What is stormwater runoff?
Spofford, like so many other lakes, suffers the effects of stormwater runoff, i.e., water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground.
Why should I be concerned about it?
Runoff can carry pollution into lakes, ponds, streams, making them unsafe for swimming and creating an unsafe habitat for fish and other animals. According to DES, stormwater runoff contributes to over 90% of the water quality problems in New Hampshire. In the case of Spofford Lake, runoff is a chief contributor to low levels of dissolved oxygen.
While every property in a watershed has the potential to impact water quality, shoreland properties are in the unique position of having a direct impact on the health of the waterbodies on which they are located. Well managed shoreland properties provide a natural woodland buffer, with trees and other vegetation, that intercept surface runoff. Shoreland buffers reduce the effects of nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants, moderate temperature, prevent erosion, and provide critical habitat and food sources to native wildlife.
The critical importance of shoreland buffers to waterbody and ecological health means that shoreland property owners have a unique responsibility and opportunity to protect New Hampshire’s surface waters.
What simple actions can I take on my property?
The NH DES Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater Management provides many good ideas and practical tips on how you can prevent water runoff from your property. Create a family or neighborhood project of it!
Here are just a couple of examples: direct down spouts onto a driveway or hard surface, use a rain barrel to collect and disperse the water, and line trenches and low lying areas with gravel to promote dispersion.
Page updated March 20, 2023