Previous SLA Home pages and member emails
(starting with most recent)
And the Winner Is...
April 5, 2021--Drum roll please…… the winner of the first annual Spofford Lake Ice Out Lottery is Brendan Donaher.
Creator of the Lottery, Larry Robbins, had modest expectations for this first lottery, believing it would be a fun activity for the Association during the cold and quiet months, and that a “good showing” would be 50-60 tickets. Instead, with the enthusiastic work and support of the Historical Society and posts from Chesterfield residents on Next Door and Facebook and an article in the Brattleboro Reformer, a total of 177 were sold.
The rules of the game were that entrants would choose the date on which they thought ice would no longer be present on the Lake. If multiple entrants selected a date, then a s ingle winner would be chosen at random. The winner’s payout would be 50% of ticket sales, with the Historical Society and SLA splitting the balance.
The Ice Out Committee diligently checked around the lake at 2:00pm each day for about a week, and finally, on March 29th, no ice was visible anywhere. The Committee then drew a random winner from the pool of four entries for that date. Congratulations Brendan.
“We think this was a successful first attempt, and a good time was had by all” according to Robbins. We are already looking for ways to improve on it for next year.
If you have any suggestions for this or other engaging events, please reach to us out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vote on March 9!
Dear Members, Neighbors, and Lake Lovers,
On Tuesday, March 9, residents of the Town of Chesterfield will be asked to vote on two items of particular importance. They are Article 28, Spofford Lake Control and Remediation of Invasive Species Expendable Trust Fund, and the Steep Slopes ordinance.
SLA believes that we all are stewards of the Lake and works diligently to protect, enhance, and sustain its environmental and recreational character. Water quality is recognized as first among equals. Without quality water, Spofford Lake will lose its luster and desirability. Decisions, be they about lake water levels, road salting or development, must balance the present 'want' with the longer term ‘need' and, in the view of the SLA, must do so with an eye toward the benefit of the overall community.
Both items on the ballot require your careful consideration and decision.
1. Article 28 asks that the Town add $10,000 to the Spofford Lake Control and Remediation of Invasive Species Expendable Trust Fund. In short, the Fund sets aside monies to be used for the express and expensive purpose of combatting the introduction of milfoil (or other invasive species) into Spofford Lake, should such occur. This was recommended by the SLA board and the Board of Selectman. For more information click here.
2. A Steep Slopes ordinance for the Spofford Lake Watershed was approved by the Chesterfield Planning Board by a vote of 6-1. To become effective, it must be approved by the Town's voters.
This ordinance limits development of steep slopes only within the defined Spofford Lake Watershed, and is intended to reduce runoff into the Lake, a known cause of many of the Lake’s water quality problems. Importantly, the proposed ordinance does not restrict logging, nor does it apply to existing building lots within the watershed.
Opponents of the ordinance believe it to be too restrictive for undeveloped properties. The Brattleboro Reformer's recent story provides more insights.
We thank you for your time in considering these important issues, and we urge you to vote on March 9th. Polls will be open 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, at the Highway Garage, 39 Old Brattleboro Road.
Sincerely, The SLA Board of Directors
Ice Out Lottery
Dear Members, Neighbors, and Lake Lovers,
“This is just a contest to have some fun and keep the Lake Association and the Historical Society in the top of the mind when everything is closed up for the weather and for pandemic reasons,” Bayard Tracy SLA President told Bob Audette of the Brattleboro Reformer.
The lake seems to be undergoing a number of changes including that it has still not yet fully frozen and that there is an open water hole near the deepest part of the lake. In the article, Pam Walton, Vice President of the Chesterfield historical Society and former Secretary and Treasurer of the SLA noted that this is the second year that such a hole has appeared. She went on to say that "I can't find anyone who's ever noticed an ice hole on the lake prior to last year," and that "today [January 25th] the temperature is 10 degrees and the hole remains open water."
While we’re extremely pleased with ticket sales to date, more would certainly be better for all concerned. Larry Robbins, an SLA member and creator of the lottery, is urging everyone to remember that the deadline for ticket sales is February 15th, and the proceeds really serve two great causes.
Now that more than 100 tickets have been sold, the winner will take home more than $500.00, with the balance being split between the SLA and the Chesterfield Historical Society.
To see all the details, and purchase your own $10.00 ticket, click on the 'Ice Out Lottery' tab above.
In other news from around the lake, the demolition of Spofford Hall, which has stood idle and become an increasing eye sore for approximately 25 years, is nearly complete. In a January 18th article, the Brattleboro Reformer discussed with Jim Phippard, of Brickstone Land Use Consultants, the process by which the Hall is being brought down. Since the 18th, casual observers have noted that only a small portion of the right hand section is still upright, but expectations are that that will soon be gone as well.
Dear Member, Neighbors & lake Lovers: December 2020
On behalf of the Spofford Lake Association, I hope this note finds you and your family healthy and safe. During the fall, we communicated with you regularly on the unique challenge of the cyanobacteria bloom. With the 'season' ending, I thought it useful now to report on all the good work being done and the progress being made by the Spofford Lake Association volunteers.
Water Level: A number of factors are at play. The weather is getting warmer, earlier. According to NOAA, the year 2020 was among the three hottest and driest summers of the last 60 years. In the last 90 years, the four earliest ice-out days have occurred since 2002. Indeed, ice-out occurred very early this spring. As a result of the drought, the Lake's water level fell 10.5 inches from mid-May to mid-October, and is believed to have had a contributory effect on the overall health of the Lake. Surely, the low water created docking and launching hardships for boaters, and a new set of obstacles for kayakers.
Water Quality: Protecting and improving the quality of Spofford Lake's clean, clear water for everyone is the SLA's purpose and the focus of our activities. As water quality is influenced by a web of factors, some man-made and some natural, from increasing phosphorous levels to volume of rain to the introduction of invasive species, our work is and will continue to be multi-faceted. COVID cutbacks at state labs has resulted in reduced water samplings this year, dropping from 4 to 2. That said, the water remains clear, and low in phosphorus and chlorophyll. Winter road salting, however, continues to take an adverse toll on the Lake's chemistry.
Cyanobacteria: The hot, sunny, dry days and the natural clarity of Spofford Lake along with the increased agitation of the water are, according to NH DES, among the principal causes of September's cyanobacteria bloom. The SLA took swift action with State authorities and retained Green Water Labs to identify the bloom, and to alert homeowners and recreational users of the Lake of the potential danger. Fortunately, the bloom was not toxic, and has abated. DES continues to advise that the Lake be actively monitored for new blooms in 2021.
Invasive Species: Funded by the SLA and the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, “The Lake Host Program” seeks to prevent the introduction of invasive plants and animals into the Lake. Milfoil has “infected” any number of lakes in NH and surrounding areas. Lake Hosts were on duty from June 1st to October 18th, and by their count inspected a record 6,823 launches, a 22% increase, or 1,229 more boats than last year.
In compliment to the Lake Hosts, our 25 local volunteer “Weed Watchers” completed their twice/summer inspections and found no invasive plants near the shoreline. Moreover, SLA again commissioned Solitude Lake Management to conduct an annual survey of the Lake. It too found no evidence invasive species.
Milfoil is a wily aquatic plant and despite our best efforts may find its way into beautiful Spofford Lake. Therefore, SLA has established the 'Spofford Lake Preservation Fund' with an initial investment of $50,000. The fund's purpose is to contribute to any future remediation costs of invasive and harmful plants, animals and organisms.
Over the past 10 months, the work of the SLA, in partnership with the Town of Chesterfield and the NH DES have, we believe, helped to protect, enhance, and sustain the character of beautiful Spofford Lake for everyone. We invite you to help us in the future. If you are already one of our members, thank you for your generosity and willingness to help. If you are not yet a member, or have not made a contribution for 2020, please make an online donation at our secure website, spoffordlakeassociation.org or send a check to PO Box 177, Spofford, NH 03462. Remember, your donations are tax-deductible. Thank you in advance for your support.
With best regards,
Bayard Tracy, President, Spofford Lake Association