UNH’s Dr. Haney Returns for Winter Water Sampling

It has been a very long winter up this way as I am guessing it has for lots of you.  As you may recall, Dr. Jim Haney of UNH’s Center for Fresh Water Biology and his class of students visited the lake in September of 2013 to get some lake samples and do some tests … you can read more about that by clicking the link below:

Well, Dr. Haney and a couple of his assistants returned to the lake on Thursday, the 28th of March 2014 to get some more samples during the winter.  The Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance (AWWA), one of our partners in the watershed plan development, has posted a nice write up, photos and videos that you can enjoy at this link:
For those wondering how thick the ice is, watch the video of the auger cutting the hole in the ice and see how far he goes …. I think it will be a while for ice out!

 

Watershed Draft Action Plan Posted

The meeting presentation from the January 18, 2014 Watershed Action Planning meeting and the resultant draft action plan are posted below in PDF format.  We are looking for questions/comments/recommendations etc. from any and all that read these.  Since we are looking to finalize the action plan and keep the planning process moving forward we request that any comments etc. be sent to president@provincelake.org no later than Friday the 7th of March 2014.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and interest in helping to protect our lake.

The Watershed Steering Committee

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ProvinceLake_ActionPlan_25Feb14

Watershed Survey Report and Septic Survey Report Posted

The survey results of the Watershed Survey conducted on May 18, 2013 and the survey results of the Septic Survey conducted on August 24, 2013 have been completed and are linked below for your reading pleasure.  The Watershed Survey also includes a Summary document which is a short 2 pager.

The full text versions of both have some very good information about the watershed and the lake and both are a pretty easy and short read.

Enjoy and should you have any questions, you can e-mail us at PLAwatershed@provincelake.org or call us at 207-200-3234.

Province Lake Watershed Survey Report       

Province Lake Survey Summary Sheet 2013

Province Lake Septic Survey Final Report

January 18, 2014 – Watershed Action Planning Meeting

The Province Lake Association (PLA) in conjunction with the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance (AWWA), FB Environmental Associates and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) will hold a Province Lake Watershed Action Planning Meeting on Saturday January 18, 2014 from 9 am to noon (registration at 8:30) at the Greater Wakefield Resource Center, 254 Main Street, Union, NH. Forrest Bell and Jen Jespersen from FB Environmental Associates will present a summary of our Watershed Management Plan which includes the results from the Watershed and Septic Surveys conducted this past summer. More importantly – we would like to gather your input about what you think the critical components are to incorporate into the plan as we move towards the future of protecting Province Lake.
This meeting is the next phase of work resulting from a watershed assistance grant awarded by NH DES to the PLA. The end result will be a management plan for the Province Lake watershed. Once the plan is complete, future grant funds will be available to support local projects for the implementation of the recommended action items.
Community leaders from the three towns surrounding Province Lake (Effingham, NH, Wakefield, NH and Parsonsfield, ME) are encouraged to participate. A key to local economic vitality (including property values and tourism) is clean water. Having the perspectives of the community decision makers is essential to creating a useful and relevant document that will help guide future planning decisions relating to protecting the water quality of Province Lake. The best and most effective plans are those with the most community input.
All interested community members are encouraged to lend their voice to this process. Please share this invitation with your friends, neighbors and/or other interested parties. Snacks and lunch will be provided. To facilitate our planning, we request that you please RSVP by calling the Province Lake Association at 207 200-3234 or e-mail to president@provincelake.org . Additional information regarding the Watershed Plan can be found on the this website.

UNH Limnology Class Visits Province Lake

If you were around the lake on the 3rd of September in the afternoon, you may be asking why were there 3 pontoon boats tied together and anchored in the middle of the lake and who are all those college age people with orange life jackets on those boats?  Before we answer those questions, we at the PLA need to first give a huge thank you to fellow members Bill Brady, Mary McLoughlin, Laurie Grenier, and Marion & Tony Chouinard for the use of their pontoon boats.  Bill & Mary and Laurie just gave us the keys to use their boats and Marion actually also volunteered her time to pilot her boat … THANK YOU!

Now for those questions … The answer is quite simple … the boats were carrying about 10 UNH students, 2 UNH professors, 2 UNH teaching assistant as well as representatives from the PLA, AWWA and NH DES.  The UNH attendees were all part of Dr. Jim Haney’s and Dr. Alan Baker’s  Field Limnology class and they were gathering samples and doing all sorts of tests on Province Lake.

Dr. Haney instructs a student on how to conduct a test.

Dr. Haney instructs a student on how to conduct a test.

The students worked diligently on completing tests while at the lake as well as gathering samples for further analysis back at the UNH labs.  They were testing for Total phosphorus, lake water microcystin toxins, Chlorophyll-a, phytoplankton and zooplankton, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, Secchi disk depth, tissue analysis of mussels and fish, and they took a core sample of the lake bottom.  I am sure there were other things also being tested for.  All of this data will be used first for the students and their course requirements, but will also be supplied to the PLA so we can in turn use the data in the Watershed Management Plan modeling that is being conducted by FB Environmental.  This was a great opportunity for the lake and we thank Dr.’s Haney and Baker for using our lake as part of their studies.  Following are photo’s from the day … and more photo’s can be seen in the Photo’s section of the website.

Dr. Baker assists students in reading the results.

Dr. Baker assists students in reading the results.

TA Jon Dufresne explains how to get the next sample.

Teaching Assistant Jon Dufresne explains how to get the next sample.

Dr. Haney reads the results.

Dr. Haney reads the results.

Dr. Haney prepares the YSI Multiprobe.

Dr. Haney prepares the YSI Multiprobe.

Dr. Haney explains the gravity sediment corer.

Dr. Haney explains the gravity sediment corer.

Back to the Davis' to collect mussels and other interesting stuff!

Back to the Davis’ to collect mussels and other interesting stuff!

Septic Survey Winner Announced

Part of the Watershed Plan that the Province Lake Association is coordinating includes gathering information about house/camp septic systems.  A mailing of a septic survey went out in late July followed by a volunteer walk on the 24th of August to help fill in some of the ones that were missing.

We at the PLA would first like to thank all of those volunteers that walked up and down the area roads meeting people and completing surveys for those that were not mailed in or completed on-line.  We also would like to thank all of those who took the time and effort to complete a survey either before or during the August 24th walk.  We received 220 surveys, which is about 70% of the possible ones we could have received.  That is a HUGE success and again, thank you!

As anyone within 250 feet of the lake or a tributary should be aware, by completing the survey, you were entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Mulligans Woodfire Tavern at Province Lake Golf.

We at the PLA are pleased to announce that the winners of the gift certificate are JOHN & MARION QUIGLEY on Bailey Road …. CONGRATULATIONS!

Carl Davis Presents Gift Certificate to the Quigley's

Carl Davis Presents Gift Certificate to the Quigley’s

Don’t forget, if you want to stay informed on what is going on with the Association, the Watershed Plan, etc., the fastest and best way is to be a member and become part of the membership e-mail distribution.  Just click the Donate button now or complete a paper membership form and mail a check to us.  You can also stay posted at the website and on facebook.

Watershed Article in Union Leader

July 07. 2013 8:04PM

Groups combine efforts to protect Province Lake

By LARISSA MULKERN
Special to the Union Leader

EFFINGHAM — Province Lake, with its shallow, sandy beaches, clear water and proximity to seasonal camps and a golf course, attracts vacationers and locals alike. A collaborative watershed protection effort led by the Province Lake Association seeks to protect the lake and its 7.3-mile watershed area so that it remains healthy and attractive for humans and wildlife alike.

According to the Province Lake Association, the 1,008-acre lake — 70 percent of which is in New Hampshire, with 30 percent in Maine — has experienced more frequent blooms of potentially toxic algae in recent years. The state Department of Environmental Services considered the lake as “impaired” due to high phosphorus and chlorophyll a. levels, according to PLA Chair Carl Davis.
Most recently, the state issued a cyanobacteria advisory on June 21 that was lifted on June 28, in time for the long, hot Independence Day weekend. The advisory was issued after cyanobacteria was found off Bonnyman Road.
According to the state DES advisory sent to the PLA Association, a cyanobacteria advisory is not a lake closure.

“Our assessment of cyanobacteria (formerly called blue-green algae) involves a microscopic evaluation which serves only as a precautionary measure for short-term exposure to cyanobacteria. Our recommendation is to avoid contact with any area of water experiencing a bloom. Ingestion of the bloom/scum is one of our primary concerns. Keep pets out.”

This past Friday, members of the Haskell family clan hung out on the private beach area owned by Happy Hallow Campground on a stretch of sand with views of Green Mountain and the Maine side of the lake.

Susan Haskell of Haverhill, Mass., said 40 members of her family were gathering for the holiday weekend at Happy Hollow Campground. Family members were relaxing on the private beach area owned by the campground which is located right off Route 153, where the beach area is nearly level with the road.

Haskell was aware of the PLA watershed protection program, but not necessarily aware of the most recent cyanobacteria advisory in the lake off Bonnyman Road, some distance away.

On a hot and sunny day such as Friday, the focus was on the family gathering and enjoying the water.”This is one of the best lakes around,” she said, adding that it was safe for the kids, shallow with a sandy bottom, and a roped off area for swimming. Province Lake is only 17 feet deep.”It’s just beautiful here,” she said.

Province Lake Association Past President Carl Davis, a member of the association’s board, said the association has been around since the mid-1970s. The state DES has been conducting water quality sampling about four times per year for the past 22 years. More recently, the membership undertook an extensive study, collaborating with state and local agencies including NH DES, the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance, the Green Mountain Conservation Group, F.B. Environmental Associates of Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, the towns of Wakefield and Effingham in New Hampshire, and Parsonsfield, Maine and other local volunteers to develop the plan.

“Our main concern is phosphorous,” said Davis. When levels of that nutrient rise, a bit it serves as fertilizer so weeds and algae grow faster. We’re really trying to further understand how that is impacting the lake,” he said, adding the study will try to address and identify human causes for elevated phosphorous levels that may include failed septic systems.

“Our lake is impacted by humans in two ways — through the roads, like Route 153, Bailey and Bonnyman roads when water runs off rapidly, carrying anything that has been on the road or sediment,” he said. The phosphorous attaches to the dirt particles that get rinsed into the lake and released into the water.

Phosphorous may also flow downstream to the lake from properties where fertilizers are being used. He said stormwater runoff could be slowed or diverted in a number of ways. The groups will work with the AWWA’s Youth Conservation Corps to help homeowners identify and create rainwater diversion methods to prevent phosphorous or nutrient ridden rainwater from flowing into the lake.

Davis said the environmental consultant from F.B. Environmental is conducting more advanced testing — such as tests for dissolved oxygen levels — as part of the watershed study. Asked how the most recent rains will affect the lake quality, he said he didn’t know, but hoped that the study will help determine whether the rain has flushed out, or flushed in, more nutrients.

An overview of the study will be presented at the Province Lake Association meeting to be held on July 20 at Province Lake Golf Course on Route 153. The meeting will begin with the business portion at 9 a.m., followed by a presentation from F.B. Environmental.

For more information, go to the newly designed PLA website at www.provincelake.org.

lmulkern@newstote.com

Acronym Soup! PLA, NHDES, MEDEP, AWWA, FBE, UNHSC, MEDOT, and NHDOT Looking into Route 153

On June 19th, if you were driving down Route 153 by Province Lake around 1 o’clock, you may have seen about a dozen people standing on the border between Maine and New Hampshire.  At first glance, with the weather being so lovely, these folks could have been early summer visitors enjoying the day on the Province Lake beach.  If you drive closer, you would see several wearing fluorescent yellow/orange vests and everyone standing in a circle.  It turns out, this was a meeting between a whole swatch of organizations gearing up to discuss the Province Lake Management Plan and what, if anything, could be done along the 153 stretch of Province beach.

The meeting was an acronym soup of organizations and marked a meeting between all the people involved from multiple states!  Standing on the state line to discuss potential fixes to Route 153 were, in no specific order, representatives from:

The Province Lake Association
NH Department of Environmental Services
ME Department of Environmental Protection
Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance
ME DOT
NH DOT
FB Environmental
UNH Stormwater Center

PLA DOT

The meeting went on for over an hour and half and a lot of good information was shared from starting points, to design ideas, to how things should be approached to get work done with everyone’s schedule and crossing state lines.  A definite “step in the right direction” to help improve and maintain the water quality of the lake.

Province Lake Watershed Plan Underway!

The Province Lake Watershed Management Plan is underway!  Over the past several months, dedicated PLA members, property owners, state and local officials, and interested parties have joined forces and started the process of analyzing the Province Lake Watershed.

On May 6th, the PLA made this press release.

On May 18th, a watershed survey was conducted with great success!  The PLA partnered with volunteers, Maine DEP, NH DES, and AWWA to identify sites along the shoreline that may have erosion issues or be contributing sediment and nutrients to the lake.

Currently, the PLA is preparing to mail information to the owners of sites that were identified.  These property owners can contact the AWWA Program Manager to receive a free technical assistance visit to see if they do have a problem and how they may be able to fix the problem.

Stay tuned for updates on the Watershed Management Plan as the summer moves forward!

Sunset on Province Lake

Sunset on Province Lake