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Previous SLA Home pages and member emails

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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:   

  • 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 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.

  • 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. 

Spofford Lake Association

PO Box 177
Spofford, NH 03462

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