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Watershed Management Plan

Why was a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) undertaken?

Lovers of Spofford Lake with long memories began commenting on how the Lake seemed to be changing, for example, fewer fish and more muck.  There were also some worrisome water quality samples and NH DES had re-classified Spofford Lake as 'impaired for aquatic life" due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the Lake's deep areas. With those concerns in mind, the SLA, Southwest Regional Planning Commission (SWRPC) and DES secured a planning grant (approximately $27,000) to fund the Spofford Lake Water Management Plan.  FB Environmental Associates was retained to direct and write the Plan.   

Why is the WMP important? 

It provides a roadmap to taking corrective action to improve water quality.  The Plan outlines a comprehensive description of the Lake's condition, its problems, their causes and what steps all of us can take to improve the water quality of Spofford Lake.  Importantly, the Plan enables a mechanism for procuring implementing grants for remedial action. 

What are the Plan's objectives?

  • Investigate the cause of the Lake’s oxygen impairment.
  • Reduce pollutant levels in the Lake, specifically phosphorus, and 
  • Manage and reduce chloride levels.

Why was Spofford Lake deemed “impaired for aquatic life” by NH  DES?  Low levels of oxygen below 15 meters (often called oxygen impairment) may trigger the release of phosphorus from lake sediments. This creates a nutrient rich environment leading to algal and plant growth in the shallow areas of the shoreline.  Oxygen impairment is also harmful to some fish species such as trout and salmon, both for their overall well being and reproduction.

What actions does the Watershed Plan suggest to improve the Lake's water quality? 

The plan lists 74 action items to be undertaken in the following categories: 

  • Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • Water Quality Monitoring,
  • Watershed and Shoreline BMPs,
  • Planning and Land Conservation,
  • Septic Systems,
  • Roads and Driveways including Salt Management.

What progress has been made completing these 74 action items? 

To date, 48 items have been completed and 18 items are underway. The remaining eight items are not under consideration or are not applicable. 

What are examples of recently completed tasks?

  • Commissioning of  the Lake Paleolimnology (Core Sediment) Report. 
  • Establishment of the Spofford Lake Zoning District. 
  • Enactment of more stringent wastewater health (septic system) regulations. 
  • Agreement between the town and NH DOT to reduce road salting around the Lake, and 
  • Construction to reduce runoff at both Ware’s Grove and North Shore beaches.

What projects are ongoing?

A number of 319 grant runoff-reducing projects are in process or contemplated in the near term for the boat ramp, Route 9, Camp Spofford, Spofford Yacht Club and the various beach clubs.  It is expected that additional shoreline property owners will also participate.

How was the WMP funded?

The WMP was funded by a grant from NH DES, which was provided by the Clean Water Act Section 604(b) funds from the U.S. EPA. Grants are administered by the Southwest Regional Planning Commission.  

Page updated February 2, 2023

Spofford Lake Association

PO Box 177
Spofford, NH 03462

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