November 15, 2020
As we turned the clocks back a few weeks ago, I could not help but reflect on this past year and our LKWA community. We certainly had our share of happenings which took us away from “normal times”. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every person on the planet and certainly made for some changes on the lake. We saw accelerated second home occupancy by people escaping their populated hometowns looking to stay safe in a more rural area. We saw heavier than usual boat activity since people felt it was a safe way to enjoy the outside. And we saw our first major (in my 64-year lifetime) cyanobacteria bloom on our lake. Wow! What a year so far.
As the fall season turns towards winter, the Board thought it would be a good idea to provide an update for our membership and others who are interested in Lake Kanasatka. We have held many Board meetings since the cyanobacteria outbreak to address various aspects of the situation. Our water quality team remained vigilant throughout testing, sampling and communicating with the NH Department of Environmental Services (NH DES). On multiple occasions team members even drove water samples to Concord for analysis. Amanda McQuaid from the NH DES has been enormously helpful to our Association throughout this outbreak. She heads up the Harmful Algal and Cyanobacterial Bloom Program and has been a constant source of information and resources to support our efforts.
By early Fall, we saw the advisory lifted though some localized area blooms continued which we were told to expect as the lake turned over. And we did receive some long overdue rainfall which I know had to help improve the water quality. LKWA was steadfast in its reporting updates to the membership through our media outlets. Although our loss of John Scudder, long time LKWA Media Specialist, was huge and it did throw us some curve balls, we are fortunate to have several new “hands on deck” to move forward the efforts that John had so expertly performed for many years.
The Board appreciates the influx of new volunteers who have joined our work due to their deep concern for Lake K. With the lake community coming together with new ideas and energy we feel we have reached a crossroad toward a new and very important path. We have established a LKWA Watershed Advisory Committee which is charged with exploring funding resources to support a long overdue Watershed Management Plan. This plan will allow LKWA to apply for and receive grant money to help with certain hot spots around the lake. Areas of concern are the various tributaries and streams that feed our lake. At the State-owned launch ramp there is a need to address Rt. 25 runoff which is currently allowing debris to enter the lake during heavy rainfalls. This plan will not be inexpensive to complete but is critical to controlling the runoff of nutrients and phosphorus entering our lake. And it is needed sooner rather than later.
We know that education is key to helping prevent nutrients and phosphorus from entering our lake. Every homeowner within the watershed has a responsibility to assess their property and the potential for runoff. We all can do a better job developing and implementing a lake smart action plan on our properties. Lots of information is available from the NH Lakes website. You can also download a free book there; LakeSmart is an excellent resource that addresses lake basics, permitting, landscaping, and tips for living a lake-friendly lifestyle.
The Board urges everyone to take personal responsibility; without proper management our lake will not survive. If we are to prevent another cyanobacteria bloom this is imperative. Our lake is very fragile; it is shallow, it is aging, and it certainly is being used hard by all.
Another important thing we all can do to is be aware of our surroundings; if you see something happening that does not look right say something. The Board has discussed this at length and while we prefer taking a proactive approach, we are committed to doing a better job of reacting to issues that are clearly having an adverse effect on the lake. Some specific steps outlined for our work ahead include:
- Actively pursuing information about new property and land sales within the watershed (through town records)
- Sending new owners a ‘welcome letter’ inviting them to join LKWA, make use of NH Lakes “LakeSmart” resources and in general, plan their construction, renovations and/or landscaping with the health and wellbeing of the lake as a top priority
- Sending a letter to new owners in Tamarack development; offer a visit from a LKWA AB member to discuss ‘lake friendly’ strategies they can use
- Responding to concerns re: individual property owners by sending a friendly letter voicing the concerns, offering resources and a ‘friendly meeting’ to discuss lake smart strategies to support their construction or landscaping efforts.
- Publicize all success stories via our social media channels
- Creating a subcommittee of individuals who participate in or attend town meetings and keep the Board informed of developments that directly or potentially impact Lake K.
- Establishing relationships with local realtors to keep them informed about lake smart strategies that they can share with potential buyers who may be considering new construction, renovations or landscaping projects
- Meeting with local landscaping companies and individuals to express our concerns and suggest lake smart strategies they can use and promote to their customers
As you can see, we have identified many tasks for our volunteer board to tackle over the coming months. Our work is just getting started and we need everyone to get engaged and help. There will be a survey sent to all members very soon so the Board may hear your views and help guide our direction. Be on the lookout for it.
And through these challenging times I do wish you peace and comfort as we enter the holiday season. This has certainly been a different year for all and if there is ever a time to become united on a common front this is the time. Our lake needs everyone’s help and together we can accomplish great things. It takes unity and the desire for the best outcome for Lake Kanasatka. Our lake depends on us.
President, LKWA and lifelong Kanasatka lover
We remind everyone to remain vigilant to any unusual coloration or surface scums or cloudiness collecting on your beachfront or within 100’ or 150’ of shore. We continue to see smaller suspected blooms and send them out for testing. The most recent sightings and samples were taken today (Sun 9/27). Different types of cyanobacteria appear at various times of year, and a few cold days will not kill off all of them. Also, Dr. Amanda McQuaid at DES has reminded us that we may likely see some bloom activity as the lake turns over with cooler weather this fall.
If you see anything, please report it to Lisahutch@comcast.net and firstname.lastname@example.org.