. She explained that the PLIA does not oppose the expansion in its entirety, but only wants the design of the new RV campsites, as proposed, to be modified. There are many reasons, she added, why those campsites should be away from the waterfront where they pose environmental and aesthetic threats. She has publicized this campaign to all PLIA members and friends so they can participate if they wish. You can read the article here.
Government Liaison Tom Duffy introduced Tara Blaney, formerly a manager of Pawtuckaway State Park who now works as a Supervisor for the NH Parks and Recreation Division. She spoke about the initiatives the park system is taking to assist our Lake Host and Milfoil Programs with their work, educating park visitors and assisting them to learn about keeping watercraft clean, drained, and dry. She explained when the next public information session about the park expansion can take place. She also noted that the State Park system now has responses to some of the concerns raised at the April 11 meeting with State Park officials.
Following all this sobering talk, attendees were invited to visit member Sonoma Potavin’s display about her Chinese Mystery Snail project and take home with them a complimentary snail collection bucket that Sonoma had created to help people find, remove, and safely dispose of these pests in the lake. Sonoma’s initiative was praised by Amy, who intends to publicize her wonderful effort.
The Paddle Poker table did a brisk business in raffle tickets, PLIA T-shirts were sold, refreshments were enjoyed, and many took a stab at playing the “Name that Scat” game invented by Susan Medeiros. What fun!
Finally, the organization honored Mark “Wags” Wageling with its Local Hero award, for his tireless attention and hard work as Water Testing Chair. Wags manages a team of dedicated members and provides them with collection bottles to take water samples, which he delivers to the State labs in Concord every month for testing. As “Commodore” of the good ship Water Testing, he and his crew are out on the lake in all kinds of weather taking samples and measuring various qualities of our lake water. He is truly an unsung hero who deserves all our thanks!