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Previous SLA Home pages and member emails

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Spring Brings Progress on many Fronts

May 3, 2024--Boat Ramp Parking Lot Construction:  Fortunately, Mother Nature cooperated and work went off as scheduled.  The bulk of the work has been completed.  Finishing touches will be done in the coming weeks.  The parking lot is available for use.

Lake Hosts: Our Lake Host team will take up their post at the boat ramp beginning on Memorial Day weekend.  Four of the 2023 crew will return and will be joined by 3 new recruits.  

Water Quality Sampling:  Our volunteers are already hard at it with the first test of the season on April 9 for Spring turnover.  Other sampling events are scheduled for May 28, July 30, August 27, and September 24.  Give a big    to the team when you see them on the water or in the watershed.   

Muck Management:  We urge you to follow the efforts of lake lover Michael Gold and remove the detritus that has accumulated on your beach.  Leaving it to rot at the shoreline, or blowing leaves and grass into the Lake, only adds to our phosphorous problem.  

Lake Level:  The boards are currently set at 16 inches.  The lake level was 18.25" on May 2.  The Town’s goal is 14 inches.  The SLA Lake Water Levelwebpage will be updated in time for the next Gazette. 

Feathered Friend Update:  In mid-April, our local amateur experts have spotted as many as 4 loons, though more recently only 2 have been seen and heard.  Hopefully, they are scouting the island for a suitable nesting space.  

Welcome to the newest member of the Spofford family.  Our resident eagle observer, Lee Brockman, spotted the adult eagles with at least one eaglet on May 1. 

Invasive Species:  Many thanks to the Board of Selectmen for once again allocating $10,000 to the Town’s Spofford Lake Control and Remediation of Invasive Species Expendable Trust Fund.  That brings to $50,000 the total value of the Trust.  

Chesterfield Revitalization/Brownfield Site:  While Town residents approved funds, the Chesterfield Revitalization Group is pleased to advise that rather than using those monies, NH DES is now going to fully fund the Phase II final testing assessment of the brownfield site on Route 9A, i.e., the former Spofford garage, Electrosonics, and Pierce’s Mill.  Pending results, DES will then move forward with a Phase III remediation plan.  The project is expected to take 6-8 weeks once contractors have been confirmed. 

Tidbits:

     Farmer’s markets:  Brattleboro market is open for the season. Chesterfield will open on May 25. 

     John’s Way:  Ground has been broken by one homeowner at Johns’s Way, aka the old Spofford Hall location.  Perhaps we will see a finished home by the end of the season. Good luck!

     Ware’s Grove Clean-up: Volunteers are needed on May 11 at 9am to spruce up the beach.  Please take a rake and gloves.

Wishing an early but very Happy Mother’s Day to our readers.  

Happy Spring! 🌹🌼  The Spofford Lake Association

Boat Ramp Parking Lot Repairs, New Privacy Policy, Annual Meeting Date is Set

April 13, 2024--Boat Ramp Parking Lot Construction:  Work is set to begin, weather permitting, on April 22 to address collapsing retention drains.  Fingers crossed that the work will be completed by the end of the week.  For the storage of equipment and materials, it is expected that the parking area will be closed.  Ware’s Grove will be available for your parking needs.  Please pay attention to all posted signs and to any workers or Lake Hosts that might be in the area.  

SLA Website Privacy Policy: The SLA has recently engaged the firm Termly to help us manage our compliance with data privacy requirements.  A number of new policies were put into place in mid/late March. When you next visit the SLA website, you will be asked to establish your cookie preferences, much like you do on all other websites.  Please visit our new policy center and take some time to familiarize yourself with these new policies.  

Be aware that the SLA only shares information with two outside sources, Affinipay and Google Analytics.  Affinipay processes online membership subscriptions and event payments, e.g., annual meeting tickets.  Google Analytics tells us, in a non-customer-specific way, about traffic on the website and the types of devices (e.g., phone, table) accessing content.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us

SLA Board Meetings:  The dates for 2024 Board Meetings have been set for the second Monday of each month during the season.  The dates can be found on our Board Meetings page.  A hearty welcome to Dianne Champion who will represent the Spofford Yacht Club at SLA meetings. 

Become a LakeSmart Business Partner:  The SLA is working hard to remediate runoff and assure a healthy lake.  An important part of this process is making sure there are businesses you can trust to do work in a lake-friendly way.  NH LAKES is looking for more service providers in Cheshire County that understand the value of clean and healthy lakes to our environment, community, and economy.  Why not suggest that your current landscaper, septic pumper or inspector, or snow removal team explore how becoming a LakeSmart Service Partner might set them apart from others in the field.   For more information, visit NH LAKES or email the program coordinator.  

Worsening Dissolved Oxygen / Internal Phosphorus Loading:  Last month we reported (see the Archive) on the results of the updated Lake Loading Response model.  It identified a dramatic increase in internal phosphorus loading.  While the SLA and Town are working hard to resolve systemic culprits of stormwater runoff, homeowners too can pitch in to help us re-balance the Lake.  Here are 6 things to do this Spring: 

  • Remove from the shoreline/beaches any plant matter that has accumulated over the winter months.  Decaying leaves only add to the phosphorous problem.
  • Skip man-made lawn fertilizer.  Adopt a lake-friendly approach by using lawn clippings.
  • Ditch dyed (e.g., red or brown) mulch.  Use undyed wood chips instead. 
  • Use native landscaping plants wherever possible.  Their roots systems are more robust and provide better soil filtration.  
  • Direct drains to slowly disperse water into rocky or vegetated areas.
  • Add rain barrels to capture the Spring showers for later use.

Renew Your Membership in 2024:  It’s time to renew your membership.  To do so online, click here.  If you prefer to send a check, our mailing address is; The Spofford Lake Association, PO Box 177, Spofford NH 03462.  Thank you.  We very much appreciate your continuing support.

In 2023, SLA received a number of matching employer donations.  Will your employer match your personal donation to the SLA?  Please inquire with your Human Resources department to find out.  Thank you.

SLA Store:  Spring is in the air and it’s time to freshen your wardrobe.  Show your Spofford spirit this summer with a logoed T-shirt, cap, mug, hoodie or even an apron.  

Annual Meeting:  The Annual meeting is set for Saturday, July 27 at the Spofford Yacht Club.  The rain date is Sunday, July 28.  Mark your calendar and keep reading this Gazette for ticketing info. 

Cyanobacteria, NH’s Statewide Strategy:  In February, NH DES held a Zoominar on the State’s Cyanobacteria Action Plan.  Attended by 400 folks, the results of the session have been posted on YouTube.  On Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at 12pm, NHDES will host its third webinar based on the startegies and actions identified in the NH Cyanobacteria Plan: Statewide Strategy.  Click herefor more information about the program and to register for this free Zoominar.

Town Vote: We failed to mention in the last Gazette that Budget Article 36 also passed overwhelmingly.  This article allows the Town to expend monies (up to $10,500) on environmental lawyers to investigate what might be usefully done with the contaminated properties on Route 9A, the former Spofford Garage, Electronics Company, and Pierce’s Mill.

Bass Tournaments:  Eight tournaments will be held this season.  Please refer to our calendar or visit NH Department of Wildlife. 

Vote Results, Boat Ramp Update, Total Phosphorous, and a View from Concord

March 21, 2023--Town Vote Results:  On March 12, the Town vote was held. We are delighted that Town residents approved all three ‘stormwater runoff’ initiatives.  More than 70% of voting residents agreed that managing runoff warranted approval of the three ordinance changes covering pervious paving, surface water management, and driveway permits.  Thank you to all who voted yes.  We appreciate your support.

The SLA also extends its congratulations to the newly-elected members of the Board of Selectmen Barbara Girs and Mary Ewell, who were elected for 1 and 3 year terms, respectively.  Gary Winn (re-elected) will join current members Judy Idlekope and Fran Shippee to form the team of five, an increase of two over the previous team.  

Ice Out Winner:  Congratulations πŸŽ‰ πŸŽ‰ to Kate Eklund, winner of the 2024 SLA Ice Out Lottery.  The official Ice Out Date was March 11.  Kate correctly predicted that the ice would be out pretty early this year.  Her prize is $290.00. 

Boat Ramp Parking Lot Update: Despite the hiccup in scheduling last fall, we are pleased to advise that preliminary construction is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 22.  It is expected to last for four days. The start date and duration are, of course, weather dependent.  During this time, boaters may park their cars and trailers at Ware's Grove.  This work is funded by a 319 stormwater runoff grant secured by the SLA.  

Water Quality VLAP Test Results:  The 2023 VLAP (NH Voluntary Lake Assessment Program) is in.  The results are generally consistent with prior years, but there are some worrying trends in the areas of conductivity, chloride levels, transparency, and Total Phosphorous (TP).  

Many important parameters are classified as “Good.”  Bacteria levels at the beaches and the boat ramp were well below NH State standards.  Average Chlorophyl-A levels (a measure of algal growth) were less than the State median; water clarity was generally good; and pH levels were in the desirable range.  

On the worrisome front were conductivity and chloride levels.  Both were higher than the state median levels.  Historical trend analysis indicates significantly worsening conductivity levels since monitoring began.  Typical contributors to conductivity and chloride levels are road salt, faulty septic systems, and water softeners.  Elevated TP has been consistently detected at several tributary sampling stations and at the Deep Spot.  

The level of TP, the most important parameter affecting long-term health, is a particular concern.  Total phosphorous is a “limiting element” for plant and algal growth.  Excessive TP can lead to harmful algae blooms such as cyanobacteria and accelerated plant growth which, in turn, consumes dissolved oxygen in the Lake thereby directly stressing the ability of important fish species to survive.  

The 2018 Spofford Lake Watershed Management Plan (WMP), prepared by FB Environmental, contained a Lake Loading Response Model (LLRM).  The LLRM determines the major sources of phosphorous in the Lake and predicts future loads under various development scenarios.  The 2018 LLRM report qualified the findings due to limited sampling data.  The SLA supported by the Town, has since funded a significantly more robust Water Quality Management Program (WQMP) to collect additional data.  With this new and additional data (2014-2023), the LLRM was updated in 2023 to create a “LLRM 2.0.”  The results show a significant increase in the estimated internal TP loading.  Specifically, the updated LLRM estimated three-fold increase in internal phosphorous loading from 14 kg/yr (6%) in 2017 to 42 kg/yr (~19%).

LLRM 2.0 now estimates that watershed runoff combined with baseflow contributes 46% of the TP load to the Lake, followed by atmospheric deposition (20%), internal loading (19%), septic system (12%), and waterfowl (3%).  

Here’s a quick primer on the process of internal phosphorus loading and its impacts on Spofford Lake:

  • Due to soil erosion and runoff, the volume of phosphorus-laden sediment at the bottom of the Lake has increased significantly over the past four decades.
  • Under normal (aerobic) conditions where DO levels are  > 1mg/l,the phosphorus would remain chemically bonded to the sediment thereby having limited impact.
  • During summer months, the dissolved oxygen at the lower levels of the Lake is consumed by plant and aquatic life.  Generally, by August, the DO concentrations at the deepest portions of the Lake sink to <1mg/L.  When this happens, the chemical bond attaching the phosphorus to the sediment is no longer strong enough and phosphorus is released into the Lake.  This is referred to as internal loading.
  • Internal loading is a significant source of phosphorus (~19%) for Spofford Lake and can contribute to the development of harmful algal blooms, e.g., cyanobacteria.

FBE has recommended changes to our program, including a further expansion of our water testing program. The SLA Water Quality team and the Town Watershed Committee are reviewing the suggestions.  Stay tuned for their decisions.

Pinnacle Springs Stormwater Runoff Management:  The planning phase of the project is underway and includes a physical inventory of the properties in the area.  Owners may receive a request from the civil engineering firm, Horsley Witten, for permission to walk and note the properties' characteristics. 

Lake-Impacting Initiatives in Concord:  Here’s an update, drawn largely from NH LAKES on the status of various bills in the NH legislature.  For details, check out https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ and https://legiscan.com/NH.  You still have time to express your positions on these bills.  Contact our state representatives:

Michael Abbott, Michael.Abbott@leg.state.nh.us or 603-336-7090

Cathryn Harvey, Cathryn.Harvey@leg.state.nh.us or 603-363-4424

and our state senator:

Donovan Fenton, Donovan.Fenton@leg.state.nh.us or 603-271-7875

Summary Updates

HB=House Bill; SB=Senate Bill; RRDC=Resource, Recreation and Development Committee; DES=Department of Environmental Services; SENRC=Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

--HB 1301 would enable a group of 25 or more residents or property owners of a town in which a lake, pond, or river is located to petition the NH Department of Safety to restrict or prohibit wakesurfing on the lake, pond, or river, or portion of the waterbody.

The RRDC considered several motions that ended in tie votes so this bill will go to the House Floor with no recommendation, wherein the bill and an amendment will be discussed and voted on by the full House of Representatives.

Comment: This bill is consistent with the current petition and public hearing process available for other uses of our lakes.  If enacted, it would give the residents and property owners of Chesterfield the means to seek sensible restrictions for wakesurfing on Spofford Lake.  Wakesurfing poses a significant safety and environmental threat when conducted in shallow areas and/or too close to the shore.  Scientific studies indicate that wakesurfing is inappropriate within 500 feet of the shore and in waters less than 20 feet deep.

--HB 1390 would limit the operation of wakeboats and their use in wakesports on public waters of the state outside of a wakesports zone defined as at least 50 acres of water that is 500 feet from shore and more than 20 feet deep.  The RRDC considered several motions that failed but ultimately recommended the bill as Ought to Pass with an amendment providing a 300 foot setback, minimum 50 acres, but no depth requirement.  The bill did not go on the consent calendar and will be discussed on the House Floor.

Comment: Scientific studies indicate that to preclude or otherwise mitigate wakesurfing’s damaging effects, it should only be conducted at least 500 feet from the shore and at depths of at least 20 feet. While a 300 foot setback is a step in the right direction, it is not sufficient.

--SB 431 would restrict wakesurfing on a public body of water, wherein no person could engage in wakesurfing on a body of water that is less than 50 acres in size or within 200 feet of a shoreline, dock, pier, boathouse, or other boats or on a portion of a body of water with a width, measured from the nearest shoreline to the second nearest shoreline, of less than 400 feet.

The Senate Transportation Committee has not yet made a recommendation.

Comment: A 200 foot setback is inadequate.  As indicated above, the science supports limiting wakesurfing to areas at least 500 feet from the shoreline and having a depth of at least 20 feet.

--HB 1103 would remove certain impediments to DES’s ability to seek penalties and fines for proven violations of the Shoreland Protection Act.  There is no change in the size of the fees for penalties.  

The RRDC unanimously recommended the bill as Ought to Pass and the bill was placed on the House Consent calendar.  It is now before the SENCR. 

--HB 1143, would allow the DES to monitor, manage, and reduce the risk of cyanobacteria blooms and directs DES to reduce, control, and prevent the nutrient inputs which cause cyanobacteria blooms.  Watch the January 2024 DES webinar on the current NH Cyanobacteria Plan here.

RRDC recommended Ought to Pass with Amendment and the bill as amended was placed on the House consent calendar. It has been referred to the SENRC.

--HB 1229 would require buyers, lessees, and transferees of shoreland property to acknowledge a minimum requirements document for compliance with the Shoreland Protection Act, wherein the buyers, lessees, and transferees would need to acknowledge and sign that they have read and understood the document.

The RRDC referred the bill for interim study and as such was placed on the House consent calendar.

--HB 1304 would bring New Hampshire into compliance with federal regulations concerned with the collection of boat registration fees.  Passage of this bill would protect federal funding for Marine Patrol and provide NH with a way to collect fees to support critical programs, including for aquatic invasive species prevention and management.

The Transportation Committee recommended as Ought to Pass with Amendment, the bill was consented to by the House, and then referred to the Finance Committee.

Comment: There is an effort on the federal level to change the Federal regulations such that the change would bring NH’s current method for collecting boat registration fees into compliance therewith, thus rendering this bill moot.

--HB 1360 as amended in Committee would give the Department of Safety emergency authority to establish no wake zones in the public and coastal waters for up to 10 days due to extreme weather or environmental conditions.

RRDC recommended Ought to Pass with amendment and the bill as amended was placed on the House consent calendar.

--HB 1409 would repeal the prohibition for the overnight mooring of houseboats.

RRDC recommended as Inexepedient to Legislate and the House voted to indefinitely postpone (i.e., the bill was killed).

Suggestions?:  We are looking for your ideas on topics that might be covered in an upcoming Lake Lover Gazette.  Please email us your thoughts.  Thanks.

Reducing Runoff.  Your Vote is Needed on March 12

March 2, 2024--Managing Stormwater Runoff.  A View from the Ballot:  The Town of Chesterfield will conduct its annual Town Vote on Tuesday, March 12.  

Five Zoning amendments are on the ballot, three of which directly seek to reduce stormwater runoff, the largest controllable source of pollutants entering our protected streams, river, and Spofford Lake. 

The Watershed Committee and Planning Board recommend approval of Zoning Amendments 1,2, and 5. 

These Zoning amendments, represent two years of work by the Watershed Committee and Planning Board and focus on three areas of town zoning regulation:

Updating ordinances to allow the use of new technologies that help control flow of stormwater, i.e., pervious pavement.

Adding surface water management regulations to single family residential construction that is similar to those required for commercial properties and sub-divisions.  And 

Changing the driveway permit to ensure adequate drainage from the driveway. 

As our readers are aware, the SLA has, over the last few years, undertaken many initiatives to manage the impact of stormwater runoff into our beloved lake.  Stormwater grants have been successfully sought and executed to reduce runoff flows via homeowner properties and the Town and private beaches.  The SLA has also worked closely with the Town to secure a grant focusing on the runoff originating from the Pinnacle Springs area.  

These proposed amendments to Town ordinances would complement the work already undertaken, and help address runoff before it starts.

You can review these issues on our Government Proposals webpage, and you can review the entire ballot here.

We urge you to VOTE YES on Zoning amendments 1,2, and 5.  

2024 Ice Out Lottery Ending Soon

February 22, 2024--Get your tickets now, the ice will be gone before you know it! 

The last time to purchase Ice Out Lottery tickets will be Thursday, February 29, at midnight. 

While 50% of the accumulated pot goes to the winner, the balance helps support the SLA’s many vital water quality programs.  

The 2022 winner chose April 2nd as the date on which the last of the ice disappeared and won $290.  

The official Ice Out date will be the first date on which there is no visible ice anywhere on the lake surface, at 2:00 PM.  If there is more than one entry for the winning date, a single winner will be selected in a random drawing conducted by the Ice Out Lottery Committee.  

If no ticket is sold for the actual ice out date, the closest date for which a ticket has been purchased, following the actual date, will be recognized as the winning date.

Click here and get your tickets now. 

Improving the Boat Ramp Facilities

February 4, 2024--We are pleased to send you the first Lake Lover Gazette (LLG) of the new year.  Here’s the update:  

Ice Out Lottery:  After a serious cold snap, Spofford Lake is now fully frozen and maybe you too!  Interested in trying your hand at the 2024 jackpot?  The winner will need to guess the date on which the last vestiges of ice have disappeared and will receive 50% of the pot.  The other 50% remains with the SLA.  Last year’s winner walked away with $290.00.  Visit our Ice Out Lottery webpage to purchase a $10.00 ticket and to view the complete rules of the game.  You gotta be in it to win it! 

Improvements at/near South Shore Road and Route 9A.  

Boat Ramp vs Boat Ramp Parking:  Two separate projects are being undertaken at/near the boat ramp, the first is stormwater runoff control at the parking lot and the second is modifications to the boat ramp.  Here are the differences:

Boat Ramp.  In December, we announced the generous $80,000 donation of Ron Coburn for the purpose of improving/replacing the boat ramp.  While the boat ramp is owned by the State, the Town is responsible for its maintenance.  Along with Mr. Coburn’s donation, the Chesterfield Select Board has agreed to use up to $100,000 of the Town's ARPA (America Rescue Plan Act of 2021) monies to cover the costs of improving the ramp.  

The Select Board has appointed a committee of three individuals, Chris Oot, Ron Coburn, and Bayard Tracy to spearhead this effort. Work is in the fact-finding stage.  As this is a public committee, all meetings will be posted on the town website.  

The committee could use the help of other volunteers, particularly those having engineering and/or project management experience.  To inquire about what is involved or to offer your time and talents, just e-mail us.  

Boat Ramp Parking Lot: The parking lot, owned by the Town, is a stormwater control project.  It will be partially funded by a 319 stormwater runoff grant secured by the SLA.  Section 319 grants are made possible by the US EPA’s Clean Water Act and administered by NH DES.   It is expected that this work, i.e., repairing the collapsing retention drains, will be undertaken in phases in the spring and fall. 

Town Building and Zoning Ordinances: The Watershed Committee and Town Planning Board are recommending three ordinance changes to the Town voters in March.

A.  Pervious Paving Systems: The new ordinance would define pervious paving systems.  With approval, properly installed systems would be allowed to increase lot coverage to 25% from 20%.    

B.  Driveway Permits:  The new ordinance would require that driveways permits also be approved by the building inspector and that designs ensure continued adequate drainage at the public road and support any additional flows from the driveway.  

C.  Surface Water:  The new ordinance states that surface water resulting from residential construction shall not cause increased flooding or unreasonable deposits of stormwater runoff or sediment onto adjacent properties, protected water bodies, or properties further downstream in the drainage basin.   

Members of the Watershed Committee will discuss and answer questions on these ordinance changes at the 'Meet the Candidates' meeting at 4:00p on February 25 at the Town Hall.  

Chesterfield Revitalization:  A group of citizens is exploring a building revitalization project in Spofford Village.  The next public meeting will be held on Saturday, February 10, 10:30a-12 noon @ Town Hall.  This is a good chance to meet the committee members and hear what progress has been made so far.  

Legislative Update:  Lake-related Bills in the Current Session:  According to NH LAKES, there are over 100 bills under consideration that relate to bodies of water.  Those listed below are among the ones designated as priority by NH LAKES.  The status and full text of these bills can be found here.  SLA members wishing to express their views should contact their local legislator(s) and make their views known.

- HB 1304 – Vessel Registration.  This bill would bring NH into compliance with federal rules relating to the collection of boat registration fees.   Current NH procedures for registration of boats do not comply, and continued non-compliance could jeopardize federal funding of NH Marine Patrol.  The bill would also provide a way for NH to continue to collect fees to support critical programs including the prevention and management of invasive species.

- HB 1103 – Penalties for Violations of the Shoreland Protection Act.  This bill would modify the conditions under which DES can seek civil penalties and administrative fines for violations of the Shoreland Protection Act.  The proposed modifications would make it easier and more efficient for DES to seek penalties and fines, but would not change the amount of a fine.

- HB 1229 – Purchase & Sale of Properties Abutting Public Waters.  The bill would require buyers, lessees, and transferees of shoreland property to sign and acknowledge a document describing the minimum requirements for compliance with the Shoreland Protection Act. 

- HB 1143 – Cyanobacteria Blooms.  The bill allows DES to monitor, manage, and reduce the risk of cyanobacteria blooms.  You can also click this link to register for the NHDES Webinar entitled, "Overview of the NH Statewide Cyanobacteria Plan"

- HB 1113 – Shoreland Septic Systems.  Present law requires a site assessment prior to the sale of developed waterfront property within 200 feet of the shore.  This bill would increase the distance to 250 feet, wherein if the system is not a state-approved system, or is older than 20 years, it must be evaluated by a septic designer.  If the system is in failure, state and local health officers must be notified and the system replaced prior to sale.

- HB 1293 – Phosphorus Fertilizers.  Under the proposed bill, no lawn fertilizer sold at retail can include phosphorus unless it is being used to establish a new lawn, for lawn repair, or if a soil test indicates phosphorus is needed.

- HB 1301 – Wakesurfing.  The bill would permit a group of 25 or more residents or property owners in a town in which a lake, pond, or river is located, to petition the Department of Safety to restrict or prohibit wakesurfing on the waterbody.  The proposed bill is consistent with the petition and public hearing process already available regarding various other uses of NH waterbodies.

Membership Lapsed Notification:  Did you attend the SLA 2023 Annual Meeting?  Do you pay your membership dues online?  If so, you should be aware that the SLA’s fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.  This means that all memberships have their status changed to “lapsed” on December 31 each year.  Memberships then remain “lapsed” until they are renewed.  Therefore, you can get the most out of your membership by renewing early in the year!  Conversely, renewing in mid-December will mean that your membership is only “Active” for a couple of weeks.   Help us get our year off to a good financial start, get the most out of your membership dues, and avoid those annoying “membership lapsed” notices by renewing early in the year.  Simply click here to renew for 2024.   Of course just e-mail us if you have other membership questions. 



The President's Year End Message

December 21, 2023--I start this brief note with a reminder that the Solstice is once again upon us and warmer, longer days are coming!

Our last email recounted the good work done by our water testing, boat inspection, weed watch, Pierce Island, stormwater grant, and Town committee volunteers. Their efforts help us achieve our mission "To protect, enhance and sustain the ecological, environmental and recreational character of Spofford Lake and the surrounding watershed."

2023 was a very good year for the SLA.  Once again, we found no invasives and dodged toxic cyanobacteria blooms, which have become increasing prevalent in New Hampshire's lakes. With a DES/EPA grant, we'll reduce stormwater runoff at two shoreline residential areas and the delayed work at the boat ramp parking lot will go forward next fall. This all very good news! And there is much more.

Earlier in the year, the Town secured a NH Clean Water State  Revolving Fund (CWSRF) planning grant to address stormwater runoff from the Pinnacle Springs ridgeline.  The first planning meeting was held last week with NH DES, Chesterfield, the SLA, Southwest Regional Planning Commission, and the consultants managing the project in attendance. The engineering planning work should be complete by June 2025. 

The Chesterfield Planning Board is working through the Watershed Committee's recommendations. Creating acceptable and enforceable town ordinances is a lengthy and detailed process. I anticipate that Town residents will be asked to vote in March on ordinance changes regarding land coverage, pervious paving, surface water management, and driveway permits. More on these topics in early 2024. 

And finally, I am delighted to announce that we have a plan to repair/refurbish the boat ramp. Because of the generous $80,000 contribution of lakeshore resident, Ron Coburn, the Town has agreed to allocate $100,000 of its ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds.  Together, these sums should cover the estimated costs.  Thank you, Ron.  Without your generosity, this project could not go forward. 

How the project will be managed has yet to be determined.  But, we are looking for volunteers with expertise in project management and/or engineering projects such as this.   If you can help and/or have questions about what might be involved, please don’t hesitate contact us at info@spoffordlakeassociation.org.

Indeed, 2023 has been an excellent year not only for Spofford Lake but also for the Town as a whole.  Thanks to our members, neighbors, supporters, and lovers of Spofford Lake.  

One final note, if you have not yet renewed your 2023 membership, please do so before December 31 as the SLA operates on a calendar basis.  We very much appreciate your continued support.  

Best wishes for a happy, safe, and prosperous 2024.  

Bayard Tracy, President, Spofford Lake Association

Watershed Committee Recommendations, It's Time to Renew Your Membership and more

November  17, 2023--This issue of the Lake Lover Gazette covers a wide range of topics from the Watershed Committee to water level to the spiny water flea to leaf litter, as well as kudos for all our volunteers.  So here we go:  

Watershed Committee Update:  On October 16, the Town Watershed Committee made recommendations to the Planning Board, focusing on reducing stormwater runoff.  It is the responsibility of the Planning Board to consider these recommendations and fashion possible ordinances.  Any draft ordinance(s) would first be presented at a public hearing (date TBD) and then put to a Town vote in March 2024.  We'll provide more specific information when the Planning Board finishes its work. Parties interested in attending Planning Board or Watershed meetings, please visit the Town’s website for dates/times.

That’s a wrap for the Water Quality Monitoring Team (WQMT):  The WQMTconducted on September 26 its the final NH DES Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLAP) sampling event of the season.  While there is one more SLA sampling activity planned to measure total phosphorus during Fall turnover, this is the time to recognize the WQMT for their great work!

The SLA, along in with the Chesterfield Watershed Committee, NH DES, and FB Environmental has one of the most robust water quality monitoring programs in the state.  Over the 2023 VLAP sampling season, the team conducted four sampling events, each of which requires samples being taken at 31 sampling stations, i.e., 21 tributary stations, 7 beaches, the outlet, the boat launch, and the deep spot.  This year’s program yielded over 600 measurements of important water quality parameters including dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles, total phosphorus, bacteria (E. coli), chloride, pH, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and water clarity.  This data will be invaluable as we work together to better understand, preserve, and protect the water quality of Spofford Lake.

Hats off and a big thank you to all the volunteers from team lead Chris Oot.  Here is the team.

On-lake (Deep Spot) Sampling Team: Team Leader Art Huggins, James Corliss (navigator and data logger), and Harry Compton.

Tributary Sampling Teams: Team Leaders Kelli Hanzalik and Pam Walton with Jeff Scott, Peter Holton, Richard Mellen, and Jeff Paxton.

Transport of Samples to Concord: Susan Campbell and Susan Donahue. 

Lake Hosts:  Not to be outdone by our WQMT, the Spofford Lake Hosts recorded 5,000 boats entries and departures in 2023.  According to team lead, Frank Turner, that is the highest number in the State!  

Alas, our Lake Hosts will have a new invasive to contend with as the spiny water flea has been confirmed in Lake Winnipesaukee.  The tiny animal or eggs were probably transported to Lake Winni on recreational or fishing gear or in the live well or bilge of a boat.  There are no treatments to control this species once it is established.  Therefore, the best, and only management option, is preventing introduction by cleaning, draining, and drying all vessels and recreational gear after leaving a waterbody as required by state law (RSA 487).

Invasive Species aka Weed Watch:  One final survey of the littoral areas of the Lake has been conducted.  The results…NO SIGN OF INVASIVES! 

Here’s a year end note from Weed Watch team lead, Val Starbuck…

“Our beautiful Lake Spofford continues to dodge invasive species thanks to the SLA and town funding for Lake Hosts.  Over 25 amazing volunteers donate their time to learn about and search for any invasives on our shoreline that may have snuck into our waters.  As a lifelong resident/patron of the lake, I am very grateful for all the efforts to keep it free of invasives.  We've had a few scares in the last 5 years, and the Lake Hosts make a "save" most years.  We cannot let our guard down.  I encourage all of you to visit the SLA website to learn more about invasive species and how you can help protect our lake.”  

We are surrounded by other water bodies infested with invasive species, so diligence is key.  Once they take hold, invasive are practically impossible to eradicate.  Prevention is the best course.  To see how other lakes and their residents fare once infested with invasives, just Google "Why Don't We Want Milfoil In Our Lakes?" or check out what happened at Lake Arrowhead, Maine including the impact on property values.  You'll come to understand why we must keep invasives out!  

Stormwater Runoff (Section 319) Grants:  Team lead, Bruce Soltys, is pleased to report the Lake Drive project mentioned in the last Gazette is now complete.  Please see the photos of work in action. Thank you to the homeowners for their partnership. Linfield Lane is also complete, but no photos are available at this time. Homeowners interested in possibly participating in any future grant project, please send us an email.

Winterizing the Lake:  The first snow has arrived and the boards have been pulled at the dam.  The water level will soon be, if not already, at its ‘off-season’ level, i.e., 30 inches below the top of the abutment.  As is the custom, the jersey blocks will be placed at the boat ramp in late December.  Welcome winter. β†

Leaf Litter: Here are some suggestions on managing leaves in a lake-friendly way.  

‘Tis the Season of Giving:  One SLA member recently messaged us with "Thanks for all you do. The association is well worth the membership fee."  

For those folks who have yet to renew their membership, you should have received a renewal letter earlier this month.  Thank you for responding as soon as possible.  And if you are not yet a member, and enjoy receiving our updates, please consider joining the SLA by setting up an account and paying online. 

If your employer offers matching contributions, please take the steps necessary for the SLA to benefit from the program and join other SLA members, who have already done so.

Thank you very much for your (ongoing) support. 

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to all.  πŸ¦ƒπŸπŸ¦ƒ

Stormwater Runoff Projects

October 13, 2023--Maintaining and improving water quality is the SLA’s principal goal.  Achieving that goal requires working successfully on many fronts.  In the past, we have reported on our Water Quality Monitoring Program. This Lake Lover Gazette highlights our work on stormwater runoff.

Stormwater Runoff Grant (aka 319 Grant, #2):  

As you are aware, the work at the Route 9A and S. Shore Road (see details below) has been postponed.  Let’s take a step back and provide a more general overviewof the full scope of grant #2.  

Runoff grants are meant to reduce nonpoint source pollution through runoff mitigation and remediation efforts.  We partner closely with the NH DES Watershed Assistance Program (WAP), the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, and FB Environmental.  

Grant 2, valued at $190,000, has four components:

  • 1)  Runoff capture at Route 9A and S. Shore Road and

    2)  3 private properties, one each at the Lake Drive, Linfield Lane, and in Silverdale.  These sites were chosen in consultation with FB Environmental after site surveys were conducted.  All property owners sign agreements that ensure they oversee all work, provide receipts for reimbursement consideration, and agree to maintain the improvements on a going-forward basis.  

    Here is a more detailed look at what is planned for each of these projects:  Runoff capture at Route 9A and S. Shore Road.  Stormwater improvements and erosion control, specifically two bioretention basins and repair/stabilization of the existing outfall.

    It should be noted that this work only addresses drainage issues at/near the boat ramp and not the ramp itself or issues, e.g., berms, in the water. 

    Lake Drive.  Installation of:

    • rubber razors to direct stormwater off sloped gravel roads and into wooded areas for filtration, 
    • dry well to help infiltrate runoff into the ground, 
    • catch basin filters to filter sediment and other pollutants. 

    Linfield Lane.  Installation of 

    • seven check dams (aka stone berms) built across a swale/drainage way used to reduce water flow velocity.  Think of these as speed bumps on a paved road. 

    Silverdale.  Installation of:

    • check dams, 
    • stabilized stream outlet to secure soil and nutrients in place, sediment fore-bays to intercept the initial force of incoming stormwater runoff allowing for larger sediment and debris to settle out, 
    • rain garden to help retain stormwater runoff to promote infiltration prior to reaching the Lake.

    Bruce Soltys, SLA team lead for runoff grants, reports that the Linfield Lane project is complete and Lake Drive work should be done soon.  The Silverdale and Route 9A/S. Shore Road work will be tackled in Spring 2024.  

    This is the second 319 stormwater runoff grant.  The first, obtained in 2019 with a project value of $130,000 targeted runoff at Camp Spofford, the Spofford Yacht Club, B&K Club, Family Rec Beach, and several private residences.  

    ‘Pinnacle Springs’ Runoff Planning Grant:  The grant has been approved by the appropriate state authorities. Its scope is limited to planning for any future improvements.  Engineering planning work should begin shortly. 

    Water Quality Monitoring Program: The full 12-person team went out on September 26 for its last session in 2023.  A group of 3 will conduct one last sample at fall turnover. 

    One upside of this year’s incredibly rainy summer was good water flow at the 31 sampling stations.  Last year, a few stations were so dry that samples were impossible.  Once the season’s samples are compiled by the State, we’ll receive the annual VLAP report in early 2024.  

    Watershed Development and Water Quality:  Now that the go-go times of summer have passed, perhaps you have a bit of time on your hands.  Watch and listen to FB Environmental’s review of Spofford Lake, including its helpful suggestions for homeowners.

    Loons of Spofford:  Several of you have shared photographs showing groups of 4 or even 5 loons cruising around.  We checked with the Loon Preservation Committee to learn that this is not unusual.  Perhaps ‘our’ loons have northern relatives stopping by for a well-deserved rest en route to their winter-feeding grounds.  Who would question a decision to visit Spofford?  And maybe some the relatives will consider making our lovely lake their permanent home in 2024.  

    Get Ready for the Cold:  Check out the winter gear in the SLA Store.  We’ve got hoodies, sweatpants, long sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, knit caps, and mugs for your morning coffee and coco for the kids.  

    Boat Launch Stormwater Runoff Control and Lake Level Drawn Down

    September 22, 2023--Sad Boating Day:  It’s always a sad day when the boats come out of the water for the season.  This year your boat may need to leave even earlier than normal, as work on the ramp is scheduled to begin on October 10, weather permitting.

    For those looking to launch boats, there will be very limited parking as construction equipment will occupy several spaces in the lot.  

    This project is part of the second Stormwater Runoff Control (319) Grant secured by the SLA, and work is expected to last up to seven days.  

    Partial closure of the ramp and parking lot during construction is necessary for the safety of the public and the construction crews.  β›”️ βš οΈ   Watch for and obey signage in the area while this work is being done.

    Lake Hosts and Lake Level Draw Down:  Say au revoir to the lake hosts.  Their official last day is October 6.  Lake draw down begins right after the Columbus Day weekend.  

    Tourism and Spofford Lake Update: The SLA, with help of the Chesterfield Historical Society, has updated the SLA’s Tourism web page.   

    This page previously stated that the Lake Spofford Hotel, whose owner was Abe Jacobson, “was restricted to individuals of the Jewish faith.”  It was brought to our attention by Mr. Jacobson’s grandson that the hotel had many non-Jewish guests.  Thus, the statement has been corrected.  We apologize for the error in the original text. 

    Water Quality Update Video:  Now that the hubbub of the season has passed, spend 6 minutes watching this video on Spofford Lake Water Quality.  

    Marine Patrol:  Some have asked why we see so little of the Marine Patrol.  Here’s a bit of insight from the Laconia Daily Sun

    Autumn is in the air. 

    Limited Access to The Boat Launch and Boat Ramp, and Managing Runoff

    September 2, 2023--Happy Labor Day to you.  

    As Labor Day is the unofficial close of the summer season, we start with an important announcement from the Town regarding the boat ramp and removal of boats for the season. 

    Limited Access to Boat Launch and Boat Parking:  Drainage work is scheduled to begin at the boat launch after October 10.  Work is expected to last up to seven days.  Weather conditions may change the schedule.  This project is part of the second 319 Runoff Grant secured by the SLA. 🚀

    Be aware that only one lane of the ramp will be available and construction equipment will likely occupy spaces in the parking lot.  Partial closure of the ramp and parking lot during construction is necessary for the safety of the public and the construction crews.  ⛔️ ⚠️ Watch for and obey signage in the area while this work is being done.

    With only one lane at the boat ramp, delays are possible.  Bear that in mind when making plans to remove your boat for the season.  Lake level draw down also begins right after Columbus Day weekend.  

    Pinnacle Spring Runoff Grants:  More good news on managing runoff.  The Town of Chesterfield application for an US EPA-funded State-administered grant has been approved.  The Clean Water State Revolving Fund $100,000 planning grant will focus on mitigating runoff from Pinnacle Springs Road to the Bennet Road area, which then flows across Route 63 and into the Lake.  

    YouTube:  The Spofford Lake Association now has its own YouTube channel!  It already houses our two published videos, Water Quality update and Linking Watershed Development with Water Quality.  You can also access our YouTube channel from the header on all website pages. 

    Managing the Muck with Fall Cleanup: Spofford has had a long wet growing season β˜”οΈ so waterside plants maybe be exceptionally lush.  Plant material that makes its way into the water will create muck in your front yard.  

    Here’s a tip from a fellow lake resident.  At the end of the summer, tidy up your shoreline by cutting plants low to the ground and dispose of away from the water, maybe even compost.  By doing so, you prevent them from being blown into the Lake with the autumn winds. πŸ’¨   Also, make sure you (or your landscaper) do not blow leaves or clippings into the Lake.  They just add to the muck.  

    Remember DES does not allow the removal of plants from the Lake.  

    Foam on the Water:  Several members have inquired about the bubbles (or foam) on the water that appear from time to time. Here is some info on the origins of that phenomenon. 

    Congratulations to Pam Walton:  Spofford’s own, Pam Walton was singled out as a Lake Champion by NH LAKES for her tireless work for Spofford Lake and all lakes in New Hampshire.  Way to go, Pam! πŸŽ‰

    Until the next edition of the Lake Lover Gazette, enjoy!

    Watch the Watershed Development and Water Quality presentation

    August 22, 2023--Protecting Spofford Lake:  Linking Watershed Development and Water Quality:  On August 17, Laura Diemer, Certified Lake Manager at FBE Environmental provided an insightful story on Spofford Lake, its watershed development and its water quality. According to Diemer, the “new normal is the now normal. Climate change is here.”  

    One SLA member participant wrote: “It was an excellent presentation.  Although I have been a summer resident since the 1940s and moved here year round in the 1980s, I learned tonight how endangered the water quality of the lake is now! … I appreciate the work being done.  Thank you!”

    Diemer urged the Town of Chesterfield and the SLA to continue its work to reduce runoff and rebuild the Lake’s resilience and diversity.  She noted that because Spofford Lake is bowl, surrounded by hills, phosphorous and other sediments necessarily flow into it.  Moreover, as Spofford has a low flush rate of five years, unhealthy sediments stay longer in the Lake. 

    She remarked that three NH waterbodies, Tucker Pond, Lake Kanasatka, and Long Pond have already hit tipping points with Long Pond undergoing an expensive restoration process.  And the recent climate-change induced flash flood at Swansey Lake is likely to permanently and negatively change the lake’s ecology.  Prevention, she noted is a far better than restoration.  

    View the entire presentation by visiting our Home page or Lake Water Quality page.   

    Swamped Kayaker:  Motor boaters please keep a safe distance, i.e., 150 feet from kayakers.  We have had a report of a motorboat having come so close to a kayak that the wake filled the kayak with several inches of water.   While unharmed, the kayaker was totally soaked, and shaken enough to report the incident to us.  Please give kayakers some space

    Regards,

    The Spofford Lake Association

    August Update

    August 9, 2023--Can you believe it, August is already upon us? Here’s the update.

    Watershed Development and Water Quality:  Join us on August 17 @ 7pm for the last of our Zoominar series.  Laura Diemer, Certified Lake Manager of FB Environmental will discuss what makes quality lake water and what can be done to assure that Spofford’s water does not become imperiled.  A live link to the session can be found on www.SpoffordLakeAssociation.org

    Chesterfield Watershed Committee: The Watershed Committee, at the BoS' direction, has presented recommendations to the Planning Board for consideration.  The goal is to create a framework which reduces stormwater runoff and therefore sustains and improves the Lake's water quality. The next Planning Board meeting is August 21st. 

    Loons:  Speaking of Zoominars, the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) sent along this YouTube primer, which you can find on our Loon page.  Also, five loons have been seen on the Lake recently.  Perhaps a new pair is scouting out Spofford for residency next year!. 

    Thanks to our Volunteers:  The Water Quality and Weed Watch teams have completed their work for July.  Thanks so much for your efforts.  The Water Quality folks will be back out on August 29.  If you see them, give them a thumbs up.  

    Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Update:  We have been advised that Bartlett Tree Experts technician, reachable at 603-716-5477, is licensed to treat trees around the Lake.   He can provide ballpark pricing, without in-person inspection, when provided with the number of infected trees, their distance from the water, and their diameters 4 Β½ feet off the ground.  

    Community Events:  The Town of Chesterfield will hold a Craft Fair on Saturday, August 12 from 9am to noon.  Visit the Farmer’s Market first and then pick up an item or two.  The holidays are coming.  

    Membership:  We’ve had a very strong response to our recent membership donation reminder.  If you haven’t renewed for 2023, please do so as soon as possible by either sending a check to SLA, PO Box 177, Spofford, NH 03462, or  visiting the membership renewal page on our website.  Thanks so much. 

    Results of the Annual Meeting and Membership Dues Time

    July 22, 2023--Here’s what is happening around the Lake:

    Results of the Annual Meeting (AM):  Mother Nature spared us from the recent downpours and the sun came out in time for the Annual Meeting.  Highlights and photos of the session below: 

    • Anton Schoolwerth and Lyle Foley were lauded for their many years of service to the SLA.  Thank you so much, Teun and Lyle!
    • Bayard Tracy and Susan Donohue were re-elected President and Secretary, respectively.
    • Kelli Hanzalik was voted in as Vice President and presided over the meeting in Tracy’s absence. 
    • Chris Oot has joined the Board of Directors.
    • Peter Holton has also joined the Board and will serve as Treasurer. 
    • Anton presented the financial report and Kelli then reported on the ‘state of the lake.’  She commended the audience to watch a six-minute video on the water quality of Spofford Lake. 
    • Stormwater runoff is the largest, controllable source of Lake pollutants.  A grant has been secured to manage runoff from Route 9 at South Shore Road.  The target completion date is December 2024.  Another runoff grant, this one secured by the Town, focusses on runoff from Pinnacle Springs Road into the Lake.  This grant awaits the Governor’s signature. 
    • Homeowners too were encouraged to do their part, for example:

    -- Control runoff using the principle of “slow, cool, disperse, 

    --Use native plants to capture and control runoff at the shoreline and will help hold any sand in place,

    -- Use a salt alternative in your water treatment system, 

    --Take the LakeSmart Assessment to become more lake-friendly.  For an overview of the program, visit NH LAKES., and
    -- Follow Smart Boating guidance.

    The full presentation can be found here.  In closing, the SLA wishes to extend its hearty appreciation to the team of volunteers who made the AM a great success. 

    Zoominar, Watershed Development and  Water Quality:  Laura Diemer of FB Environmental, partner of the  and the SLAwill help us  are together to understand the relationship between watershed development and water quality.  here .  Join us  Laura Diemer of FB E will join  us on Thursday, August 17 @ 7pm to hear discusswhat we've learned so far.  The login details for this Zoom session can be found in the sidebar.  

    High Water Brings Hazards:  Capt. Brendan Davey with the Department of Safety said his agency is advising boaters to take it slow, as highwater levels can bring unusual hazards…the high water can hide rock outcroppings or other hazards that are normally visible, but now are hiding just below the water surface.

    “We have been encouraging the boating public to be very careful, be scrupulous of throwing big wakes particularly in tight areas,” Davey said. The law remains the same, restricting boaters to headway speed within 150 feet of any other boat, shoreline or fixed object, but Davey said current conditions warrant a doubling of that distance."  

    Be Careful Out There.  Whale and Little Whale Rocks are submerged, as are other typically visible rock outcroppings. 

    It's Time to Pay Your Membership Dues:  In July, we normally typically send you a newsletter summarizing the SLA’s work and include a membership dues envelope so you can renew your membership.  This year we did not produce a newsletter.  Why? Because we believe that this very publication, the semi-monthly Lake Lover Gazette, keeps you well informed.  By not producing the newsletter, we save both human labor and dollars on postage and printing.  Instead of sending newsletters, we have contacted SLA members who have not yet renewed for 2023 while at the same time inviting new residents to join our community.  We hope you like this new approach.  Let us know by sending an email.  

    And remember, you can always pay online.  Login to your account or set one up. It’s easy to do.

    Cyanobacteria:  It’s the time of year when blooms might appear.  One concerned resident has already reported a bloom, which thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm.  If you have concerns about possible blooms in your area, please report them to SpoffordLA+Cyanobacteria@gmail.com.  Don’t worry if you forget this email address, you can always find it on our Cyanobacteria page.  

    New to the Store:  If T-shirts are not quite your style, then check out the new polo shirts that are now available in the SLA Store.  Choose from jersey or pique fabric, and a variety of colors and designs.  

    Happy summer.   πŸ›ΆπŸ˜Ž

    The Spofford Lake Association

    Summer Informational and High Water

    July 17, 2023--Be aware that the Town of Chesterfield is holding a ‘Summer Informational Session’ on Wednesday, July 19 at 6:30pm at Town Hall.  Topics to be covered include:

    • Recommendations of the Watershed Committee
    • Spofford Lake boat launch
    • Community power
    • North Shore Road paving
    • Gravel Roads and Chesterfield Revitalization Committee
    • New police garage

    High Water Concerns?  β˜”️ With the continuing rain, and many lakes having reached historic levels, NH LAKES (NHL) has asked that we pass on the following.  The NH Marine Patrol and local police do not have the authority to issue no-wake orders (except for Silver Lake).  

    You are encouraged to share your high water concerns directly with the NH Department of Safety Commissioner, Robert Quinn. Commissioner Quinn can be reached at (603) 271 2791   and  Robert.quinn@dos.nh.gov.  Concerns about safety should be stressed, followed by concerns about property damage, and environmental concerns, e.g., shoreline erosion, septic system flooding, potential for fuel spills.  

    NHL also recommends reaching out to your local state representatives to share concerns. Chesterfield reps can be found here. 

    This is an example of where a public outcry could result in a change in public policy going forward. And, with our changing climate, we can expect that this will not be the last time we see historically high water levels.

    Annual Meeting postscript:  A good time was had by all at the July 15 event.  You can tell by these pics.  More can be found here.  A complete report will be in the next regular Lake Lover Gazette.  

    Understanding Loons Zoominar, Annual Meeting Details, and HWA Update 

    July 11, 2023--Understanding Loons:  Join us Thursday, July 13 @ 7:00pm when the Loon Preservation Committee will discuss the life of loons and what we need to know to assure their long life on Spofford Lake.  Zoom login details can be found on the sidebar.

    Get Ready for the Annual Meeting:  The SLA Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, July 15.   

    • Check-in begins at 4:00.  Dinner buffet opens at 5:00.  The business meeting starts at 6:00ish and will focus on what the SLA and you can do to preserve Spofford Lake.  Check out our new Water Quality video, which focusses on the ‘state of the lake.’  The video will also be available for viewing during the cocktail hour.  
    • To speed check-in, bring the QR code generated at the time of ticket purchase, printed or screen cap will suffice. 
    • Rain delay?? Watch your email for a notification of the event being moved to July 16, as necessary. 
    • Parking it limited.  Start making plans to carpool.  Or, if possible, walk to the event. 
    • This is a BYOB event, so bring your libation of choice.  Mixers and soft drinks will be supplied.  Desserts are also being provided.
    • There will be inside and outside (i.e., a tent) seating. 
    • Show your spirit, wear your SLA logo’d gear.
    • Bring your lead fishing tackle to dispose of at the meeting. LoonSafe thanks you. 
    • Raffle.  It is CASH ONLY folks.  Bring plenty of greenbacks. 

    Hemlock Wooly Adelgid: Recently, we reported on the appearance of HWA at Spofford Lake.  The names of two arborists have been put forward as licensed to inject the trees with Imidacloprid.  They are ArborClimb Tree Service (603.256.6000) in West Chesterfield and Bartlett Tree Service (603-627-9400).  As one arborist noted “The Spofford Lake community is at risk of a major change to the environment if all the hemlock trees die. When you start looking around there are many that are too far gone and treatment options will not work.”  It takes 4-10 years for a tree to die, so it seems wise to get an evaluation of your property asap.  We’re still hoping to identify additional service providers.  If you know of any, please email us. Thanks.  

    Rain, Rain Go Away:  As of July 4, the Lake level is 9 inches above its ‘summer level’ and only 5 inches from the top of the abutment.  While boaters relish the extra depth, Whale and Little Whale Rocks, to name a couple of safety hazards still lurk just below the surface.  Please pay attention. ⚠️

    All the rain has also brought lots of runoff and erosion.  Motor boaters please mind the guidance and stay well back (minimum 200 feet) from the shorelines, including the Pierce Island.  For wakeboats, it is 300 feet.  All the rain has softened the otherwise ‘armored’ shoreline making it easier for wave action to degrade the soil.  Bigger faster boats result in more extensive and undesirable erosion.   We would ask the same courtesy of jet skiiers too. Have fun playing in the deeper areas away from the shorelines. 

    Zoominar Speaker Series end with 

    Water Quality:  On Thursday, August 17 @ 7:00 pm, our partner, FB Environmental, will speak about water quality, how Spofford Lake is doing, and what more can be done to assure its future.  Mark your calendar.  We’ll provide login details soon. 

    Do you have ideas for the 2024 speaker series??  Or tell us which format you prefer, Zoom or in-person.  Email us with your ideas.  

    Cyanobacteria Mitigation Loan and Grant Fund:  On June 20, Governor Sununu signed off on the state budget and policy trailer bill, which means that the cyanobacteria mitigation loan and grant fund has been established in law with an initial appropriation of $1 million. Nothing will happen in the short term as it will take NHDES time to set up the program. 

    Annual Meeting Prices Go Up on July 1, HWA, Zoominars, Lead, and more

    June 28, 2023--SLA Annual Meeting:  On July 1, ticket prices for the July 15 event will increase to $50.00 per person from the current $40.00.  Click here to secure yours before the price goes up.  

    Show your SLA spirit at the Annual Meeting by wearing your Spofford Lake gear to the event.  New and classic designs are available at the Store

    Get the Lead Out:  Did you know that the single largest threat to loons is lead fishing tackle? Between 1989 and 2017, 44% of adult loon mortality was attributed to lead.  To address the issue, Loon Preservation Committee has started ‘Loon Safe,” a program to remove lead from tackle boxes.  The program offers anglers the option of taking their lead tackle, which was banned in 2016, to participating collection sites for credit or drop it in a bin at their local lake association’s annual gathering.  

    The SLA is pleased to participate and will provide such a bin.  Go through your tackle box and other hidey holes and bring your lead tackle with you to the July 15 meeting for proper disposal.  For details on the program, visit loonsafe.org.

    Zoominar Speaker Series.  Here are the upcoming sessions: 

    Loons—On Thursday, July 13 @ 7:00pm, The Loon Preservation Committee’s (LCP) Melanie Carolan will tell us everything we need to know to assure that the loons of Spofford continue to bring music to the waters of the Lake and have a long and happy life here.  Mark your calendar.  Zoom login details can be found on the side bar.

    Water Quality—On Thursday, August 17 @ 7:00 pm, our partner, FB Environmental, will speak about water quality, how Spofford Lake is doing, and what more can be done to assure its future.  Mark your calendar.  We’ll provide login details soon.  

    Cyanobacteria—Here are a few of the things that we learned during the June 22 session, which featured Kate Hastings,  head of the Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) unit at NH DES:   1) climate change and runoff are the chief culprits of cyanobacteria, 2) the State notification system is now using the words “Alert” and “Warning,” rather than “Alert” and “Advisory,” 3) Cyanobacteria notifications alerts have spiked across the State in the past few years, 4) May 2023 has seen a record year of cyanobacteria Alerts in the State, 5) and management of cyanobacteria can best be accomplished by long-term management of runoff.  Slides of Kate’s presentation can be found here.  

    Baseball Caps and New Designs now in the Store:  Folks have commented that finding a baseball cap in the Store was difficult.  We heard you and think we’ve fixed the problem.  Visit the Store to purchase a new cap (and maybe a T-shirt too) to protect yourself during the hot summer sun.  Don’t forget the sunblock! 

    Weed Watcher (WW) Urgently Needed:  2022 saw the retirement of two long time Weed Watchers.  Fortunately, one replacement has been found, but Val Starbuck needs one more volunteer.  After receiving a link to a video and printed charts of the offending nasties, Weed Watchers generally don a mask and take the plunge in July and August.  The new volunteer will, however, be responsible for the Echo Cove/outlet area.  No swimming needed, all WW inspections will be done from a kayak. Total commitment, about 3 hours.  If you can help, please contact Val at starbuckjv@gmail.com right away.  Thank you. 

    Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA):  Hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand), a tiny aphid-like insect native to Japan, is one of the most damaging invasive forest pests in eastern North America. Since being discovered in 1951 in Virginia, it has killed hundreds of thousands of hemlock trees in eastern states, including much of New England, Pennsylvania, parts of New York, and the Appalachian mountains. HWA, left untreated, can kill a tree in 4 to 10 years.  Unfortunately, HWA has been found by a number of homeowners at Spofford Lake. 

    The treatment used on infected trees around a lake is an injection of Imidacloprid.  Spraying is not allowed near a waterbody.  If you know of licensed arborists in the area, please email us, so we can spread the word.  Thanks. 

    North Shore Road a Speedway?  Now that North Shore is smooth and free of potholes, it seems that some have taken to driving a bit fast.  We have been asked by the Town to remind everyone to abide the speed limits.  Even without potholes, the road is narrow and is well loved by many walkers.  Please slow down! βœ‹

    Annual Meeting, Zoominars and more

    June 13, 2023--2023 Annual Meeting: The Spofford Lake Association Annual Meeting will be held at the Spofford Yacht Club on Saturday, July 15th, beginning at 4:00PM.   There will be a cocktail and social hour (BYOB) followed by dinner and our annual business meeting.  The rain date will be Sunday, July 16th, at the same time and location. Ticket sales open today, June 13. Tickets purchased in June will be $ 40.00 per person.  Tickets purchased from July 1 through July 10 will be $ 50.00.  Tickets will be limited to the first 125 registrants, and no tickets will be sold after July 10th.  Click here to e-mail us with questions or problems.

     Click here to purchase your tickets now.

    The Eagles Have Hatched:  The keen-eyed Lee Brockman and her trusty camera have spotted two eaglets in the nest at Weaver’s Point.  Thanks, Lee for the pics.

    New Designs @ the Store: Speaking of eagles, check out the new merch at the SLA Store.  In addition to loon motifs, we now have an eagle and a medallion design.  We’ve also added something new for July 4, 2023.  With standard shipping, delivery takes 3-4 weeks, so get you orders in soon.  

    NH Lakes Congress Update:  At NH LAKES annual congress, Bayard Tracy and Pam Walton wow’ed an audience of 80 with their discussion of Chesterfield’s health regulation, aka the septic rules.  It was clear that Spofford Lake is a leader in this area and that many lakes are struggling with issues of deteriorating water quality caused by a myriad of factors, one of which is the septic system effluence.  Thanks to Bayard and Pam for representing Spofford so well.  Their presentation can be found on the side bar.

    Announcing our 2023 Zoominar Speaker Series:  

    Cyanobacteria--Regrettably, DES has already sent out cyanobacteria alert for three lakes, and it’s only early June.  Don’t forget to mark your calendar for this timely session with DES representative Kate Hastings.  On June 22 at 7:00 pm, she will tackle the subject of changing lake ecology, cyanobacteria, and will discuss efforts by the State to understand and combat it.  Login details can be found on the side bar.  

    Loons—The Loon Preservation Committee (LCP) will tell you everything you wanted to know about loons but were afraid to ask on Thursday, July 13 @ 7:00 pm.  Mark your calendar.  We’ll send out login details soon.  

    Water Quality—On Thursday, August 17 @ 7:00 pm, our partner, FB Environmental, will speak about water quality, how Spofford Lake is doing, and what more can be done.  Mark your calendar.  We’ll send out login details in the near future.

    Until the next Gazette, enjoy the Lake!

    DES to Address the SLA on Cyanobacteria

    May 27, 2023--It is the beginning of the summer season, albeit unofficially.  Summer has brought cyanobacteria to Spofford the past few years.  So, we thought you would be interested in hearing from and posing questions to a State expert on cyanobacteria.

    Changing Lake Ecology and Cyanobacteria, June 22 via Zoom:  The SLA is pleased to host a Zoom meeting with Kate Langley Hastings, Cyanobacteria HAB Program Coordinator, Watershed Management Bureau, Water Division, NH Department of Environmental Services.  On Thursday, June 22, at 7:00pm Kate will provide a primer on changing lake ecology and cyanobacteria.  She’ll also touch on what the State is doing to address these issues.  To join in, see the right side bar for Zoom meeting details.  

    Cleanup Time:  You may already be hard at work on refreshing your Spofford home for the summer season.   And so it should be no surprise that the SLA also needs to clean up its database to assure our messages find you, whether email or hardcopy.  Please log in to your account at www.spoffordlakeassociation.org and review the info on file.  The three most important bits for the SLA are:  Have your Local Address and Preferred Mailing Address changed?  Is there a separate email for you and your ‘Spouse/Partner’? and ‘Are you a year-round local resident?’  Thanks.

    Annual Meeting:  Would your company be Interested in sponsoring the SLA’s July 15 Annual Meeting?  Would your family like to donate a raffle gift in support of the SLA?  Sponsorship opportunities can be found here.  For donations, please send an email. Thanks very much for your ongoing support.  

    Calling All Anglers.  NH Wants Your Fish…for mercury testing, that is. NHDES’ Fish Tissue Mercury Monitoring Program measures the concentration of mercury in fish from lakes and rivers throughout the state to inform consumption advisories. The data are also used to study changes in mercury content in fish tissue over time and characterize mercury concentrations in different fish species.  If you are interested in helping out, click here for details.  

    New Web Pages:  We have added a new page on Canada Geese and our new Reducing Runoff page combines the previous Reducing Runoff and Soak of the Rain pages, while also adding some new content.  

    Community Activities:

    • Chesterfield Farmer’s Market:  The season begins on Saturday, May 27.  Come to Town center and purchase fruits, veg, bakery items, and more.
    • Beginner Yoga:  All are welcome on Tuesdays at Chesterfield Old Town at 10am.  Each session is $8.00, cash only.
    • NE Paddlesport Championship (NEPC):  July 30, Norm’s Launch, Brattleboro.  The 44th year NEPC will welcome canoe, kayak, SUP, and surf ski racers from across the Northeast to compete for honors on New England’s historic Connecticut River between southwest New Hampshire and southeast Vermont. Racers choose to run the 12-mile competitive course or a 5-mile recreation course.  spectators can cheer on competitors where the course laps the Brattleboro-Hinsdale Island by passing under the Rte. 119 bridges.  Visit ctriver.org for details.

    Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday. 

    Water Quality Remain Job #1

    May 13, 2023--The results of the 2022 VLAP report are in and the news is mixed.  On May 13, 2022 (see Archive), we reported of the stepped-up plan for water quality testing, the purpose of which was to obtain more expansive and more consistent data on the chemical, physical, and bacteriological characteristics of the Lake.  Consult the Glossary of Lake Terms for definitions.  

    Based on the finding below, the ‘enhanced’ 2022 program will be repeated in 2023.  Fingers crossed that the drought conditions that vexed last year’s samplings will not persist this year.      

    VLAP (Voluntary Lake Assessment Program) Summer Sampling

    Test samples taken by our volunteer team are sent to DES for analysis, which results in an annual VLAP report.  Chris Oot, the SLA’s Water Quality Monitoring team leader offered the report below at the April 10 meeting of the SLA Board.

    Overview

    • Based on guidance provided by SLA, the Watershed Committee, VLAP and FB Environmental, the Water Monitoring Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP) for Spofford Lake is relatively robust.  In addition to sampling the parameters defined by the VLAP, the following additional sampling was performed in 2022:
      • Chloride and conductivity were sampled during the winter months (January, February & March) at six locations to assess the impact of road salting.
      • Total phosphorus and dissolved oxygen were sampled during spring and fall turnover.
      • Phytoplankton populations were sampled over the summer months as another means to measure long-term trends in water quality.
    • For each VLAP sampling event, samples were intended to be taken at the Deep Spot, 6 Beaches, the Boat Ramp, the Outlet, and 22 Inlet and Watershed Stations.
    • Due to drought conditions, sampling was only possible at 61% (54 out of 88) of the planned tributary and watershed sampling events, and often these samples were taken under low flow conditions. 
    • Bottom line: We collected significantly less data than was planned and, due to low flow conditions, the quality of that data is not as certain as it could be. 

    Summary Results

    • Beaches & boat ramp: No significant levels of E. coli were detected.  
    • Tributaries of Concern:  Similar to prior years there were high E. coli and/or Total Phosphorous levels for at least one sampling event at:  Clarkdale Pipe and Watershed; Rte. 63-3; Moose Hollow Inlet and Watershed; LaChance Inlet and Watershed; and Camp Spofford Inlet and Watershed.  Moderately high Total Phosphorus levels were also detected at the Outlet for two sampling events.
    • Conductivity is consistently high for almost every tributary and watershed sample.
    • pH:  Moderately high pH was detected at one or more sampling events at seven stations.
    • Deep Spot: most results demonstrated good or generally good water quality for most parameters (color, chloride, chlorophyll-A, acid neutralizing capacity, clarity, and color).  

    Conductivity was excessive for every sampling event.  Additionally, high or excessive levels of Total Phosphorus and low levels (< 5mg/L) of Dissolved Oxygen were detected in the hypolimnion (lower depths).

    Inlet vs. Watershed

    • New Stations:  In 2022, the WQMP established new sampling stations in the watershed, i.e., upstream from the corresponding shoreline stations.  These are:  Ware's Grove, Camp Spofford, Seaman’s Inlet, Rte. 63-3, LaChance Inlet, Moose Hollow, and Clarkdale Pipe.
    • Data:  Drought conditions reduced the volume of data. However, the data collected provides some indication whether the primary source of contaminants is coming from the watershed or the shoreline. 
    • 2023 WQMP Program:  Due to the paucity and quality of the data collected, no firm conclusions can be drawn.  Thus, the SLA and Chesterfield’s Watershed Committee have agreed to continue this ‘enhanced’ program through at least the 2023 sampling season. 

    Turnover Program, Spring and Fall, Looking for Total Phosphorous (TP)

    • With assistance from DES, Total Phosphorus was sampled April 6 (Spring) and November 23 (Fall) during turnover conditions. 
    • Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and temperature readings were taken on October 4, which determined that the Lake was still stratified (not yet in turnover).  TP was sampled at the epilimnion, (the uppermost levels of the lake), and the hypolimnion, (the lower levels).   Based on the results, DES concluded that “The total phosphorus data collected in October in the epilimnion and hypolimnion of the deep spot location suggest that internal loading of total phosphorus is occurring.”
    • DES also recommended the late season sampling of TP continue in order to understand better the internal phosphorous load.
    • DO and TP data collected during the sampling program, appears to indicate a strong correlation between decreasing dissolved oxygen levels and increasing total phosphorus concentrations at the hypolimnion, which is likely attributable to internal loading.  

    Winter Program for Chloride and Conductivity

    • Chloride and conductivity are measured for the VLAP, but are typically only sampled from May-September.  To understand better the possible impact of road salting, SLA has extended the sampling program to collect samples at six locations between Ware’s Grove and Silverdale during the months of January, February and March
    • Of the 17 samples collected for Chloride (one tributary was frozen during the January sampling) a total of four samples (23.5%) involving three stations (Boat Launch, Route 63-3 and Seaman’s Inlet) exceeded the VLAP criterion of 230 mg/L for classification as “chronic.
    • Of the 17 samples for Conductivity, 13 samples from five of the six stations, exceeded 100 Β΅Mhos/cm.  This indicates “human disturbance”.
    • Although the Winter Chloride and Conductivity sampling detected higher than desirable levels of Chloride and Conductivity on several occasions, the levels detected did not vary significantly from, and were often lower than, the levels detected during the 2021 summer season sampling.

    Phytoplankton Program

    • In 2022, regular phytoplankton sampling was added to the SLA WQMP.  
    • Sara Steiner at DES notes “We cannot draw any conclusions from the data thus far. Populations shift from month to month and year to year and that’s what you’re seeing… The best comparison of data would be to look at the same month annually to see if there are shifts over time…” 
    • DES will pull historical phytoplankton info, which should allow better understanding of the shifts in the phytoplankton population overtime.  More on this to come.

    Record Membership in 2022:  2022 was a banner year.  Our 360 'Lake Lovers’ increased their donations by almost 25% last year.  From this and other sources, we were able to sustain our existing programs, invest in others, and add $30,000 to the Lake Preservation Fund, which is now over $125,000. 

    The Water Quality Monitoring and other programs are making greater demands on our resources, so if you haven’t renewed in 2023, now is a perfect time to click here and do so.  Thank you for your ongoing support!  

    NH Lakes Congress:  SLA President Bayard Tracy will be joined by Conservation Commission member, Pam Walton to address the topic of “Restoring & Preserving Lake Health through Local Septic System Ordinances.”  The one-day Congress will be held on Friday, June 2 in Meredith, NH.  Why not attend the session, support the SLA team, and learn what other lakes in the State are facing.  To register, visit NHLAKES

    SLA Annual Meeting:  This year’s annual meeting will be again held at the Spofford Yacht Club on Saturday, July 15th.  Watch our website for further information and ticket sales, which will be announced next month.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all. 


    Returning to Spofford

    April 26, 2023--Lake Lovers of all kinds are returning to Spofford Lake, unless of course you are lucky enough to live there year-round.   Docks and boats are going in the water.  Families are returning, both human and animal.  At least one loon has been spotted and so too an eagle in its nest.  Welcome back!  

    Also returning are:  

    Lake Hosts:  Our milfoil-busting team is back on duty for the season, almost.  Indeed, the team, 8 in total, some paid and some volunteer, will be in place for a May 6 bass tournament and on May 7.  After that, they will at the boat ramp every day from 6am to 6pm (weather permitting) beginning May 13 through October 9.  

    Fishing:  Speaking of bass tournaments, Spofford is host to 7 tournaments this year, including some for high school students. The full schedule is on the Fishing & Boating page. 

    Clubs/Camps: Spofford Yacht Club opens on May 6, Camp Spofford on Father’s Day June 18, B&K on or about April 24, and Family Rec on May 15.  

    Lake Water Level: The 2023 edition of the chart is now available.  As usual, it will be updated weekly with information provided by the Town.

    Water Quality Monitoring Program:  The WQMP team is also back at it.  To better understand the impact of the winter on the Lake’s health, as measured by phosphorous and dissolved oxygen levels at the semi-annual turnover, our intrepid volunteer team, just days after ice out, took water samples at 2 of the 3 deep spots. Thanks for the work and brrrrr!

    Recall that turnover is a natural process where the entire water column is mixed providing renewed conditions for plant growth.  Measuring these factors immediately after ice out provides valuable insights into the Lake’s water quality.  See our Glossary of Lake Terms for more. 

    Invasive Plant Species:  They tend to be the first to arrive in Spring and the last to leave in the Fall.  Our partners are the Chesterfield Conservation Commission ask that homeowners to be on the lookout for land-based invasive plants to eliminate. For more background on invasives, check out the Audubon Society.  The Native Plant Trust offers insights on controlling invasives and what to plant in their stead. 

    Fish & Game:  Spofford Laker goers can expect to see Swansey-based Conservation Officer James Benvenuti and K9 Cora this summer.  Remember to re-register your boat and have the proper safety gear on board.

    Happy days!

    Spring is in the Air

    April 6, 2023--After the recent snowstorm, snow is still visible but disappearing fast. The temps are rising, the trees are just beginning to bud out and the SLA is gearing up for the 2023 season.  

    Ice Out Lottery:   The Ice Out Lottery Committee has surveyed the lake at 2:00 pm today, April 6, and could not find any residual ice anywhere.  Today is the official, 2023 Ice Out Date.  Congratulations to this year's lottery winner; Guy Marsh.  Guy and SLA will each receive $ 290.00 this year.  Thanks to all who participated.

    Chesterfield Town Meeting:  At its March 18 meeting, voters agreed to allocate another $10,000 to the Town’s Control & Remediation of Invasive Species ExpendableTrust Fund.  With this, Town voters have set aside a total of $40,000 to keep Spofford Lake free of invasive plant species.  

    Residents also voted to allow the Town to participate in a $100,000 EPA/DES planning grant whose aim is to better manage water runoff from Pinnacle Springs Road into Spofford Lake.  Final approval from governmental authorities is expected in the Fall.  The Town will not proceed with the project if it fails to receive grant money to cover planning costs.

    Many thanks to the Board of Selectmen and Town voters for agreeing to both these and other measures aimed at preserving Spofford Lake.  As one resident put it “If we don’t take care of the lake, it won’t take care of us.”  See the Keene Sentinel for details on these items and more. 

    If you haven't reviewed the Town's Watershed Sub-Committee's recommendations from its February 15th public meeting, visit the SLA’s Government Proposals page for the full presentation and a summary of the recommendations. 

    Historic Cottages: On behalf of the Chesterfield Historical Society, here are the last few photos to review.  Do you know whose property this is?  Is it your family’s?  If so, please provide feedback.  Thanks again for all the help. 

    Board of Directors Meetings:  The 2023 schedule is now set:  April 10, May 8, June 12, August 14, September 11, and October 9.  Meeting location and Zoom options can be found on the Board Meetings page on our website.  The Annual Meeting will again be held at the Spofford Yacht Club on Saturday, July 15 with a July 16 rain date.  More to follow on this. 

    Water Quality Monitoring Program:  Look for the teams, on the water and shoreside, on May 23, July 25, August 29, and September 26.  And thanks to several intrepid SLA volunteers, we'll be doing water testing at 'turnover' shortly after Ice Out. 

    In News from the State House: While there is support for the substance of the Cyanobacteria Mitigation Fund bill, the funding mechanism requires additional attention.  It is expected that the bill will move to the Senate this session to address the funding issues.  See Government Proposals for more info on this and other initiatives.

    Wishing everyone a Happy Spring πŸ₯ and a joyous Easter and Passover 🌷 

    Watershed Committee Updated Reviews & More

    March 11, 2023--Watershed Sub-committee:  On February 15, the Watershed Sub-committee held its first public information session.  In addition to reporting the Lake's Water Quality Testing Program results and the status of pending grants, the Committee recommended the following:

    • To change the building permit application to require:
      • That all necessary state and federal permits have been received and are attached to the application,
      • That property within 250 feet of Spofford Lake or Chesterfield's protected shoreland brooks rivers and streams, is identified on the application.
    • To make corrections to the building code.
    • To consider the following future actions:
      • Establish a Watershed District,
      • Create new permitting requirements, in the Watershed District, regarding changes of stormwater runoff, new driveways and driveway modifications and Town-wide; where work is within 250 feet of protected shoreland water bodies, 
      • Update the definition of impermeable surfaces, 
      • Require the use of Low Impact Design (LID) techniques.

    Click here to Review the Committee's entire presentation.

    Cyanobacteria Bill Update: HB 276, would establish a cyanobacteria mitigation loan 'and grant' fund.  The Prime Sponsor, Representative Rosemarie Rung introduced an amendment to the bill which addresses the two concerns expressed at the initial hearing. The changes include:

    • Establishing the cyanobacteria mitigation loan and grant fund to address concerns that lake associations might not be able to qualify for loans
    • Clarifying that the NH Dept. of Environmental Services would have oversight over the fund so that the funds are used appropriately.

    The Committee voted the bill, as amended, "Ought to Pass" by an overwhelming margin, (17 Yea, 3 Nay).  It was encouraging to hear many of the committee members express that cyanobacteria is a serious issue that needs to be addressed before it is too late!

    The House Finance Committee heard testimony from Representative Rung and others on March 3rd.  The committee subsequently voted to "retain" the bill so they can work on it further and hopefully pass something on to the Senate in the upcoming session.

    You can read the amended bill here.

    See our Government Proposals page to review other issues with implications for Spofford Lake, and / or to message your congressmen.

    Lakes Struggle for Oxygen:  We have previously reported on Spofford Lake’s low levels of dissolved oxygen.  Cornell University’s recent studyprovides new details about how climate change is reducing oxygen availability in many lakes around the world.  The researchers analyzed data on hundreds of lakes to investigate how often the concentration of dissolved oxygen has been dropping below critical levels that are needed to support fish and other marine species. 

    Historic Cottages: Please take a moment to review our next set of historic Spofford Lake cottages and provide the Chesterfield Historical Society with any information you may have about these sites and their owners.

     Ice Out Lottery:  While ticket sales have ended, significant ice remains in the lake, and our Ice Out Lottery Committee is watching closely for this year's exact Ice Out date.  Watch this space for announcements regarding this year's official date and lottery winner(s).

    Here's hoping for an early spring,

    Water Quality Update and Government Proposals

    February 2, 2023--Here’s the news from the Spofford Lake Association.

    Water Quality Monitoring Program:  2022 Results and Trends:  It was a busy year for our volunteer team headed by Chris Oot. Working with the Town's Watershed Management Sub-Committee, the WQMP became ever more robust by increasing the frequency and number of tests and the number of locations on the shoreline and higher in the watershed.  DES personnel also added testing at Spring and Fall turnover.  For a more complete picture of the program, visit our Water Quality webpage. In summary, 

    The Not So Good News:

    •      Total Phosphorous is high and increasing levels at the lower depths

    •      Dissolved Oxygen is low and ever decreasing in the deeper areas.

    •      Chloride levels are increasing though remain significantly below "chronic" levels.

    There is some Good News:

    •      No significant bacteria were detected at the beaches or the boat ramp.

    •      Good to excellent results for most water quality parameters.

    •      Spofford Lake's water is characterized as having "high quality conditions" by DES.

    Rising phosphorus levels accelerate plant growth.  More plant growth means more plant decay, which means more algae and cyanobacteria.  Low dissolved oxygen indicates, and further amplifies, high phosphorus and also harms several important fish species. 

    To learn more about the Lake's water quality and what we can do to protect it, attend the Watershed Sub-Committee’s Public information session, details below.  

    Watershed Sub-Committee Public Information Session:  This is a reminder that a public information session will be held on February 15 at Town Hall.  Details, including a Zoom link, can be found on the SLA Events Calendar or the Town’s website.  Items to be discussed are:  1) 2022 water testing results and future plans, 2) status of ‘runoff’ grants, 3) short-term recommendations to the BOS, and 4) longer-term thoughts on changes to Town building and zoning ordinances.

    Government Proposals:  We’ve added a new page to our site—Government Proposals.  This page will house governmental initiatives under current consideration, both state and local, that may impact lake health, e.g., the state initiative to establish a cyanobacteria mitigation fund and the Town’s the Watershed Sub-Committee.

    Historical Cottages:  We’ve posted another 8 photos dating from the turn of the 20th century.  Take a look to see if you can help identify the cottages and families who lived in them.  Your comments are welcomed by the Chesterfield Historical Society. 

    Ice Lottery:  While there are no official records, it seems as if this year may get the record for the latest “ice in” date.  That said, now is the time to guess when it will leave, and possibly win a few bucks doing so.  Tickets are $10.00 each and sales will end as planned on February 15.  Buy your tickets and learn the details of the Lottery by visiting this page before it’s too late.

    AmazonSmile:  Amazon has decided to discontinue its decade-old program and focus on other philanthropic efforts.   As such the Spofford Lake Association will no longer accrue funds from the program after February 20.  Thanks to all the SLA members who signed up and funneled a bit of cash to the association.  

    Lake Smart:  Congratulations to the Hagstrom family, yet another Spofford family to receive the LakeSmart Award, which recognizes ‘lake-friendly’ living.  Bravo!

    Work on Cyanobacteria in Concord.  Your Support Requested.  

    January 22, 2023

    Cyanobacteria Plan Advisory Committee

    You may recall that the NH Department of Environmental Services has been tasked to establish an action plan on cyanobacteria blooms.  The Cyanobacteria Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet again on January 26th from 9AM to Noon.

    The public can demonstrate support by watching remotely.  To measure public interest, the list of ‘attendees’ will be included in the minutes.  Click here to see the agenda and / or attend the meeting.

    Cyanobacteria Loan Fund— HB 276-FN, Public hearing

    In other cyanobacteria news, the House is considering the establishment of a loan fund for the mitigation of cyanobacteria blooms.  The fund would assist lake and watershed associations and local communities implement projects to minimize phosphorous entering lakes.  As the level of phosphorous and other nutrients entering our lakes increases from sources such as lawn fertilizer, septic system waste, poor road design and management, and eroding soil, more occurrences of toxic cyanobacteria blooms are expected.  A public hearing is set for:  

    Wednesday, January 25, 10AM - Noon

    House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee
    Legislative Office Building, Room 305 - 307
    33 N State St, Concord, NH 03301

    The public is encouraged to contact their legislators and the House Committeewith their concerns over the ecological and economic impacts of cyanobacteria on their lake.  

    We encourage you to get involved in these important initiatives and make your voice heard.

    Happy New Year 🍾

    Janaury 9, 2023--We hope 2023 finds you and your family well, healthy, and at peace.  Here is your first Lake Lover Gazette (LLG) for 2023.

    Ice Out Lottery:  The year promises to bring plenty of activity at our gem of a lake.  For now, there is no ice in, but you can support the SLA by purchasing tickets to predict ice out.   Tickets are $10 a piece.  The winner (s) of the correctly chosen date of ice out will win 50% of the total purse.  Last year the winner came away with $725.00.  Ticket sales will end on February 15, so get yours now.  Tickets can be purchased and all the details found on our Ice Out Lottery page.  Good luck!

    Spofford Lake History:  The Chesterfield Historical Society (CHS) needs your help.  You can extend a hand from the comfort of your couch.  Many SLA families have deep roots in the area.  CHS, knowing that there is a wealth of untapped knowledge, asks for your help in identifying homes and their owners from the turn of the last century.  We’ve loaded the first tranche of CHS photos to our Historic Homes page, which contains a separate discussion forum for each photo.   From here you can post comments and provide feedback about each home so that the CHS will have a more complete picture of the story of Spofford Lake.  On behalf of CHS, thanks for any insights you can provide. 

    For more history on Spofford Lake, check out the SLA’s web page, Our History, with more on the Camps of and Tourism at Spofford.

    Town Watershed Committee:  We have previously reported on the work of the Town’s Watershed Committee.  SLA President and Vice President, Bayard Tracy and Dan Syvertsen, respectively, serve on the Committee.  Chris Oot, who heads the SLA’s Water Quality Monitoring Program, provides vital input as well.  On February 15, the Committee will hold its first public information meeting to report on the committee’s progress.  Items to be discussed are:  1) 2022 water testing results and future plans, 2) status of ‘runoff’ grants, 3) short-term recommendations to the BOS, and 4) longer-term thoughts/recommendations on changes to Town building and zoning ordinances.  Check the SLA Events Calendar or the Town website for details and a Zoom link. 

    Membership Lapsed: The SLA’s membership and content management system has reset itself for 2023. Please be aware that our fiscal year corresponds to the calendar year.  As a result, SLA members who have not made a membership payment in 2023, which is most everyone, will see “Membership Lapsed” notifications when they log in.  These notifications are generated by our web host and are not something over which SLA has much control.  However, as soon as your 2023 membership duesrenewal has been recorded these annoying notifications will stop! 

    We wish you a very Happy 2023.  Cheers, 


    2022 Accomplishments.  The President's Year End Message.

    December 13, 2022--Reflecting back on the year, we all can be proud of what our volunteers and members have achieved.   Here are some of the highlights:

    • We expanded our water quality testing program (WQMP), both in number of tests and frequency of those tests.  The program now runs from April through November and is done in cooperation with the Town of Chesterfield’s Watershed Management Committee.
    • Spofford Lake was again declared milfoil-free.  The Weed Watch and Lake Host programs are our best defense against invasive species. Nearly 5,200 watercraft were inspected at the boat launch between May and October. 
    • Cyanobacteria remains a concern, but the SLA continues to lead the effort to understand the causes and define the effects of last summer's blooms. 
    • We leveraged our volunteer and financial resources to obtain Federal and State grants with the goal of reducing phosphorous-laden stormwater runoff into the Lake.
    • We worked hard to keep members and other Lake Lovers abreast of developments through robust communications including mailings of DES Fact Sheets, social media posts, an updated website, and 'Lake Lover Gazette' emails.
    • We recruited some 25 new members and earned the continuing support of our existing member base.  Your financial support allowed us to fund ongoing operations and expanded WMQP while growing the Lake Preservation Fund to over $100,000.  

    These activities would not be possible without your support and encouragement. If you haven’t yet renewed your 2022 membership, please do so by the end of the year.  Thank you so much.

    Best wishes for the holiday season, 

    Regards, Bayard Tracy, President, The Spofford Lake Association

    P.S.  The Ice Out Lottery is open.  Visit our webpage to buy tickets now. 

    2023 Ice Out Lottery is Now Open

    December 1, 2022--  The 2023 Ice Out Lottery is officially open and tickets are now available.  Don't be left out in the cold, click the image below for all the details and join in the fun ! Wishing you lots of luck this holiday season and in the year to come. 

    The Holidays are Here!

    November 21, 2022--Here are a few tidbits from around the Lake.

    Lake Water Level:  In the October 28 Gazette, we noted that the Town was taking a more gradual approach to lake drawdown.  Here’s some information from the State on why that is important to lake ecology.  

    Lakes and Salt:  Also on October 28, we reported on the impact of salt on lakes.  Here’s a bit more info from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

    Ice Out Lottery:  The IOL will open for ticket purchases on December 1.  Tickets are still priced at $10 and the lottery is again a 50:50 split.  The winner (s) of the 2023 Lottery will share the proceeds with the Spofford Lake Association.  For details and to purchase tickets, visit our Lottery page beginning on December 1. 

    SLA Store:  With non-expedited shipping time of a couple of weeks, now is the time to order a few SLW branded items from the Store.  T-shirts and water bottles all around!

    Amazon Smile:  Speaking of shopping, many thanks to the members and friends who support the SLA through the Amazon Smile program.  The October donation of nearly $50 was made to the SLA.  Let’s see if we can’t grow that number to $100 next quarter.  To achieve that, we’d appreciate your designating the Spofford Lake Association as your charity on Smile.Amazon.com.  To do so, just follow the simple steps on our website.  Thanks.

    Best wishes to you and your family for a very Happy Thanksgiving from the Spofford Lake Association.  πŸ¦ƒ

    Cyanobacteria, Results from October 30 Alert

    November 4, 2022--You will recall that on October 30, we reported a new and different looking cyanobacteria bloom at the western end of South Shore Road.  We have now received a detailed report from Green Water Labs advising that, of the toxins tested for, none were detected.  Definitely good news!

    Notwithstanding the above, be advised that blooms can change over time.  Please continue to avoid contact with this material and keep pets and small children out of the water and away from any ‘muck’ on a beach. 

    Regards, The Spofford Lake Association

    Preparing for Winter and Cyanobacteria Alert

    October 28, 2022--Here's what's happening.

    Cyanobacteria: On Wednesday, October 26, samples were taken of suspected cyanobacteria at the western end of South Shore Road and sent to Green Water Lab (GWL).  This time the cyanobacteria appear as a green soupy film on the water, rather than the blackish mats that have appeared in the summer.  GWL has confirmed today the presence of cyanobacteria and is conducting further tests to determine the exact nature of any toxins. 

    Please be do not allow your pets (or children) to play in or drink the water or roll in any muck on the beach.   

    Lake Water Level:  This year the Board of Selectmen are doing a staged drawdown--not immediately pulling the boards back to 30."  The slower drawdown should help minimize erosion along the Lake shorefront and ameliorate damage downstream in the Partridge Brook, which has had little flow through most of the summer due to drought conditions.

    The boards are currently set at 18" and will be dropped to 24" this week and 30" for the final drawdown next week.  The Lake should be fully drawn down under this schedule in early November, well before ice settles in.  There may be adjustments to the drawdown schedule dependent on weather conditions.

    Water Quality Monitoring: The 2022 program is nearing completion.  The only remaining measurement is of Total Phosphorous during Fall turnover.  Turnover, or mixing of the water, occurs when the surface water temperature reaches 50-55Β° F, which has not happened yet.  NH DES conducts the Spring and Fall turnover tests.  When the temperature declines sufficiently, NH DES will be out to finish its work.  

    Lakes and Salt: Salt can have serious impacts on any freshwater body, in part because its builds up in the groundwater.  Salt also impacts fish populations in lake waters. Learn about the impact of salt in the NH LAKES video “Put Your Lake on a Low-Salt Diet.”  Here’s also a link to “Best Ice Melts,” including those used by homeowners that are more beneficial to lake ecology. 

    The State initiated and manages “Green SnoPro Certification,” a program which guides commercial rock salt application.  Is your snow removal team GreenPro certified?  Here’s a link to check.  If not, maybe they should be.  


    Bryozoan:  While a good Scrabble word, it is also an inhabitant of Spofford Lake.  According to Clemson University,  bryozoans are sessile (i.e., immobile) filter-feeding animals, despite their resemblance to some algae.  Their name, translates from Latin as 'moss animal."  There are 4,000 species found worldwide, with about 50 species living solely freshwater.  Clemson goes on to say  "If you have bryozoans in your pond, it is an indicator that you have a healthy ecosystem. Bryozoan feeding habits mean they filter the water as they feed, like oysters in saltwater, helping to consume algae and remove suspended sediments.”

    Lake Hosts:  Spofford Lake Hosts inspected 5,198 boats, the largest number at a single ramp in 2022.  As inspections are done on both inbound and outbound vessels, that means 2,599 boats were checked.  Bravo!  

    Happy Halloween! πŸŽƒ πŸ‘»   The Spofford Lake Association

    Time to Get Your Boat out of the Water and Weed Survey

    October 4, 2022--Kudos to Weed Watchers and Lake Hosts:  We never get tired of reporting this…once again Spofford Lake is free of invasives.  On September 9, Solitude Management, a company the SLA has engaged for many years, conducted its annual audit of the Lake.  Project manager, Emily Vulgamore and aquatic biologist, Kristen Veinoette, have concluded that “based on the 2022 survey, the aquatic plant assemblage in Spofford Lake appears unchanged relative to previous survey years. No exotic aquatic species were observed during the survey – undoubtedly due to the commitment of SLA and their volunteers.“ To peruse the two page report, click here. 

    The last day this year for the Lake Hosts is October 16.  Many thanks Lake Hosts!  And to Val Starbuck and Frank Turner for managing the Weed Watcher and Lake Host programs, respectively.  See you in the Spring. 

    Winter Lake Level:  By decision of the Board of Selectmen, the drawdown of the Lake will begin on Tuesday, October 11, after the Columbus Day weekend.  The Lake is 16 inches below the top of the dam.  Boards will be removed to allow the water to fall to the Winter level, i.e., 30 inches below the top of the dam. To minimize damage, boaters are encouraged to have their boats out of the water soon.  

    Natural Resource Inventory:  Chesterfield Conservation Commission has completed its Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) and Conservation Priorities. See the Commission’s website for the full report, including recreational trail maps.   

    Revised about every 10 years, the inventory details non-Federal publicly owned natural resources (e.g., hiking trails, lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, forests, agricultural land, and animal species. It also provides important information for the town's master plan and for planning, zoning, and Board of Selectmen decisions.  

    According to RSA-36-A:2, the town “shall keep an index of all open space and natural, aesthetic or ecological areas within the city or town, as the case may be, with the plan of obtaining information pertinent to proper utilization of such areas, including lands owned by the state or lands owned by a town or city. It shall keep an index of all marshlands, swamps and all other wetlands in a like manner, and may recommend to the city council or selectmen or to the department of natural and cultural resources a program for the protection, development or better utilization of all such areas.”

    The NH NRI will form one part of the national inventory, which is compiled by the US Department of Agriculture. 

    Pike anyone?:  On Saturday, October 1, a 39 inch Northern Pike was pulled from the Lake.  Wow!

    Finally, thanks to Chesterfield resident, Isabel Jurk for the stunning photo of the Lake and its surroundings. 

    Enjoy, The Spofford Lake Association

    Happy Anniversary and Septic Reminder

    September 28, 2022 --Happy Anniversary SLA:  The Spofford Lake Chesterfield Association Inc was formed via a filing to the State on July 7, 1971, which was confirmed by the Secretary of State on Sept. 22.   In July 1999, the Board of Directors officially changed the name to the Spofford Lake Association.  Happy 51stanniversary to us. 

    Old Home Day:  With a pie eating contest, jugglers, acrobats, classic cars, ice cream social, tug of war between the fire and police teams, and plenty of vendors from which to buy stuff or learn stuff, the smiles on faces tell the story of a good time had by all at the September 24 Chesterfield Old Home Day.  Bravo to the organizers!

    Septic:  This is another courtesy reminder to property owners in the ‘Spofford Lake District’ to submit your paperwork to the Town documenting the proper functioning and maintenance of your septic system by COB Friday, November 4th.  The penalty for non-compliance is $100/month. 

    Water Quality:  The crew was out on September 8 for the last of its summer sampling sessions.  One more sampling event will happen in October once the Lake has cooled sufficiently for turnover to occur.  Turnover is when the upper waters of the Lake become cooler than the deeper waters in the lake and the lake waters mix, becoming homogenous throughout the depth of the lake.  At that time, the team will measure total phosphorous at 3 locations across the deepest part of the Lake.  This type of sampling was also done in April during Spring turnover.  The results of the Fall and Spring turnover sampling will help pinpoint the amount of phosphorous loading that occurs over the “ice out” period.  

    Support:  If you haven’t already done so, please make your 2022 SLA membership dues payment and contribution to the Lake Preservation Fund.  You can make both by logging into your SLA account.  Or send a check to Spofford Lake Association, PO Box 177, Spofford NH 03462. Thank you. 

    Happy Fall,  The Spofford Lake Association

    Labor Day, Sept 3, 2022

    Camps of Spofford:  Did you know that Spofford was once home to any number of summer camps for boys and girls?  Camp Nitawa, dating to the 1930s, occupied acreage on the South Shore.  See Our History for an article on the camp.

    Current Weather:  Thanks to a lake resident, we now have a Spofford lake-specific weather station which can be accessed from the SLA website.  Click here, or follow the link from our Water Level page, to learn what is going on meteorologically at the lake.  


    SLA Store:  Baby it’s (getting) cold out there …. or will be soon.  Don’t’ forget to purchase your cool weather gear at the SLA Store.  Hoodie anyone? 


    Reporting Cyanobacteria:  Fortunately, Spofford has been free of cyanobacteria since July Anticipating future blooms, either this year or in years to come, the SLA has established a rapid response team and a dedicated email that goes directly to them.  If you see anything questionable, or you suspect a cyanobacteria bloom, please send an email to: 

    SpoffordLA+cyanobacteria@gmail.com.  This URL is also accessible from our Cyanobacteria web page. and our QR codes posted around the lake.


    Enjoy the holiday weekend. The Spofford Lake Association

    Appreciating the Volunteers who Make a Difference

    August 26, 2022--The Spofford Lake is all the better for the dozens of volunteers who work to improve and protect it.  Here’s what some of the volunteers have been up to, just in the month of August.   

    Pierce Island Maintenance:  Many thanks to our team for making Pierce Island a little bit safer.  After a weather delay on Wednesday, an enthusiastic team of 6 went to work on Thursday, August 18 repurposing 15 dead and downed trees to line the trails.  Branches were re-positioned to slow erosion in several locations and provide a safe zone for loon-favorable habitat for future nesting.  Two loads of tree debris were boat-lifted off the Island for disposal.  And very little “human trash” was found!  Thanks to the public for its efforts to keep Pierce Island clean.  

    Water Quality Monitoring (WQMP):  Any many thanks also to the WQMP team, comprised of 3 groups (12+ individuals) who sampled water on the Lake and at the shoreline on Thursday, August 11.  This is the team's third, or maybe fourth or fifth, session this year.  They were joined by a reporter and photographer from the Brattleboro Reformer.  See team member Jeff Payton in action πŸ’§ and read the Reformer article “Bobservations:  Volunteers Pitch in to Preserve Spofford Lake.”  

    Weed Watchers:  And while we are thanking folks, how about a shout out to the 24 + volunteers who mask up and search the lake bottom and shoreline for milfoil and other invasive aquatic plants.  Spofford is still milfoil-free.  We appreciate your diligence. 

    Lake Hosts:  Working 6am-6pm from mid-May to mid-October and protecting our lake for over 20 years, let’s give a big thumbs up to our ever-vigilant Lake Hosts.  πŸ‘

    Would you like to volunteer to help this year?  Or maybe for 2023?  Volunteers are always welcome and on their own terms.  If interested, reach out to us via our Volunteer page.

    Perhaps you missed it.  On August 10, a LakeSmart rep outlined how this voluntary program seeks to improve Spofford’s water quality by better managing rainwater runoff.   We’ve posted the presentation to our Runoff page.  Nearly 20 Spofford families have completed the 15-minute self-assessment.   Have you?  It’s free and easy.  The LakeSmart team visited Spofford for site visits on Friday, August 26 and is returning on Wednesday, August 31.  There are three slots open on the 31st.  Contact the team to set up your 45-minute appointment.  Every little bit of runoff management helps. β˜”️

    Cyanobacteria: “Downpours Followed by Dry Spells Lead to More Cyanobacteria in NH” reads a headline in the Keene Sentinel.  Read the full article and its reference to Spofford Lake.  

    Again, our heartfelt appreciation to the volunteers of Spofford who make improving the Lake their goal.  When you meet a volunteer, offer a nod of gratitude or give a pat on the back in recognition of their efforts to protect our gem of a lake.  

    Enjoy the rest of the summer, The Spofford Lake Association

    Work in Progress, Pierce Island

    August 15, 2022--Be advised that the Pierce Island Maintenance Team will be in action beginning at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, August 17 doing some more cleanup and trail management.  The team expects to have finished its work by mid-day.  (The date was subsequently changed to August 18.)

    The SLA has two certified chain saw operators.  Don’t’ be alarmed when you hear the whirrrr of the saws as larger downed branches will be cut into pieces small enough to be transported off the Island. 

    If you would like to help, please contact Art Huggins at arthuggins23@gmail.com.  For safety sake, if at all possible, we would ask you to NOT visit the Island while the team is in action.  

    In 2021 the Spofford Lake Association signed an agreement with NH Parks & Recreation to maintain the paths and signage on the Island.  The agreement was renewed for 2022.  

    Many thanks to the Pierce Island team for making it a safe place to visit!

    LakeSmart, Newsletter and More


    August 5, 2022--Here's the update from around Spofford Lake.


    Lakesmart:  Have you signed up yet for the Wednesday, August 10 session on LakeSmart?  Learn how to make your property more lake-friendly for FREE. 

    Stormwater erosion is the number one factor in adding phosphorous to Spofford Lake.  Phosphorous, in turn, promotes plant and algal growth and is a contributing factor in cyanobacteria.  LakeSmart identifies sources of erosion around structures, in the yard, and along the lake and make recommendations for remediation.

    We encourage you to take the self-assessment prior to attending the session for a custom look at what improvements you might make on your property.  Bring your questions to the session so the NH LAKES associate can address them.  And hear from Spofford residents who have already gone through the LakeSmart process.

    Property owners not yet attaining LakeSmart standards will receive recommendations for what they can do to reduce erosion and protect Spofford.   Whether it ’s installing a dripline trench around a structure, reducing lawn size and maintenance, adding more plants to a shoreline buffer, or covering bare areas of soil with erosion-control mulch, there is always something landowners can do to reduce their impact.  

    The session will be held at Old Town Hall in Chesterfield @ 6:30 on August 10.  Join your neighbors to help make Spofford Lake even better.  To register, click here


    Annual Newsletter and Membership Renewal:  The newsletter is at the printer.  Given our robust communications effort during the year, the 4-page newsletter will focus on the July 16 Annual Meeting.  Be on the lookout!   

    For those looking for the envelope to prompt your membership renewal, you will find it in the newsletter.  If you pay online, please use the envelope as a nudge to renew your annual membership now.  And consider making a separate donation to the Lake Preservation Fund.  Thank you so much! 


    Cyanobacteria Update:  Of the three samples sent for toxicity testing, one was found to have a low level of microcystin.  Indeed, the level (0.43ng/mL(ppb) was well below current US EPA level of 8.0 ng/mL, which is recognized as the limit for safe swimming. This is all good news.  Nevertheless, this material, which presents as a black granular substance should be avoided. See the Cyanobacteria section of the SLA website. 

    The temps remain high and the rainfall low both conditions in which cyanobacteria seem to appear. (As of July 29, the lake water level was 1 inch below the agreed  ‘Summer Level. ’ ) Particularly for members who have beachfront property, please continue to monitor your beach and report any suspected cyanobacteria to the SLA and State DES.  Thanks for your vigilance. 


    Pierce Island—Plans are being finalized for a small work crew to do some maintenance on Pierce Island on the morning of Wednesday, August 17.  The crew will be transferring downed branches to a pontoon for transport to the  ‘mainland.’  We are looking for a few able-bodied volunteers to help.  If you are interested, please contact, Art Huggins at arthuggins23@gmail.com.  

    Have fun! πŸ˜Ž The Spofford Lake Association

    Update on July 21 Cyanobacteria Alert and LakeSmart


    July 30, 2022--On July 21st we advised you of a NH-DES Cyanobacteria Alert for Spofford Lake.  See the SLA Archive for the details of that email.  Since that Alert, temps have cooled, and several inches of rain have fallen.  On Monday, July 25, three cyanobacteria samples, all from the western end of North Shore Road were sent to Green Water Labs (GWL) in Florida for more in depth analysis.  The samples sent presented as dark benthic mats on the shoreline, dark cloud-like tufts floating near the shoreline area, and/or green spheres floating in the water in numerous locations.  


    Test results:   GWL found that a low level of microcystin was present in those benthic mat samples, 0.43 ng/mL (ppb).  This level is well below the current EPA level of 8.0 ng/mL (ppb), which is recognized as safe for swimming.  No other toxins were detected.


    So what is a microcystin (or cyanoginosin)?  It is an algal toxin, that comes from cyanobacteria, which with significant exposure, can cause illness to humans and their pets, especially if inhaled or ingested.  As of this writing there is no sign of cyanobacteria on the west shore of Rte 63, although the sludge/mat material that washed up on the western end of North Shore Road is likely to remain until higher water reclaims it into the Lake.  


    How should Lake Lovers proceed in the days and weeks to come?  

    Be cautious of lake water that has a surface scum, changes colors, or appears to have green streaks or blue-green flecks aggregating along the shore.  This is particularly so for small children and pets who may ingest the water.  For property owners with beaches, continue to monitor the area and report any ‘suspicious’ findings to the SLA and DES

    Remember, that an "Alert" is to warn of potential cyanobacteria toxins.  If the State issues an “Advisory”, more serious cyanobacteria have been confirmed.  In such case, the State will post physical signs.  

    Stay up to date with your SLA email and visit the SLA Home page for continuing news and updates.  For more information on cyanobacteria, visit the SLA webpage.  


    Get Acquainted with LakeSmart:  

    The SLA will host a FREE educational session on LakeSmart on Wednesday, August 10 @ 6:30pm at Chesterfield Old Town Hall, 490 Route 63.  LakeSmart educates homeowners on lake-friendly practices in property management techniques and activities.  Gloria Norcross, an associate at NH LAKES will describe the program, what it entails for homeowners, and how they can participate.  

    Take the FREE 15 minute, no-obligation, self-assessment prior to August 10th so you can better understand your property’s particular circumstances.  The result, sent immediately to you after the completion of the assessment, covers driveway and parking areas, structures and wastewater treatment systems, and yard and play areas.  For properties along the water, the shoreline and shallow water areas are also included.  If your property doesn’t initially score high enough to achieve LakeSmart status in all areas, you will be provided with lake-friendly living recommendations. 

    NH LAKES, the program sponsor, is hoping to send a team of associates on August 24th -26th to Spofford in order to conduct private and confidential property tours as follow-up to the self-assessments.  

    Click here to sign up for the FREE August 10th session. Let’s make Spofford Lake even better.

    Sincerely, The Spofford Lake Association

    Mind the Muck.  Cyanobacteria Alert ⚠️

     July 23, 2022--This week we had our second cyanobacteria bloom in three years, again in hot, sunny, dry conditions.   What seems to be cyanobacteria, was observed in three locations on the west shoreline of the Lake. 

    The SLA, working on the advice from DES, will have samples tested for toxicity by a lab in Florida early next week after which we will know the composition and chemical characteristics of this material.  In the meantime:

          Avoid areas where this material is concentrated either on shore or in the water.

          Keep pets and children away from this material.

          Don't drink, wash, or cook with lake water.

          Swimming and otherwise recreating away from areas of concentrations is best.

          Wash off after being in the Lake.

    More information, go to the SLA website where you will find information from the State and the US EPA, along with photos that will help with identification.  

    As background, the 'blooms' seem to derive from benthic mats below the water's surface. In the hot weather, they dislodge and wash on shore with other plants and grasses.  They present as dark organic material being somewhat gritty in appearance. In the water, they can aggregate or appear as small green, brown, or black fluffy balls of filamentous material. Cyanobacteria from benthic mats are generally less toxic than the planktonic variety, which appear blue/green/yellow in the water column.

    We will keep you updated as more detailed information becomes available.  Check the SLA website, and our Facebook and Instagram pages.


    Get Acquainted with LakeSmart:  The Spofford Lake Association will host an educational session on LakeSmart on Wednesday, August 10 @ 6:30pm at Chesterfield Old Town Hall, 490 Route 63. 

    NH LAKES initiated this program to educate homeowners on the better lake-friendly practices in property management techniques and activities.  Gloria Norcross, an associate at NH LAKES will describe the program, what it entails for homeowners, and how they can participate.  We will also gain the insights for Spofford Lake residents who have gone through (or are going) the process.  For the purposes of headcount, we ask you to register here.  The session is FREE.  


    Annual Meeting:  We had a great turnout of over 100 members and friends.  Many thanks to our sponsors, Camp Spofford and The Actors Theatre Playhouse of West Chesterfield.   For those you were not at the session, the results will be reported in the 2022 newsletter, which will be out soon.  In the meantime, click here to view the presentation provided by SLA President Bayard Tracy.  To watch a video montage of the seasons of Spofford Lake, click here.  Finally, congratulations to new Board Member Kelli Hanzalik.    

    Loons and Lead:  Did you know that the single largest threat to loons is lead fishing tackle? Between 1989 and 2017, 44% of adult loon mortality was attributed to lead.  To address the issues, Loon Preservation Committee has initiated a new program ‘Loon Safe’ where are you paid to ‘get the lead out’ of your tackle box.  For details visit loonsafe.org.

    Cyanobacteria:  Correction.   The July 13 LLG indicated that as of July 1 the Governor had not yet signed HB 1066.  Indeed, the bill was signed on July 1.  Members of an advisory committee are now being sought.  See our Legislative Update for more info. 


    It’s hot out there.  Don’t forget the sunblock. 😎  The Spofford Lake Association

    Cyanobacteria  Alert Issued for Spofford Lake

    July 20, 2022--This is to inform you that earlier today the NH-DES has issued a Cyanobacteria Alert for Spofford Lake.

    Cyanobacteria activity has been observed as dark or black mats, and fluffy material on the west shoreline of the lake off Route 63, and on the west end of North Shore Road.  This is similar to the event that occurred in 2020, and similar cyanobacteria taxa have been observed (primarily Tolypothrix, with some Stigonema and Oscillatoria).  

    The mats of cyanobacteria have come from the bottom of the lake and are washing along the shores, carried by winds and currents.  As they are benthic mats and not planktonic within the water, the density is too numerous to count.

    This material can cause rashes and NHDES advises that lake goers avoid contact with these mats/accumulations of cyanobacteria.  It is also important to keep pets from interacting with this material.  

    This alert is NOT based on a toxin evaluation, and is intended as a precautionary measure for short term exposure.  Please continue to report changing cyanobacteria conditions to NH-DES as well as the SLA.

    Click here to see the full DES alert and also check our webpages on Cyanobacteria for further information.

    Follow our website for more information as it becomes available.

    Best regards, The Spofford Lake Association

    Annual Meeting Details and More

    July 13,2022--Annual meeting:  A record number of members, about 115, have registered to attend this year's Annual Meeting.  A separate e-mail will be sent to registered attendees, but just in case, here are a few details to be aware of;

    • Parking will be very tight at the Yacht Club.  Please plan to walk, bike or car pool with friends.  
    • Please  remember to bring either an electronic or printed copy of the QR Code that came with your registration e-mail.  This will make the process quick and easy.
    • Bring cash or checks to purchase raffle tickets.  Neither credit or debit cards can be accepted, and we are not yet ready for crypto currency!  Checks will also be accepted for membership renewal if you have not done so already.  
    • Registration will open at 4:30. There will be seating inside (approximately 70 seats) and the balance will remain outside under a tent.  We will have remote audio, and hopefully video, at the tent for the business portion of the meeting .
    • This is a BYOB event, so come prepared with your favorite libation. Mixers and soft drinks will be provided.
    • Please be aware that we will be full to capacity and walk up tickets and seating will not likely be available.

    Cynaobacteria:  As of July 1, the Governor had still not signed the legislation (HB 1066) requiring DES to create a plan to address cyanobacteria blooms though no surprises are expected.  More on this at our Legislative Update

    More locally, a Spofford enthusiast descended the depths of the Lake in search of potential cyanobacteria benthic mats, see side bar photo.  Several suspected samples were taken and sent to the State lab for analysis.  Fortunately, no cyanobacteria were identified.  

    SmileAmazon:  Your donations have been received!  For the folks who have already selected the Spofford Lake Association as their charitable organization, thank you very much.  The SLA has received its first funds transfer from Amazon.    

    You too can designate the SLA as your charitable organization.  Click here to learn how.  SmileAmazon, a portal separate from Amazon’s main site, offers the same items and prices as Amazon.com, with one big difference.  When users shop on Smile.Amazon.com, the Amazon Foundation will contribute 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases directly to the SLA.  Once registered, be sure to use the Smile.Amazon.com site NOT Amazon.com.   For more information, visit our AmazonSmile page.

    Loons:  There will be no loon chick in 2022.  The Loon Preservation Committee and Spofford’s “Chief Loon”, Val Starbuck, visited Pierce Island on July 7 and found no sign of a new nest or egg.  (A nest and egg were sighted earlier this year on the west side of the island, thus the signage.)  Abandonment is not uncommon, likely caused by too much human activity and the nest being too exposed.  

    In the meantime, a third adult has been seen feeding and frolicking with the other two.  Is it the 2021 chick?  We can’t know for sure but thanks to long-term banding, biologists now know that male Common Loons are much more likely to return to natal waters, while females tend to find a different spot to mate and raise a family.  As a Lake Host quipped, 'the boy came home for Mom to do his laundry and make his dinner.'

    Lake Water Level:  The Town continues to send weekly updates to the SLA for posting to our Lake Water Level page.  Boards at the damn have not been moved since May 30.  Precipitation levels have been lower than normal and so too the summer level of Spofford Lake.  

    Enjoy the beautiful weather and see you at the Annual meeting.  The Spofford Lake Association

    July 2, 2022--Happy July 4th.  Annual Meeting Ticket Sales Are Closed.

    Happy July 4 to you and your family.

    Be safe everyone:  It promises to be a busy weekend with plenty of boating, kayaking, swimming, and merriment.  With so many making use of the Lake, please be extra watchful of your surroundings and perhaps review our Smart Boating page. And be on the lookout for the loons too.

    Annual Meeting:  Be aware that the Annual Meeting is now sold out.  No more tickets will be sold. However, if you or your family would like to help sponsor the event, please click here.  There is still the opportunity to donate items to the raffle.  So far, we have some wonderful prizes including full day passes to the 2023 Travelers Championship Golf Tournament, six tickets for a Patriots home game this fall, some full day lift tickets at Mount Sunapee. 

    Photos:  Don’t forget to post your holiday photos to the Spofford photo page.  Login into you account to do so.  It’s easy to post.  Log into your account, go to News+ >Photos, click Upload and browse your computer.  That’s it.  Add 5 pics at a time and, if you are inclined, add a caption too!  

    We’d love you see pics of you and your family decked out in your custom Spofford Lake 4th of July finery. 

    Have a great time,  The Spofford Lake Association

    Loonessy Begins and Annual Meeting

    June 25, 2022--And so it begins, again…what one lake resident refers to as ‘loonessy season’.  The loons of Spofford are again nesting.  In about a month, with luck and if everyone gives the loons their space, another chick or two will be hatched. (There's only one egg).  The nest, again on the west side of Pierce Island, is in an extremely exposed position, open to humans, dogs, and eagles.  The area has been cordoned off both at water level and on the island.  If you are on the water, whether motor boater or kayaker, please respect the barriers and signage, and use binoculars to view the nesting birds.  

    If you venture onto the island, please resist the temptation to ‘take a peek’ at the nest as this only stresses the parents who are already in a precarious position, and with enough stress they may abandon the nest.  Please respect the signs that have been posted and, in particular, keep your dog leashed and well away from our feathered friends. 

    The Spofford Lake Association will hold its 2022 Annual Meeting on Saturday, July 16 at the Spofford Yacht Club, beginning at 4:30pm.  Based on member feedback from our recent survey, we’ve booked a Saturday evening and an earlier start time.  Appetizers, dinner, and dessert will be catered.  This is a BYOB event, but mixers and soft drinks will be available.  A covered outdoor seating alternative will be provided, as will an audio (and possibly video) hookup to hear and see the business part of the session.  

    Tickets are only being sold on line and early registration ticket prices are $35.00 per person through July 1, after which they increase to $40, until capacity is reached.  In order to help us and the caterer with an accurate headcount please register soon.  

    Parking at the SYC is very limited, so please walk, bike or carpool with neighbors and friends.  

    Is your family or business interested in sponsoring part of the Annual meeting?  Would you like to donate sports tickets, personal services, a stay at a vacation home or other valuable items to the SLA as a raffle prize?  If so, please visit our sponsorship page or e-mail us at;  Info@SpoffordLakeAssociation.org

    In other news:  

    Near Miss: Recently, a swimmer was nearly hit by a power boat.  Spofford Lake should be safe for everyone, so it’s a good time to draw your attention to our Smart Boating page.  As a special reminder, swimmers, please: 

    •   Stay within 50 feet of the shoreline.
    •   Wear a highly visible swimming cap or floatation buoy topped with flag so you are easily seen by vessel operators.
    •   Avoid swimming in early dawn and after dusk hours when visibility is poor.

    And power boaters, 

    •   Be on the lookout for hazards, and especially for swimmers, and maybe loons.
    •   Follow the speed limits: 20 mph maximum between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, 40 mph maximum at all other times.
    •   Maintain a minimum distance of 200 feet from the shoreline if tubing or water skiing, 300 feet if wake boarding/surfing. 

    Please, everyone, be safe out there! 

    Out-of state boats:  Did you know that boats docked, moored, or operating on any NH lake that are not registered in the state, must register and purchase an out of state decal.  Lake Hosts provide brochures to visitors at the boat ramp.  The Marine Patrol may issue fines for non-compliance.  Click Here for details.

    SLA Store:   July 4th Spofford Lake merch is ready to be shipped to the holiday event at your house.  We have ours.  What about you?  Hurry and get your T-shirts in time for the festivitiesJust click here!

    Water Quality Friendly Lawn Care:  Learn how to have an attractive, sustainable lawn that that protects Spofford’s water quality.  View the sessionpresented by NH LAKES.

    Enjoy, The Spofford Lake Association

    June 14, 2022--Continuing the Fight Against Runoff

    In the May 13 edition (below) of the Lake Lover Gazette, we noted that water quality is ‘Job #1.’  Another important priority is fighting, or continuing to fight, runoff.  Here’s an update on projects under that crucial heading:

    Public Boat Launch:  Bruce Soltys, the SLA 319 grant coordinator, reports that after a long administrative delay, Spofford Lake has been awarded, another Section 319 grant, which is funded, in part, by NHDES via the Federal Clean Water Act.  The grant, valued at $113,000, will focus primarily on the public boat launch and parking lot area. Additionally, three priority shoreline properties will be selected for stormwater management remediation.   Initial planning is underway with the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, NH DES, NH DOT, the Town of Chesterfield, and the SLA all participating.  Treating these four sites is expected to reduce phosphorus loading to the Lake by an estimated 4.1 kg/yr, or 22% of the 19 kg/yr reduction target set in the Watershed Management Plan. 

    If you are interested in participating in this or a future runoff project, please send an email to Bruce at soltys35@gmail.com.  Project work is expected to be completed in 18 months or by December 31, 2023. 

    Other runoff projects have been completed over the past few years at Camp Spofford, the Spofford Yacht Club, B&K Club, Family Rec Beach, and a number of private residences.  

    Pinnacle Springs:  The Town of Chesterfield has applied for a $100,000 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) grant to design and manage the stormwater runoff from Pinnacle Springs Road flowing into the watershed. This runoff is most visible in the Bennet Road area, flowing across Route 63 and into the Lake. The grant application is characterized as a comprehensive ‘top to bottom’ plan.  To prepare the pre-application, the SLA Board of Directors approved a $2,500 expenditure to FB Environmental.  Upon grant approval, the SLA will be reimbursed these funds.  

    It is expected that DES will approve/deny this project before September 1, 2022.  Any planning and design would be done in 2023.  Construction would be done in 2024.  

    These grants monies are made possible, in part, by Federal Government appropriations, which help fund NHDES’ Clean Water State Revolving Fund. 

    Here’s what else is happening around the Lake: 

    SLA 2022 Annual Meeting:  We are returning to a live, in person, Annual Meeting, which will be held at the Spofford Yacht Club on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, July 16th.  Tickets are available on the SLA website.  They are $35.00 per person until July 8th, and then $40.00 per person, thereafter until capacity is reached. Buy early, help us plan.  Don’t miss out!   

    There will be an expanded social hour (or two), a catered dinner, and a brief annual business meeting, along with a supporting raffle with some great prizes.  As in the past, this will be a BYOB event, but we will supply mixers and soft drinks.  Dessert and coffee will be served.  Arrangements are being made for those who wish to attend and be seated outdoors.  We are also working on arrangements to present the business portion of the meeting via Zoom.

    Photos:  Post your photos to the SLA website.   We’d be delighted to use them, just like we did with ones posted by Gary Galka, showing our 2021 loon chick being rescued from the ice by the Loon Preservation Committee.  Thank you LPC!  It’s easy to post.  Log into your account, go to News+ >Photos, click Upload and browse your computer.  That’s it.  Add 5 pics at a time and, if you are inclined, add a caption too!

    Beavers:  You may have noticed a delay in the reporting of Lake Water Level.  It seems that branches had to be removed from in front of the dam.  At first it was thought that humans were the culprits.  However, it was determined that beavers had set up shop there.  Fortunately, the beavers have moved on and the water is flowing again.  

    NH LAKES Congress:  A delegation of five attended.  Pam Walton, representing the Conservation Commission, spoke at a session entitled “Municipal Enforcement of Lake-Friendly Policy:  A Community Conversation” on the topic of Chesterfield’s wastewater/septic regulation.  See SLA’s septic page which has a new section called Your Septic Your Lake. 

    Membership:  We have again hung posters at various locations in Brattleboro, Chesterfield, and Keene.  Flyers are again being distributed at the 4 clubs/camps around that Lake and SLA President, Bayard Tracy, spoke at the June 6 meeting of the Lions Club.  Our efforts are paying off as we have signed up 13 new members since January 1.  Please email us with your suggestions of where posters might be hung or distributed.

    Best wishes and Happy Father's Day, The Spofford Lake Association

    Welcome back to Spofford Lake.  Happy Memorial Day.

    May 28, 2022--The 2022 season has begun, unofficially.  Heres whats happening around Spofford Lake.

    Do You Know” Campaign?: The SLA has started a hardcopy mail campaign targeted at property owners in the Spofford Watershed, those directly on (or really close) to the Lake and those elsewhere in the watershed.  The first mailing is with the printer and should be in your hands soon.  This is the first step in providing information on what homeowners need to know about a host of issues related to property ownership and practices promoting lake water quality.  One DES Fact Sheet is entitled Got Permits” and focuses on land management projects.  Another is on “Vegetation Management for Water Quality.”  Yet another focuses on “Permitting Non-Tidal Beaches.”  Others will be provided, periodically, over the weeks and months to come. 

    All this material will be housed on the SLA website, on a new page, titled, "Homeowners Guide".  The Homeowners Guide will also house resources on Beaches & Sand, Docks, Swim Lines and Septic Systems.  Please e-mail us with any suggestions you may have about other information that you would like to see included on this page.

    Annual Meeting: Planning for the Spofford Lake Association's 2022 Annual Meeting is now under way.  This year we will be returning to an in person format, (hopefully with a live stream).  The meeting is being planned for Saturday, July 16th at the Spofford Yacht Club.  Please mark your calendar to save the date, and watch our Annual Meeting webpage for further information, as well as on-line registration.

    Lake Water Level: Water levels are checked twice per week.  The boards in the dam are then adjusted as directed by the Town of Chesterfield Board of Selectmen.  Consistent with the 2021 program, SLA is notified of the water and board levels and posts on our Lake Water Level webpage for your ready.  

    4thof July:  With one summer holiday underway, another is just around the corner.  Hurry and buy custom Spofford themed 4th of July t-shirts, sweatshirts, and water bottles at our store.  Typical print and ship time take up to 3 weeks, so plan accordingly. 

    Survey Results:  On April 3rd SLA members were asked to respond to a 12 question survey.  Many thanks to the nearly 60 member respondents. Results are posted on the; Our Board Meetings webpage. The principal takeaways were: 

    1. The manner and frequency of our communications to you is right on target.
    2. Water quality should be SLA’s top priority.
    3. 98% of respondents are using our website and find it useful, especially for water quality information.
    4. An Annual Meeting should be held this year and most members would attend in person. Social time should be expanded. 
    5. Increase outreach to seasonal resident, renters, and community members.  

    SmileAmazon:  Have you chosen the Spofford Lake Association and it's Lake Preservation Fund to receive your free donations yet?  Its easy and no cost to you.  To learn more, visit out SmileAmazon page. 

    Chesterfield Happenings:  While the SLA tries to keep its members, Town residents and non-residents alike, informed about the major activities and events, better and more complete information can come directly to your email.  To receive the monthly Chesterfield Happenings” sign up by emailing tricia.lachenal@nhchesterfield.com

    May 13, 2022--Job #1, Water Quality

    The SLA has long worked to protect the quality of the waters of our beautiful lake.  Volunteer teams have, for some 20 years plied the waters during the summer taking samples at multiple locations.  In 2018, the core sediment analysis report noted some worrisome conclusions including steadily declining dissolved oxygen. At several tributaries draining into the Lake, “high” to “excessive” levels of phosphorous, and “chronic” levels of chloride are regularly detected.  E. coli bacteria, which can be harmful to humans and animals at high concentrations, has reared its head from time to time.  And in 2020 and 2021 cyanobacteria appeared.  The Lake is changing.

    • Understanding the importance of Spofford Lake to the economic well-being of the Town, the Chesterfield Board of Selectmen (BOS), established in November 2021, a “Watershed Committee,” the purpose of which is to make recommendations to safeguard and improve the watershed of Spofford Lake.  Bayard Tracy and Dan Syvertsen, SLA President and Vice President, respectively, are two of the six members.  Other members are:  Ron Coburn, Charlie Paquette, Brad Roscoe, and BOS representative Judy Idlekope.  

      One early conclusion of the Watershed Committee is that more needs to be learned about the source(s), volume, and seasonality of contaminants entering the Lake.  With the agreement of the BOS, the Watershed Committee requested the SLA Board of Directors to expand its existing Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP). The BoD heartily agreed.  

      To prepare for 2022 (and by the way also respond to the number one concern of members), the SLA engaged FB Environmental (FBE) to work with Chris Oot, who manages our water quality team monitoring program, is a Lake resident, and career environmental engineer.  Specifically, FBE was tasked with making recommendations to ensure the SLA’s 2022 WQMP would provide the data needed to support the “Lake Loading Response Model” (LLRM) that FBE developed as part of the 2018 Spofford Lake Watershed Management Plan. FBE is also tasked with updating the LLRM with the more recent water quality data collected from 2018-2022.  The LLRM predicts the impact on the Lake of different future development scenarios in the watershed and is a powerful planning tool for the Town.  With that in mind, here’s what this year’s WQMP will encompasses:

    • 1.   Winter:  Six stations, were tested once per month, during the months of January, February and March for chloride and conductivity.  Chloride, and associated levels of conductivity, are typically attributed to the use of road salt.  Previously, tests were not conducted in the winter.
    • 2.   Spring and Fall:  For the first time, the SLA is testing the levels of total phosphorous during “turnover” i.e., when the Lake water is in a mixed condition.  Turnover occurs twice a year in lakes that are “stratified” meaning there are three distinct thermal layers during most of the year.  In the Spring, shortly after ice-out, the colder water at the top of the lake sinks, and the warmer water at the bottom rises.  In the Fall, as the surface waters of the lake cool, the process repeats itself.  During these periods of turnover, the lake water is largely homogeneous, and the water quality parameters are similar at all depths. Testing for total phosphorous, in the Spring and the Fall during turnover, provides valuable information about the amount of phosphorous loading that occurs over the summer months.
    • Spring testing for total phosphorous was conducted by NH DES on April 6 and the Fall testing will be scheduled in October once the temperature confirms the lake water is mixed.   Samples are taken at three depths across three locations in the deepest areas of the Lake. 

    • 3.   Locations: Samples will be taken at 30 stations (compared to +/- 20 stations in past years).  Twenty-two of the stations are along tributaries to the lake, both at the shoreline and, for the first time, at upstream locations in the watershed, and eight beaches are also sampled and tested for E. coli bacteria.  The results of this sampling will illuminate the sources of bacteria (E. coli), phosphorous, chloride, conductivity, and turbidity, all of which affect water quality.  Samples will also be taken at the “Deep Spot” to measure the same parameters as on-shore, but also other important parameters including dissolved oxygen, temperature, chlorophyll-a, alkalinity, pH, and water clarity.  For the first time, phytoplankton, which are an indicator of general lake quality, will be tested regularly as part of SLA’s WQMP. 
    • 4.   Summer:  Testing has typically been conducted three months during the summer.  In 2022, samples will be taken four times--May, July, August, and September.  And while tests have been taken in fair weather, this year one of the tests will also be taken at several stations during storm flow conditions.
    • So why the focus on total phosphorous?  Phosphorous is essential for plant growth.  Too much phosphorous in the water promotes excessive plant and algal growth, which in turn absorbs oxygen from the water.  Reduced oxygen levels, called anoxia, stress fish populations, for example, trout.  Phosphorous comes from many sources including faulty septic systems, lawn fertilizers, road salt, and decaying plant matter. 

      All the additional data collected in 2022 will add to a better and more robust understanding of the chemical, bacteriological, and physical underpinnings of the Lake, which in turn will undergird any recommendations made by the Watershed Committee to the BOS.

      Who is paying for all this testing?  The SLA has for years used member dues to underwrite testing.  In 2022, the Town of Chesterfield will also chip in to fund these vital efforts to assure the longterm health, economic and recreational qualities of the Lake and the continuing desirability and value of lakeshore properties.  The total estimated tab for this year’s efforts is about $7,000.  Please consider joining the SLA or increasing your dues level to help us cover this increased expense.  

      And as if the above were not enough, the State is also doing its part.  The 2021 Volunteer Lake Assessment Program report is now available.   The State will soon conduct a new bathometric (i.e., depth) survey of Spofford Lake and produce an updated map.  The current map can be found here. This will provide yet more information on the ways in which the Lake is changing. 

      In others news…

    • SLA Store has added a 4th of July design.  Created with children of all ages in mind, the boat parade theme captures the usual antics around the Lake on Independence Day.  The design can be applied to items of all types e.g., T-shirts, baby bibs, magnets, hoodies, caps, and even aprons.  Buy something for all the visitors who come to celebrate.  Many thanks to designer, Hannah Rand, for fashioning all three of the Store’s new images.
    • Loons:  They’re back! The adult loons have returned.  Hopefully, there will be new chicks in June. Remember the SLA Store has loon themed items too. 
    • Eagles:  A local eagle was spotted fending off a raven.  It’s no joke, check the video!
    • Bass: Spofford is home to 10 bass tournaments, April-September.  Check the calendar for dates. 
    • Rainbow trout:  Spofford will be receiving less than 50% of its ‘normal’ share of yearlings.  For more information visit our Fishing & Boat page or our new Fish page.
    • NH Lakes Lake Congress 2022: After a hiatus, the next Congress will be held on Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3 at Meredith Landing.  To register, and get information, visit the website
    • Annual Meeting: We are currently planning to return to a live, in person, annual meeting this summer.  Be sure to watch the SLA website for save the date information, which should be posted soon.


    April 30, 2022--In keeping with previous precedent, here is our biweekly lake update. 


    Water Quality:  Our first water testing of the year will be on the morning of Monday, May 9th. Volunteers will meet at 9:00 am at Ware's Grove for a brief training session with Sarah Steiner from the NH-DES.  Water samples will be then be collected by three separate teams and transported to Concord for testing.  Everything should wrap up before noon.  Thanks to all those who stepped up to help with this important effort.  Please thank them in person if you see them out on May 9th.

    Incase you haven’t seen it, our 2021 Volunteer Lake Assessment Program report (VLAP) is now completed and posted on the Lake Water Quality page of our website.  We urge you to look at this carefully and be aware of what you can do to help our lake.


    Water Level:  The lake water level is currently just slightly above the summer target level, and the town’s active management program is in full force.  Water levels are now checked twice per week, and the boards in the dam are then adjusted as directed by the Town of Chesterfield select board.  Consistent with last year’s program, SLA is notified of the water and board levels at the dam every Monday, and these are then posted on our Lake Water Level webpage for your convenience.  Just a reminder that the public is requested not to climb on, or around, the dam.  But why would you when you can view things directly from your living room?


    Chesterfield’s Watershed Committee: The Watershed Committee was formed last fall by the Board of Selectmen to recommend actions to protect and improve the watershed.  As a first step, the Select Board, and subsequently the town voters, have approved funding to increase the SLA’s 2022 water testing program.  More to follow as the committee's recommendations evolve. You are welcome to attend meetings virtually or in person, and can review previous meeting minutes on the town’s website.


    Pierce Island:  We are in the process of planning another Pierce Island clean up project for this summer.  Watch for more information about this, and how you can help, in the next few weeks.


    Amazon Smile:  There has been some confusion about the Amazon Smile program.  We would like to clarify that if you sign up for this charitable giving program at Smile.Amazon.com,  you will need to request that donations go to your charity of choice.  We are listed there as; Spofford Lake Association.   When you select the Spofford Lake Association as your charity, 0.5% of your subsequent purchases on Smile.Amazon.com will be donated directly to our Lake Preservation Fund.  For further details see our Amazon Smile webpage under the 'Join Us' section of the website.


    Membership Donations:  As the lake season gets into full swing, now might be a great time make, or renew, your annual membership donation.  Please accept this reminder to help us continue our mission to protect, enhance and sustain the ecological, environmental and recreational character of Spofford Lake and the surrounding watershed.  We need your continued support to meet our 2022 goals.


    A very Happy Mother’s Day to all of our association moms.

    Happy Spring.  We've Got A Lot of News!

    April 15, 2022--The weather is warming.  The ice is out and docks and boats are beginning to go into the water.  The 2022 season is upon us.  The Spofford Lake Association has been busy over the winter and there is a lot to tell you since our last major update in October 2021.  So here goes:

    Survey:  Thanks to the +/- 60 folks who responded to our recent, and first, survey.  The Board of Directors is digesting the results and looks forward to acting on a number of your suggestions.  

    Water Quality:  An overwhelming majority of the survey respondents said that the topic that most interested them was water quality.  To that end, an increased number of tests will be taken in 2022.  In January, February and March tests were taken to measure chloride and conductivity.  In early April, just after ice out, when the Lake is in a ‘mixed ‘condition, the State took samples of total phosphorous at 3 deep locations.   In early May, the VLAP tests will commence.  More on SLA’s water testing program to come.  

    Watershed Committee:  Meetings of this Town of Chesterfield committee are open to the public via Zoom.  Check the Town website for upcoming sessions. 

    Lake Water Level:  Water level was the second area of interest on our survey.  The Board of Selectmen manage the Lake's water level by adjusting the boards, as necessary,  at the spillway abutment.  Water and board levels are reported on the SLA website as changes are made.  Check the SLA website for the current situation.

    SLA Store:  We are very proud to launch 2 new designs, a cute loon pair, and Spofford Lake, NH.   Refresh your wardrobe and purchase items at the Spofford Lake Store. 

    Town of Chesterfield is Hiring:  The new Parks and Rec Director, Darlene Smith, is looking for summer camp counselors and lifeguards. Hourly pay starts at $12.00 and may increase by position and experience.  For more info, email parks@nhchesterfield.com.  

    SLA Board Meetings:  As always, meetings are open to members.  A schedule can be found at Our Team/Our Board Meetings.  The first session of 2022 will be held on Monday, April 18. 

    New Web Pages and More Info:  

    • With hopes that Spofford Lake will again be home to a family of eagles, check out the Wildlife and Bald Eagle pages. 
    • See the Events Calendar for dates of all the bass tournaments, the first one being April 16.
    • Legislative Updates:  We added a bit of info on NH initiatives on cyanobacteria and a possible wake surfing setback. 
    • AmazonSmile:  The Spofford Lake Association is now a registered charity with the AmazonSmile program.  Your eligible purchases can now directly benefit the SLA and its Lake Preservation Fund, at no additional cost to you.  Please help by registering. 

    Land-Based Invasive Species:  While the SLA focusses on water-borne invasive species, our partners are the Chesterfield Conservation Commission ask that homeowners to be on the lookout for pesky land-based invasive plants.  One of the characteristics of invasive plants that gives them an edge is they are the first to arrive, i.e., now in the Spring and the last to leave in the Fall.  Hence, they are often referred to as opportunistic. Read more from UNH. 

    Septic Reminder:   The Chesterfield ‘Happenings’ newsletter reminds homeowners in the Spofford Lake District (SLD) to provide the Town with a completed NHDES Septic Approval for Operation form before November.  If you do not have a NHDES approved septic system, an inspection is needed before November.  Proof of pumping is required for all systems in the SLD at a minimum three-year interval, unless otherwise stated on your approval inspection report.  See the Town website for the full regulation.  Questions?  Contact Tricia at tricia.lachenal@nhchesterfield.com.

    Enjoy the holiday weekend. 

    Ice Out Winner, A brief survey, Please Volunteer

    April 3, 2022--It’s official, the ice is out!  

    At 2pm on Saturday April 2nd, there was no visible ice found anywhere on Spofford lake.  There were seven individuals who entered the lottery and chose the correct date.  Of the seven, Ken Holvik was chosen by random drawing as this year’s winner of the Ice Out Lottery.  Congratulations Ken.  This year’s prize is $ 725.00.  Six consolation prizes and a donation to the Chesterfield Public School Foundation will also be awarded.  Our thanks to all who participated this year.

    We need your feedback.  Please take just a few minutes to complete the short survey to on how you think we’re doing.  The survey is anonymous and only takes but a couple of minutes.  We appreciate your feedback.  Thank you helping us stay on track.

    Finally,  we need your help.  We especially need help with this year’s water testing effort, which will begin very soon.  This new testing system requires 10 to 12 people and only takes 2 - 3 hours. It’s easy and it’s fun.  We will be testing once each month throughout the season, but you need not participate every time.

    Some of the ways you can volunteer with us include:

    • Water testing
    • Weed watch / invasive species
    • Lake hosting
    • Pierce Island maintenance
    • Administrative (Book keeping / membership)
    • Web site maintenance
    • Newsletter
    • Annual meeting
    • 319 Grants
    • On Line Store

    If you can spare a little time, and have interest or expertise in any of the above areas, please click here and send us an e-mail with your contact information and preferences.  Thank you in advance for your willingness to help.

    Best wishes for a safe and fun-filled lake season,


    Shop AmazonSmile and Contribute to the Spofford Lake Preservation Fund

    February 27, 2022--The Spofford Lake Association’s Lake Preservation Fund is now a registered not-for-profit charity of the AmazonSmile program.  

    What is the AmazonSmile program?  The AmazonSmile program donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases to a not-for-profit charity of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you've known for years, same products, and same service, just accessed via a different portal.  Once registered, simply chose Spofford Lake Association as you charity and donations will be made at no extra cost to you and will go automatically into the Spofford Lake Preservation Fund.  

    It's easy, just click here and sign in with your regular Amazon username and password and follow the prompts.  You are all done! 

    Now, the next time you shop, login to Smile.Amazon.com, INSTEAD of Amazon.com.  Purchases made at the regular Amazon.com site will NOT result any donations.  Remember to bookmark Smile.Amazon.com

    If you don’t already have an Amazon account, create one here.  See ‘Create New Amazon Account’ at the bottom of the page and choose Spofford Lake Association as your charity right from this setup page.  

    We appreciate your choosing the Spofford Lake Association, Lake Preservation Fund (LPF) as your AmazonSmile charity.  Established in 2020, the LPF was created with the express purpose of securing funds to remediate any infestation of an invasive species. 

    Want more information on AmazonSmile, visit the new SLA AmazonSmilepage,  ThioJoeTechor Smile.Amazon.com. 

    While the temperature has moderated a bit, there is still full ice cover on the Lake and there is still time to purchase your 2022 Ice Out Lottery tickets.  Tickets sales are on the rise, but will definitely end on Tuesday, March 1.  Don't wait, choose your date(s).  It's not too late.  

    Thanks for your continuing support of Spofford Lake.  

    Sincerely,  The Spofford Lake Association and Ice Out Lottery Committee

    Get Your Ice Out Lottery Tickets ❄️

    February 3, 2022--Fun abounds on a frozen Spofford Lake.  Iceboating, skating, snowmobiling, and polar plunging have all been witnessed in the past weeks on our beautiful lake.  The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a ‘frosty flip-flop winter.’  Towards the end of February, it predicts a “winter whopper” storm for parts of the Northeast and Ohio Valley.  

    But how long will the ice last?  That is the $10 question.  Make your guess and buy a  $10 ticket to the Spofford Lake Ice Out Lottery.  Any single winner will take home 50% of the proceeds with the balance being divided between the Chesterfield Public School Foundation and the SLA.  

    Meantime, the lakes and their wildlife are taking a seasonal siesta.  To learn about what goes on under the ice layer, watch the NH LAKES session on ‘Lakes in Winter.’  

    Ticket sales will be ending on February 15, so don’t wait!

    Good luck,  The Spofford Lake Association, Ice Out Lottery Committee

    Get Tickets While the Ice Lasts, Chesterfield's Watershed Committee, and NH Cyanobacteria Commission

    January 15, 2022--Ice now covers Spofford Lake! But how long will it last?  Make your guess by purchasing Spofford Ice Out Lottery tickets.  Last year’s winner took home the tidy sum of $885.  Lottery proceeds will be shared with the Chesterfield Public Schools Foundation. Ticket purchases close on February 14.  

    In late 2021, the Chesterfield Selectmen created a five person ‘Watershed Committee’ to recommend actions to safeguard and improve the Spofford Lake Watershed. 

    As a first step, the Committee is focusing on the Lake's water quality, using phosphorus levels as the primary metric of quality.  To that end, the Committee is considering ramping up the SLA’s 2022 water testing program to more fully understand the Lake's phosphorus load.  DES has offered their help. Any Watershed Committee recommendation must be approved for action by Town Selectmen.  To review minutes and/or attend meetings, either in-person or virtually, go to the Town’s website.   

    On January 10, SLA President Bayard Tracy sent the message below to the NH House Resources, Recreation, and Development Committee (NHHRRDC) urging the creation of a cyanobacteria commission to investigate and analyze the environmental, human and health impacts of cyanobacteria blooms in state waterbodies.  

    If established, the study commission would be the first-time experts, including veterinarians, universities, conservation groups, lake advocates, and NH policymakers come together to address the increasing frequency and severity and economic impact posed cyanobacteria blooms and suggest ways to mitigate the threat.

    Spofford Lake Association message to the NHHRRDC follows:

    “Speaking for Spofford Lake Association's 300+ contributing members, the SLA's board of directors urges you to approve HB 1066.

    “We know first-hand from a significant cyanobacteria bloom in the autumn of 2020, that little is known of the causes, costs and health risks of these events. When confronted with this lake-wide bloom, the Spofford Lake Association had one excellent but overwhelmed person at the Department of Environmental Services to help us. With DES, we identified the species, managed the Town's response and had the Lake water's toxicity measured by a lab in Florida. Residents were advised not to use or allow their pets in the Lake. Beaches were closed. Rentals were cancelled. 

    “We still don't know the bloom's cause. As a result, we can't fully plan how to properly respond to the next event. HB 1066 is a start to put in place the knowledge and understanding of how to deal with cyanobacteria blooms in the future. The health of NH's Lakes is crucial to the state's economy. All NH residents need these answers.”

    Help Put Our Lakes on a Low-Salt Diet this Winter!  Watch NH Lakes session on YouTube

    Happy 2022 to you and your family.  

    Sincerely, The Spofford Lake Association


    Year End Message and Ice Out Lottery Opens

    December 2, 2021--As 2021 comes to a close, we look back on the summer season with fondness and gratitude for all those who have helped us preserve, protect and sustain Spofford Lake.  Our note of October 22, outlines many of last year’s accomplishments from the nurturing the ‘Spofford loons and eaglets’ to maintaining quality lake water to forestalling milfoil to the 20th anniversary of the Lake Host program, all of which keep our lake moving forward.  

    Other noteworthy undertakings, all of which are firsts for the SLA, include: our new website with pages on Lake water levels, Smart Boating, Loons, Our History, and Glossary of Lake Terms, also the creation of an SLA Store, our 'remote' Annual Meeting, SLA volunteers cleaning up Pierce Island, and the creation of the Ice Out Lottery.  2021 was indeed a busy and productive year.

    Recently the Chesterfield Board of Selectmen created a five member 'Watershed Committee'  to examine issues facing the Lake watershed and to recommend actions the town might take to mitigate these issues.  This is another important step by town leadership to acknowledge the importance of the Lake's long term health to the community. 

    The SLA is finishing the year in good financial shape with sufficient cushion to meet our operating expenses.  Earlier this fall, we transferred a portion of our surplus to the Lake Preservation Fund (LPF). With this, plus donations from members, the LPF balance now totals $77,000.

    This said, our membership numbers are down from last year.  For those who have not yet made your tax-deductible membership dues payment for 2021, we urge you to do so before the close of the year.  Your support helps continue our many programs and foster new ones.  And, as noted above, please consider donating, separately, to the LPF.  These funds are dedicated to battling any invasive species that might take root in the Lake, despite the good efforts of our dedicated Lake Host and Weed Watcher teams. 

    The second annual Ice Out Lottery is now open for ticket purchase.  This year’s partner organization is the Chesterfield Public Schools Foundation, which will benefit from nearly 25% of all ticket sales.  Last year, 177 tickets were sold.  This year promises to be bigger and better, and we are looking to top 250.

    In closing, I would like to again acknowledge and thank all those who support and work to sustain Spofford Lake. 

    All the best to you and your families during the upcoming holiday season.

    Sincerely, Bayard Tracy, President


    2021 Season Wrap Up

    October 22, 2021--Spofford Lake is extremely fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteers.  We offer a very hearty thank you to the many men and women who, in 2021, helped us protect, enhance, and sustain our wonderful lake.  

    Water Quality: Chris Oot, Coordinator

    The comprehensive water quality monitoring program was conducted in June, July, and August.  Samples were taken at 24 stations, 19 on-shore and 5 on-lake.  Eleven water quality parameters were measured.

    The water in Spofford Lake can be characterized as very good, with clarity (i.e., visibility), total phosphorous levels, and chlorophyll-a levels, all measured at the deep spot in the Lake, meeting NH standards for “Good” or “Very Good.”  Low to negligible levels of bacteria (E. coli) was present at the beaches and the boat ramp.

    A continuing issue of concern, however, is the level of dissolved oxygen (DO), which has been declining steadily for years.  Low DO is symptomatic of high levels of phosphorous in the lakebed, which in turn, enables the growth of algae and other plants in the water.  By summer’s end, Spofford’s DO, at 14 meters, was below desired levels for fish species, including trout.  

    The summer’s water quality data has been sent to the NH DES, which will prepare the Spofford Lake Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP).  Results are expected in March 2022.

    Lake Host: Frank Turner and Art Huggins, Coordinators

    October 3rd was the last day of boat inspections.  SLA’s seven ramp hosts inspected 5,557 boats (down from 2020’s count of 6,823), surprisingly 47% motorized and 53% non-motorized.  Spofford Lake Hosts recorded the second highest number of inspections in the State after Lake Pawtuckaway.  At least one hitchhiker weed was plucked from a kayak, which had recently been in the milfoil-infested CT River.  Fortunately, lab results concluded that the hitchhiker was NOT an invasive variety. Good work Lake Hosts. 

    Weed Watcher: Val Starbuck, Coordinator

    We very happy to report that our Weed Watchers  and SOLitude Biologist, Amanda  Mahaney, paid for by your membership dues investment, reported NO signs of exotic weeds in our beautiful lake.  

    Our volunteer Weed Watch team performed over 50 hours of shoreline searches, though the unseasonal weather made it very difficult with clouds, rain, and winds.  Many of the Weed Watchers reported fewer overall weeds this year, but we don’t have any rationale for that.  One, very limited, Cynaobacteria bloom in June quickly dispersed and there was no sign of the exotic Water Chestnut weed, which was spotted two years ago.   Thanks to our vigilant lake residents for bringing these occurrences to our attention.  

    Our Weed Watch volunteers are not daunted easily and managed to search their respective areas twice as has been done for about 20 years.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who give their time for this important effort.  It’s one thing we actually have some control over to keep Lake Spofford safe from the menacing exotic weeds and animals.

    Pierce Island Oversight:   Art Huggins, Coordinator

    In the Spring, the SLA signed a two-year agreement with NH Parks & Recreation to maintain Pierce Island.  In July, SLA maintenance crews spent 2 days tagging small trees for removal, clearing obstructed pathways, and stacking wood for transport this winter.  We’ll put a call out for volunteers to complete the job this winter. 

    Loons:  Val Starbuck, Coordinator

    Our  loon family is preparing the chick for independence.  The chick spends more of the day alone fishing, preening, and enjoying the Fall weather.  Mother is never very far away though and still joins her chick most evenings to stay close through the night.  This alone time is preparing him (or her, wish I knew) to fish on his own and otherwise fend for himself.  Soon, the parents will head to the ocean for the winter.  The chick will not leave with them, he will stay a while longer to mature and get ready for his first flight.  Bon voyage.

    Please don’t forget:   

    • Septic Regulation:  In November 2020, the Wastewater Health Regulation for the Spofford Lake District went into effect.  Don’t forget to submit the form certifying an operable system for your property.  Questions can be directed to the Chesterfield Health Officer, Steve Dumont at 603-363-4624 x12. 
    • Winter Water Level:  The boards for the Winter Water Level were set at 715 feet 6 inches on/about October 18.  
    • Muck Control—Reduce the organic material turning into muck in front of your home by clearing the shoreline of leaves (both Autumn and Spring).  Remember, it is not permissible to remove rooted plants from the Lake. Watch NH Lakes video on Shoreline Tree and Vegetation ManagementRules for Waterfront Properties for more info. 

    Thanks to the urging of neighbors and our new recruitment campaign, SLA has 10 new members.  If you have not yet sent in your tax-deductible membership dues or contribution to the Lake Preservation Fund (LPF), please do so soon. We appreciate your support!  

    After the success of Ice Out 2021, be on the lookout for 2022 version. Tickets will go on sale in early December.  

    Finally, congratulations to Ron Coburn, Charlie Paquette, Brad Roscoe, Bayard Tracy, and Dan Syvertsen, all of whom were recently named to Chesterfield’s Watershed Committee. 

    Happy Fall to all, The Spofford Lake Association

    The Latest News from the SLA

     July 24, 2021--SLA Annual Meeting:  SAVE THE DATE—August 4 @ 7:00 pm.  As previously announced, the Board of Directors decided that this year’s meeting will be held via Zoom on August 4.  Several important agenda items must be voted on, so please log in, listen, learn, and vote.  Agenda items will include: changes to the By-Laws, election of new directors and next year’s officers, and a report on SLA finances.   

    Our special guest speaker, Dr. Lisa Doner, who led the Core Sediment Analysis, will discuss what her team learned that can help us help Spofford Lake.  For details, including the Zoom link, go to the Annual Meeting  page on the SLA website.

    Pierce Island Cleanup (Part 1):  On July 28-30, a team, led be Art Huggins, will gather to begin the tagging and removal of small trees and debris from unsafe paths.  Are you willing to help for 1 or even all 3 days?  No experience is necessary, just a willingness to help and some sturdy shoes.  Certified chain saw operators will be on site.  If you can spare a few hours to help improve Pierce Island, please, send an email and we’ll provide you more details.   Part 2 of the cleanup is envisaged for the winter when snowmobiles and their sleds will remove wood and other debris from the island.

    Lake Hosts:  Happy Anniversary!  πŸŽˆ Did you know that the Lake Host program is celebrating 20 years?  Spofford Lake joined the program in its first year of operation.  Jozefa Johnson and Val Starbuck, aided by Fred Newton (and others) blazed the trail for what has become a robust and well-run program that has kept Spofford Lake milfoil-free.  Starbuck recalls that “… it was difficult back then because people didn't really want to waste any time to comply with checking their boats. It was a battle for a few years until education became more widespread and then boat owners got on the bandwagon.”  Jozefa adds that “once the State provided pamphlets and other educational materials” boaters started to take the program seriously.”  We should all be grateful to Jozefa, Val, Fred and the others for being so forward thinking!  We all have benefitted from their early efforts. 

    NH LAKES, the sponsor of the program, reports a record-breaking 130,000 boat and trailer inspections were completed in 2020, nearly 30,000 more than 2019.  

    Frank Turner and Art Huggins, who manage the Spofford Lake Host team of 8, tell us they expect another record in 2021.  In the first 8 weeks of the season, May-October, Lake Hosts have already inspected more than 2,200 boats.  

    According to NH LAKES, here is how the program has evolved from 2002 to 2020.

    • Participating boat ramps:  45 -->94
    • Lake Host inspectors:  161 --> 598
    • Boat/trailer inspections:  <25,000 --> 130,000
    • Invasive species ‘saves’:  1,635 from 55 water bodies.  Fanwort and variable milfoil are the top two offenders.  
    • Spofford Lake Hosts:  In 5 different years, our Lake Hosts have intercepted invasive species from boats before entering the Lake.  2013 was the last year of a recorded ‘save.’  Great job Lake Hosts!  Spofford lake is all the better because of your efforts.  

    For details on the Spofford Lake Host program and to see our team, visit Lake Host

    Now that the rain has finally stopped, go out and enjoy the Lake.   Sincerely, The Spofford Lake Association


    The Latest News from the SLA, mid-July Update

    Lake Water Level:  Questions? 

    Pierce Island:  Art Huggins needs your help!  The Pierce Island cleanup is scheduled for July 28-30 and will involve the removal of small trees to allow larger ones to flourish.  Day 1 is expected to be training and tagging.  Days 2 and 3 are felling (by certified operators) and stacking.  To sign up, send us an email to volunteer one or all three days.

    SLA Annual Meeting: The meeting will be virtual this year.  Due to uncertainty of attendance and with no availability of a local venue, the Board decided to hold the meeting via Zoom.  Several important agenda items must be voted on.  They include: changes to the By-Laws, election of new directors and next year’s officers, and a report on SLA finances.   

    Our special guest speaker, Dr. Lisa Doner, who led the Core Sediment Analysis, will present on what her team learned that can help us save Spofford Lake.  For more information, go to the Annual Meeting  page on the SLA website.

    Loon Update:  The call of the Common Loon is not so common in southern New Hampshire. And yet Spofford Lake is home again to a pair of adults, who for a second year have hatched one chick. Val Starbuck reports that "Other chicks in the region have not been so fortunate as the Spofford Lake chick, which  seems to be thriving.  I have reports from others that have said their chicks did not make it for one reason or another.   If we remain vigilant when we are out on the water, stay away from the loons and the chick, whether it's in a motor boat or not, then our resident loon family has a much better chance of making it through the summer.“   For more information about these special birds, visit loon.org.  Thank you for giving them plenty of space.

    Water Quality Testing:  The 2021 Water Quality Testing program began on June 30 with samplings taken at nearly 30 locations around the Lake.  It is expected that the team will take samples two more times this season in late July and late August.  The Water Quality team is now headed by Chris Oot, whose background as a civil/environmental engineer, makes him a perfect for the job.  Welcome Chris and thank you.   

    These samples, form the core data for the compilation of VLAP (Voluntary Lake Assessment Program), which will be issued some months after the last submission.  Previous VLAPs are available on the SLA Water Quality page.

    Lake Videos:  NH LAKES has produced a number of videos on lake life and lake sustainability.  A selection has been posted to the Our Partners page, see the NH LAKES section.  Topics include: Keeping the Family Lake House in the Family, Lakes in Winter and The Secret Lives of Lakes.  

    Speaking of videos, check out this YouTube video on Spofford Lake fish.  We’ve heard it said, mostly it seems by unsuccessful anglers, that there are no fish in the Lake.  Maybe that's not quite true.  

    Enjoy your time on the Lake.

    The Spofford Lake Association

    DES Issues a Cyanobacteria Alert for Spofford Lake

    June 30, 2021--A likely, seemingly localized, Cyanobacteria bloom occurred earlier this week in a small and shallow cove in the northwest corner of the Lake. Draining into the cove is an inlet, filled with organic material, which discharges runoff from the ridge line surrounding the Lake.  Given the prevailing wind from the southeast, the cove receives a good deal of floating organic (and other) debris. Shallow, stagnant water, hot weather, and a surplus of organic material are ideal conditions for an algal bloom.  

    Water samples were taken to the DES Lab in Concord on Wednesday, June 30.  SLA expects to receive test results in the coming days at which time we will have better insights on how to chart next steps, if any.  With cooling temperature and more wind, among other factors, the bloom had largely disbursed by the afternoon. 

    We'll keep you posted has we learn more, though at present this bloom seems very different from the material that washed up on the Spofford Lake shoreline last fall.

    If you believe that your beach has a cyanobacteria bloom, please contact both the SLA and Dr. Amanda McQuaid with details of the bloom, a photo, and GPS or location coordinates.  McQuaid can be reached at HAB@des.nh.gov.  Her phone number is 603-848-8094.

    For more info on Cyanobacteria, view Dr. McQuaid’s presentation at a NH LAKES forum on  YouTube or SLA web page

    Watch your e-mail and this website for more information as it becomes available.

    Best regards, Spofford Lake Association

    Summer is Underway and the Loons are Expecting!

    Dear Members, Neighbors, and Lake Lovers:


    June 18, 2021--The weather looks to be warm and inviting this weekend, the perfect time to get out and ski, tube, wake board, fish, paddle and just swim.   Boaters will no doubt be out in force enjoying all that Spofford Lake has to offer.  


    Here are a couple of things to be mindful of this weekend:


    Loons:   An area on the west side of Pierce Island is still cordoned off to give the nesting loons some privacy.  Please keep your distance, whether you are a boater or paddler or curious hiker on the Island. 


    Water level:  The town is working to keep the lake water level at the agreed upon level. Notwithstanding the rain we’ve had recently, the lake is 1” over while the boards are at the agreed height.  While great for boating, the shoreline is much more prone to erosion.  

    With reducing shoreline erosion in mind, we are pleased to unveil our Smart Boating page on SpoffordLakeAssociation.org.  The page provides useful information to all Lake Lovers (paddlers, anglers, and motor boaters alike) on how they can be safe, enjoy the Lake, and help reduce their footprint.  


    Also new to the website is the Pierce Island page.  The SLA has concluded an agreement with the Department of Parks & Recreation to oversee the Island.  We’ll be organizing a clean-up party in July, so stay tuned for more news. 


    Lastly, be on the lookout for the annual newsletter.  It went to the printer earlier this week and should be in your mailbox in the next 10 days.   


    To all the dads, Happy Father’s Day.  Enjoy the weekend.  Sincerely, The Spofford Lake Association 

    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 info@spoffordlakeassociation.org. 




    REACH OUT
    Spofford Lake Association

    PO Box 177
    Spofford, NH 03462

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