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Our Lake Representatives Forums are occasional public meetings of individuals, businesses and state and local officials to discuss lake issues as they pertain to our area. The forums connect lake residents with residents of the surrounding communities to help set our goals.
“Threats to Our Lakes” was the theme of the 2012 forum (Ossipee Town Hall 6.16.12). The Alliance’s presentation “Controlling Milfoil and Other Invasive Species: How Are We Going to Pay for It?” updated the previous year’s report on milfoil control funding, showing the state’s share of the total cost had declined to 11 percent, and almost half of the communities with milfoil-infested water bodies are not doing anything to control the weed. Ten of the state’s 11 milfoil-infested rivers are not being monitored or managed by towns or groups. A second presentation, The Toxicology of 2,4-D, detailed the development of the chemical that is most frequently used to combat milfoil, and dispelled the myths that surround its use.
Dustin Johnson, program manager for the Acton-Wakefield Watersheds Alliance, said in Keeping Phosphorus from Damaging Our Lakes that how homeowners handle storm water runoff and how often they pump their septic tanks can affect water bodies downhill. Whether a homeowner lives on the shore or in the hills in the Ossipee Watershed, what he does on his property has a direct impact on the lake since the watershed drains into the lake. In Maintaining Water Quality, John Shipman, chair of the Ossipee Watershed Coalition, said environmental health, community health and economic health are connected. He said builders, developers and homeowners should follow best management practices regarding storm water runoff and potential phosphorous pollution. Biologist and long-time lake resident Barre Hellquist ended the forum with a presentation on the lake’s “native, invasive and uncommon” plants. Read the press coverage of the milfoil study here, and the press coverage of the pollution control presentations here.
The 2011 forum (Calumet Conference Center 6.12.11) made front page news by reporting the results of the first-ever study of who is paying for milfoil control in the state. The study, “Funding of Milfoil Treatment in New Hampshire’s Waterbodies: A Snapshot of Money Raised and Spent in 2009-2010,” was commissioned by the Alliance and conducted by Bianco Professional Associates of Concord. It showed the state’s share of funding declined from 24 percent of the total in 2009 to 12 percent in 2010, with the remainder of the cost being paid by lake communities and private local donors.
A DES presentation prepared by Amy Smagula, the state’s exotic species program coordinator, estimated a five-year milfoil control plan would cost $7.2 million, including $2.6 million for herbicides; nearly $3.4 million for contracted diver-assisted suction harvesting; $500,000 for staffing full-time seasonal divers; and $114,000 for equipment, materials and supplies. Jim McElroy, a member of the Freedom Aquatic Invasive Species Committee and the Freedom Conservation Commission, conducted a presentation on Ossipee Lake’s milfoil control efforts and costs, and suggested an expansion of boat inspections to include private campgrounds and other high traffic areas. Read the press coverage of the 2011 forum here. Photo: State Representatives Chris Christensen, Mark McConkey, Harry Merrow and Dave Babson are flanked by Jim McElroy (l) and Bob Reynolds (r).
Lake management was the theme of the second biennial forum (Calumet Conference Center 6.13.09) and the keynote presentation was on the newly launched management plan for Ossipee Lake Natural Area that balanced the competing interests of preservation and recreation. The plan was the result of a multi-year grassroots lobbying campaign led by Ossipee Lake Alliance. Don Kent, administrator of DRED’s Natural Heritage Bureau, conducted a presentation on how his agency was able to find common ground for the plan among diverse lake stakeholders—as well as multiple state agencies with competing interests.
Dr. Josh Carroll of UNH and attorney and lake planner Derek Durbin discussed the Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, a sophisticated tool used by lake planners to establish a lake’s true recreation potential. Their presentation detailed how the tool was used for a project conducted by N.H. Lakes Association, Squam Lakes Association and Squam Lakes Conservation Society. Boaters like the lake level high, while some residents like it low to create a beach. “Things You Might Not Know About the Lake’s Water Level” was the subject of a presentation by N.H. Lakes Association president Jared Teutsch, who spoke about why the effective management of the lake’s water level must consider much more than such basic considerations. Photo: State and local volunteers are shown after a shoreline clean-up of Ossipee Lake Natural Area the summer the property’s first management plan went into effect.
Landscaping at the Water’s Edge was the topic at Calumet Conference Center on Saturday, June 21. Jeff Schloss, a UNH Cooperative Extension educator and horticulturists from the UNH Extension offered tips on how to manage our landscapes while protecting adjacent lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Jeff offered lessons on how to create natural landscapes while avoiding soil erosion and detrimental runoff. Co-sponsored by Green Mountain Conservation Group.
The first biennial Lake Representatives Forum, held at Calumet Conference Center on 4.28.07, focused on the results of an Ossipee Lake Alliance survey of lake property owners and area residents to determine which issues the Alliance should focus on. More than 200 people responded to the survey by ranking a list of lake issues on a scale from “unimportant” to “extremely important.” David Smith made a presentation on the results showing 63 percent of respondents said permanent state funding for milfoil prevention and control was the top issue. It was followed by permanent protection for Ossipee Lake Natural Area (54 percent) and protection of wildlife (51 percent). When “extremely important” and “very important” responses were combined, the same three issues dominated, with management of the lake’s water level tying with wildlife protection for third place.
Invited speakers directed their presentations to the issues highlighted in the survey. Derek Durbin, environmental policy director of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, spoke about Ossipee Lake Natural Area; John Cooley Jr., staff biologist of the Loon Preservation Committee, spoke about wildlife protection; and Steve Doyon, representing the DES Dam Bureau, discussed managing the lake’s water level. Photo: Curtailing the damage being caused by boaters at Ossipee Lake Natural Area was one of the issues survey respondents said should be on the Alliance’s agenda.