Previous SLA Home pages and member emails
(starting with most recent)
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
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.
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:
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. 🦃
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 50-55° 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! 🎃 👻 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
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:
Enjoy the holiday weekend. The Spofford Lake Association
Appreciating the Volunteers who Make a Difference, August 26
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 💧 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. 👍
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. ☔️
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--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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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 email@example.com.
Have fun! 😎 The Spofford Lake Association
Update on July 21 Cyanobacteria Alert and LakeSmart
July 30--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.
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--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.
Follow our website for more information as it becomes available.
Best regards, The Spofford Lake Association
Annual Meeting Details and More
July 13--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;
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:
And power boaters,
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 festivities. Just 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
May 28, 2022--Welcome back to Spofford Lake. Happy Memorial Day.
The 2022 season has begun, unofficially. Here’s what’s 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 homeowner’s 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, "Homeowner’s Guide". The Homeowner’s 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:
SmileAmazon: Have you chosen the Spofford Lake Association and it's Lake Preservation Fund to receive your free donations yet? It’s 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 email@example.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:
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.
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…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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 email@example.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:
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!
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.
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
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:
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 Update
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! 🎈 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.