WATER QUALITY REPORT by Jim Martel
On August 28, 2011, Hurricane Irene made a direct hit on Mascoma Lake dropping 3 to 6 inches of rain. All this rain caused the Mascoma River and other tributaries to overflow and transport a lot of sediment into the lake. You may have noticed suspended particles and an uncharacteristic brown color to the lake after the storm. However, most of the sediment appears to have settled out. During one of my dives for milfoil a few days later I noticed that the top layer of water was relatively clear, whereas the water near the bottom was very cloudy and visibility was only about 2 feet. I expect this sediment to continue settling out over the winter months. Samples taken on 13 September, 16 days after the storm, contained slightly more total phosphorus and turbidity than those taken a month earlier. This should also improve over the quiescent winter months. It could have been a lot worse.
In spite of state budget cuts, the VLAP program continues, although at a reduced capacity. DES will continue to maintain the water quality data base but visits by a biologist to check on how we are performing will be reduced to once every two years. The scope of the annual water quality report is still undecided. Hopefully they will continue to publish a report that contains recommendations for improving water quality.
We have a great crew of volunteers who take samples from 22 locations in the lake and tributaries. These intrepid and hardworking volunteers include Austin Flint, Roger Barnes, George Crowe, Jim Magnell, Jack Foster, Ray Buskey, Lee Hammond, and Erland Schulson. I have all the data we collected this year if anyone wants to see it.
We are purchasing a new dissolved oxygen (DO) meter this year thanks to a generous donation in memory of Bill Martin. The old meter was getting cranky and unreliable. The new meter will be much more user friendly. We want to know how much DO there is in the water because it is essential for sustaining fish and other aquatic populations.
As a result of endorsements from the MLA Board, local conservation commissions, select boards, and planning commissions, and our state representatives, the legislature approved the HB 336 which includes the Mascoma River from Canaan Center to the Connecticut River under the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. Governor Lynch signed the bill on 27 July. This is a good thing because it means greater oversight of large projects in the watershed, including those around the lake.
Mascoma Lake Association PO Box 9 Enfield, New Hampshire 03748 email@example.com