October 2020 - Now that summer 2020 is behind us and the days are getting shorter and nights are getting longer, we want to give our CPLA members and friends a summary of what we accomplished this past summer.
NH LAKES Lake Host Program
Our second year of the Lake Host Program was a busy one! There was a general increase in boat traffic this summer, most likely because Country Pond provided fantastic COVID-safe recreation options.
We owe the success of this year’s program to our dedicated volunteers, our paid Lake Hosts, member contributions, financial and administrative support from NH LAKES, and funding from the town of Newton.
As a result, our Lake Hosts performed 219 inspections, more than triple the 67 inspections done in 2019. Over 15% of the boats arriving at the ramp came from lakes with exotic species infestations like milfoil. It is important that we continue to protect Country Pond with this program. CPLA wishes to expand the Lake Host program in 2021 with more paid and volunteer hours.
Vice President Jennifer West contributed many hours as Lake Host Coordinator and was assisted by Program Coordinator Pat Masterson. Their time and experience were key to building this program. Our terrific volunteers Sue Zipkin, Ray Madore and Tina Dion put in many hours at the ramp. We totaled 107 volunteer hours for this summer. NH LAKES grants are based in part on the number of volunteer hours so not only did our volunteers give their time, they also “earned” CPLA credit towards next year’s NH LAKES grant.
Funding for our paid employees came from NH LAKES ($1,750 grant), the Town of Newton ($1,000 from warrant article), and the Newton Recreation Commission ($200). The remainder was paid by CPLA member contributions ($1,253).
We are grateful to the Newton voters who supported our funding request for this year’s program and will soon be circulating a petition to request more funding for next summer’s program.
This year we expanded the VLAP program to include additional sampling to provide more data for the Watershed Management team. We thank VLAP Team Coordinator Alicia Geilen for her time and professional expertise as an environmental scientist in managing the sampling and reporting for this important program, Board member Bill Cashin for providing his boat and building test equipment, both Alicia and Bill for transporting samples to Concord, and the Kingston Conservation Commission for funding our laboratory costs and purchasing test equipment.
Thanks to the Kingston Conservation Commission’s funding and Bill's efforts, we no longer share sampling equipment with other lake associations, eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination. Our VLAP program is providing important data for developing a Watershed Management Plan, and the plan is a key requirement for Country Pond to be considered for future NH DES grants and projects.
Our Weed Watchers, led by Board member Tobi Howell, were on the lookout for invasives throughout the spring and summer. Tobi is pleased to report that there are no new infestations at this time, however the number of Chinese mystery snails seem to be on the rise in several locations. Also, there was a possible sighting of spiny naiad near the Northwest inlet once again in the early fall. Wrapping up his second year as a Weed Watcher and first year as program manager, Tobi is our go-to person for questions about aquatic plants and animals. When in doubt he relies on Exotic Species Program Coordinator Amy Smagula at NH DES to answer questions about whether a plant is native or invasive.
Sue Zipkin and the Wilders Grove Cottage Owners’ Association came through for CPLA once again with a raffle basket that earned us $630. We are grateful to them for pulling the raffle together again this year, as COVID put an early end to any plans CPLA had wanted to make for a lake-wide event that everyone could attend.
This year’s CPLA hats sold out fast - if you don’t have yours yet, we still have a couple left and are working on ideas for next year’s merchandise.
Marie Sapienza is now offering a Country Pond Calendar with her beautiful photographs, with 50% of profits going to CPLA. You can purchase a calendar on this page at lulu.com.
Watershed Management Plan Update
The Horsley Witten Group consulting firm has completed its study of Country Pond and updated the 2011 TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load of Phosphorus) estimate.
The results show that less phosphorus is entering Country Pond annually than originally estimated. The original TMDL estimated that a 52% reduction in phosphorus would be required to prevent cyanobacteria blooms, while the updated TMDL estimates that a 21% reduction is required. This is a more achievable goal but making a substantial change in the amount of phosphorus entering Country Pond will require a significant amount of work over the next several years.
This winter NH DES, the Rockingham Planning Commission and CPLA will work on the final version of the Watershed Management Plan. Once it is completed, we will be able to work on grant applications for the remedial projects recommended in the plan. To apply for grants for any project the group will first need to receive matching funds from the towns of Newton or Kingston, as well as landowner permissions where applicable.
UPDATE June 2019 - Drinking water test results are now available from the wells that were sampled in May. Click here to see the results map.
June 2019 - Country Pond Lake Association held its Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 1. The meeting featured a presentation and discussion of the recent findings of PFAS contamination at the Ottati & Goss superfund site, an update on the watershed management plan, an overview of our 2018 VLAP water testing results and a business meeting.
Ottati & Goss PFAS testing
Last winter the Ottati & Goss Superfund site, which borders the western edge of Country Pond between the Lone Tree Scout Reservation and Country Shore Camping Area, was tested for PFAS contamination and high levels of the chemical were found in the groundwater test wells on the site. In May the EPA conducted surface water testing in the tributaries near the Superfund site and at the Country Shore Campground and Lone Tree Scout Reservation.
Jim Brown, EPA Project Manager for the site, presented the results of these tests and fielded questions from attendees. The initial results showed that while PFAS levels in some locations within the tributaries were higher than the current limit for drinking water, they were within the limit considered safe for recreation. The surface water results at Country Shore Camping Area and the Lone Tree Scout Reservation were considerably lower. The EPA has also tested well water at several adjacent properties with results pending. Mr. Brown remarked that while the initial results were encouraging, he will propose that the EPA conduct further testing in the summer to determine whether PFAS levels change in dry conditions.
Robin Mongeon and Michael Summerlin, Civil Engineers with NH DES Hazardous Waste Remediation Bureau, also attended the presentation.
Click here to view the surface water test results and other presentations from the meeting.
Watershed Management Plan
Sally Soule, Coastal Watershed Supervisor for NH DES, discussed the upcoming watershed management study, which is contracted with the Horsley Witten Group. Work is expected to begin in June and will continue through the summer of 2020.
2018 VLAP Results
VLAP Coordinator Alicia Geilen presented the NH DES summary report of our water test results for 2018. Although total Phosphorus levels were lower than they had been in some previous years, Alicia emphasized that seasonal variations do occur and that is it important to look at long-term trends. She did note that conductivity levels were significantly higher than the state average, and this may be the result of road salt.
Association Business Meeting
President Greg Senko presented a recap of the year’s activities and Treasurer Jennifer West gave a financial overview, followed by election of officers. The election results are: Gregory Senko, President (term ending 2021), Sue Zipkin, Secretary (term ending 2021). The office of Vice President remains open.
CPLA would like to sincerely thank Tully Zipkin for Global Integrated Technologies’ generous bid of $200 in the silent auction of Marie Sapienza’s beautiful framed photograph of Country Pond.
Tully Zipkin wins picture donated by Marie Sapienza
April 2019 - We had a good turnout for our second annual Earth Day cleanup. Many volunteers braved the rain to help pick up trash on the streets around Country Pond. Thank you to all who participated, and thanks as well to the towns of Newton and Kingston for supplying trash bags and safety vests.
Don’t forget – we will hold our Annual Meeting at the Kingston Community Library on Saturday, June 1 at 9:00 am. We hope you will join us for refreshments, a raffle and a presentation on what we have planned for the future!
Last year, the Country Pond Lake Association (CPLA) restarted annual water quality monitoring, as part of the state’s Voluntary Lake Assessment Program (VLAP). Water quality testing had previously been once annually in 2002, 2006 and 2007 for a variety of parameters including phosphorus (a nutrient tied to blooms of cyanobacteria, a toxic algae), pH (a measure of how acidic the water is), conductivity and chloride (both signs of high usage of road salt, which is harmful to fish and other aquatic life). Results of that historic sampling had shown high levels of phosphorus and conductivity. However insufficient data was available for the state to assess any long-term trends or draw any conclusions as to water quality could be improved.
2018 SAMPLING AND DATA SUMMARY
With financial support from CPLA members and the Newton Conservation Commission, trained CPLA volunteers - the VLAP Team - sampled Country Pond monthly from June to September 2018. Using equipment loaned to the VLAP Team by the Kingston Conservation Commission, Country Pond was sampled in four locations: two lake inlets, the deepest spot in the lake, and the lake outlet. Samples were analyzed by the state, and results sent to the CPLA Board, which the Board shared with CPLA members, and the Kingston and Newton Conservation Commissions. In March 2019 the state issued its summary of the VLAP data collected in 2018, and compared it to historic data. This 2018 Data Summary stated that, although phosphorus, chlorophyll, water clarity, and pH levels were better than in the past, specific conductance was much higher. In addition, phosphorus levels, although lower than in the past, still exceeded the state’s recommended limits for Country Pond, based on a 2011 study by the U.S. EPA. However, more data is needed to really understand Country Pond’s water quality, as noted below.
The state recommends that CPLA’s VLAP Team continue sampling monthly, which CPLA will do from May to September this year with continued financial support from CPLA members, and the Newton and Kingston Conservation Commissions. The state also recommend that local road agents and private winter maintenance companies obtain a Voluntary NH Salt Applicator License, training for which is offered through UNH’s Technology Transfer Center’s Green SnowPro Program. CPLA intends to work with both Newton’s and Kingston’s Conservation Commissions and Boards of Selectmen to support the Road Agents in pursuing this license. CPLA is also reaching out to local residents about the need to reduce use of salt and other de-icers.
NH Median Value for Conductivity is 42.3 uS/cm
March 2019 - The Lake Host informational meeting held on March 5th was very successful. Based on the level of interest and support shown by the attendees, we have decided to start a Lake Host program on Country Pond this summer. Several attendees signed up to be Lake Host inspectors for the program, and the Board agreed to contribute its time to manage the program.
Our guest speaker, Krystal Costa of NH LAKES, gave an interesting and informative presentation of this important program which can be viewed here. The key topics she covered were:
Lake Hosts can either be paid employees of NH LAKES or volunteers. We would like to have all our Lake Hosts be paid but that will depend on the level of support we receive. We have applied for a small grant from NH LAKES to help start the program. This grant will cover a portion of the program’s costs, but it must be matched by local contributions. If we cannot raise enough funds, we may need to ask for lake hosts to volunteer their time.
There are two ways to contribute to support the Lake Host program:
1) Renew your CPLA membership for 2019 today. Your contribution will support Lake Host and other important programs. Please see our Membership page for details.
2) Contributions can be made through NH LAKES to benefit Country Pond’s Lake Host program. CONTRIBUTIONS MADE HERE will only be used to fund operating costs of the selected lake association’s Lake Host program. Just select Country Pond Lake Association from the drop-down list on the Individual Donation Form. It’s a great way to support Lake Hosting on Country Pond!
March 2019 – For Earth Day 2019, CPLA is organizing our second annual cleanup of the streets and shoreline around Country Pond. This year we are combining efforts with the Newton Conservation Commission and Recreation Commission. At their request we will recycle cans using a separate bag for their collection. The Town of Kingston has offered us the use of their safety vests again this year.
Where: We will be at the Newton boat ramp on Country Pond Road, to distribute the blue bags donated to us by the Newton Conservation Commission. Safety vests are encouraged for cleanup on main roads and need to be returned to the boat ramp by 12pm.
When: 9am on Saturday, April 20th, rain or shine.
Details: Obtain your blue bags, collect trash in one and cans in the other. You can leave the filled blue bags at the side of a main road. Starting at 12pm, CPLA will pick the bags up and dispose of them.
Last year was a great success, let’s do this again. Stop by to collect your blue bags and have some fun with friends and neighbors. Help beautify our Country Pond neighborhoods!!!
Volunteers at the successful 2018 cleanup day
February 11 2019 - Due to the snowstorm, the Lake Host Meeting has been rescheduled to March 5th at the Kingston Community Library.
January 2019 - Country Pond Lake Association is planning to implement a Lake Host courtesy boat inspection program at the Newton Town Boat Ramp for summer 2019. We will need community support to staff this important program which has been instrumental in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species to lakes around our state.
There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, February 12 at 6:30 pm at the Kingston Community Library. This meeting is open to anyone who wants to learn about the how Country Pond will benefit from Lake Host inspections.
Krystal Costa, Conservation Program Coordinator for NH LAKES, will discuss how the Lake Host program operates, its benefits, and how the community can contribute to its success.
The Lake Host program is a courtesy boat inspection program administered by NH LAKES in cooperation with local participating groups to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, such as variable milfoil and the Asian clam, from waterbody to waterbody. Great Pond and Powwow Pond have both used Lake Hosts to inspect boats for the past several years.
Infestations of invasive species such as variable milfoil and Asian clams in our waterbodies are undesirable because: they make recreation in and on the water dangerous and unpleasant; they disrupt the ecological balance of waterbodies; they reduce shoreline property values; and they are difficult and expensive to control.
Lake Host inspection duties include:
Since 2002, hundreds of paid and volunteer Lake Hosts have conducted more than 851,102 courtesy boat inspections and have made more than 1,550 ‘saves’ of aquatic invasive plant or animal specimens that were about to enter or had just left a waterbody.
October 2018 - Country Pond VLAP water testing has been completed for 2018. CPLA volunteers collected samples in June, July, August and September and sent them to the NHDES Limnology Lab in Concord for testing. We are currently awaiting the release of the NHDES annual report which summarizes test results.
This summer there was one cyanobacteria bloom that resulted in a lake-wide warning. The bloom was observed on September 26. The sample that was collected was identified and enumerated by NHDES. An estimate of about 20 million cells/ml of cyanobacteria, comprised of Microcystis, two varieties of Anabaena/Dolichospermum, Woronichinia and Coelosphaerium were found. The state threshold for a warning or advisory is 70,000 cells/ml of cyanobacteria in NH lake water. The bloom was concentrated near the Kingston side of the lake and quickly dissipated the same day.
NHDES issued a lake advisory following testing on September 28. The advisory was removed on October 4 after follow-up testing at the bloom location, Newton town beach and Newton boat ramp revealed no cyanobacteria.
NHDES issues lake and beach advisories to inform the public of potential risks from cyanobacteria exposure. NHDES advises lake users to avoid contact with water in areas experiencing elevated cyanobacteria cell conditions typically where lake water has a surface scum, green streaks or blue-green flecks aggregating along the shore. NHDES also advises pet owners to keep their pets out of any waters that have a cyanobacteria bloom.
Cyanobacteria are natural components of water bodies worldwide, but blooms and surface scums may form when excess nutrients are available to the water. Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that are stored within the cells but released upon cell death. Toxins can cause both acute and chronic health effects that range in severity. Acute health effects include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, tingling, numbness, nausea, vomiting, seizures and diarrhea. Chronic effects include liver and central nervous system damage.
For more information about how advisories are issued, cyanobacteria or to sign up for cyanobacteria alerts from NHDES, please the beach inspection program page of the NHDES website at: https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/beaches/index.htm
November 2018 Update - The Soak Up the Rain NH informational meeting that CPLA held in September was well attended. Several homeowners signed up for site visits from NH DES to evaluate stormwater runoff on their property and determine if a project such as a rain garden, infiltration trench, or vegetated buffer could help prevent runoff in to Country Pond.
The site visits were completed in October and Soak Up the Rain Program Coordinator Lisa Loosigian is now in the process of writing reports which will be provided to the participating homeowners. August 2018 - CPLA's members and friends have been invited to a Soak Up the Rain NH informational meeting exclusively for Country Pond residents.
August 2018 - The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 4 at 7:00 pm at the Kingston Community Library and will be hosted by NH DES Soak Up the Rain Program Coordinator Lisa Loosigian and Coastal Region Project Manager Sally Soule.
This presentation will introduce residents to simple Do-It-Yourself projects designed to prevent erosion and runoff. Sign up for a site visit to learn if a project such as a rain garden, infiltration trench, or vegetated buffer on your property could help protect Country Pond.
Soak Up the Rain is a program that provides information to homeowners on what they can do to reduce stormwater runoff into lakes and rivers. Stormwater runoff is the #1 contributor to increased algal and cyanobacteria blooms.
NH DES typically gives this presentation to lake associations at their annual meetings, but after seeing the enthusiasm and support of CPLA members in our first year, they have offered it to us now. Fall is the perfect time for planting and yard projects. Come to the Soak Up the Rain NH presentation for some new ideas on lake-friendly landscaping!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend
July 17, 2018 - CPLA’s 2018 Weed Watcher team attended a training session at the Kingston Community Library on July 17. Amy Smagula of NH DES gave an informative talk on invasive aquatic plants and animals, how they differ from native species, and what steps to take if we think we have found one in Country Pond. Amy created a custom presentation for Country Pond which includes clear pictures of our native species and the invasive ones we are trying to prevent. Weed Watcher kits were handed out at the meeting.
One of the most urgent problems on New Hampshire's lakes is the increased presence of invasive species which are transported to our waters on boats and boat trailers. Once the invasives become established, they are very difficult and costly to remove. Our best defense against invasive weeds is early detection, and that’s where the NH DES Weed Watcher program comes in.
Weed Watchers adopt a section of shoreline and survey it at least once a month during the boating season looking for invasive weeds near the shoreline and around docks. Volunteers are our best line of defense because they are familiar with Country Pond, allowing them to notice even a subtle change in plant growth.
We could use more Weed Watchers
Weed Watching is easy! All you need is a way to get out on the water (small boat, kayak, paddle board, float). Contact Program Coordinator Michele Merritt at email@example.com to sign up today!
June 12, 2018 – CPLA has completed its first water sampling of Country Pond. Sara Steiner of the NHDES Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP), provided the hands-on water sampling training for four CPLA volunteers: Alicia Geilen - VLAP Committee Chair, Sean Murray, Tobi Howell and Bill Cashin. Regular water sampling is necessary to track the long-term health of Country Pond. In the past, only limited sampling has been performed once a year and successive years were seldom tested. CPLA’s goal is to perform sampling on a monthly basis from May to September in order to build a better long-term data set.
The samples are tested for Total Phosphorous and Chlorophyll-a which are indicators of the nutrient levels and algal growth in the water. Nutrients can be directly related to the probability of cyanobacteria blooms. Dissolved oxygen is measured which is important for supporting fish and other aquatic life[SS1] . Conductivity, pH, chloride, and turbidity are also measured. Sampling is being performed at the deepest water location in Country Pond (35 feet) plus one outlet and two inlet testing sites. These tests are the first of four monthly tests that will be performed in 2018. Results will be available on the DES website in approximately 4 weeks, click here for NHDES data mapper. At the end of the season, a summary of the results will be posted on the CPLA website.
The next collection date is set for 7/8/18 when additional volunteers will be trained by Alicia on the sampling procedures. A VLAP volunteer from CPLA will deliver the samples to the Jody Connor Limnology Center lab in Concord where they will be analyzed.
This water sampling is taking place through the support of the CPLA members and sponsors. Bill Cashin supplied the boat used to transport the volunteers to the testing sites. CPLA also thanks the Kingston Conservation Commission for kindly loaning us the required sampling equipment which is shared with two other lake associations.
June 2, 2018 – CPLA's first Annual Meeting was well attended with over 40 friends and members attending. 15 new members joined from neighborhoods all around Country Pond. The meeting was held at the Country Pond Fish & Game Club, which donated the use of the space.
Tom O’Brien, president of NH Lakes, spoke about how his organization advocates for and helps local associations like CPLA keep lakes clean and healthy through its many support and educational programs. By partnering with NH Lakes, lake associations can benefit from a statewide network bringing them more resources.
Sally Soule, Coastal Watershed Supervisor for NH DES, explained that periodic cyanobacteria blooms, high phosphorous levels and low dissolved oxygen, all of which have affected Country Pond, can be addressed by a watershed management plan. She provided specific examples of how watershed planning and implementation has improved water quality for New Hampshire lakes and explained how a plan is developed, funded and implemented.
The CPLA board gave presentations recapping its activities and plans for this year. By-laws were accepted by unanimous vote and the current Board was voted in for another term. After the meeting, many members were eager to share their ideas for future projects and wanted to know how they could volunteer.
Photo provided by Sally Soule, Coastal Watershed Supervisor, NH DES
Friday, June 1, 2018 – Three CPLA volunteers attended the NH Lakes Congress in Meredith. Attendees were: Linda Foss and Greg Senko representing Kingston Conservation Commission, and Alicia Geilen. The Congress featured the latest information on key topics concerning lake water quality, including lake advocacy, public policy, cyanobacteria, invasive species, watershed planning and how to prevent pollutants entering lakes.
The keynote session explained how increasingly severe rainstorms associated with climate change are increasing the stresses on our lakes. Stormwater runoff, which carries nutrients and silt into our lakes, must be reduced in order to protect and improve water quality. “Soak Up The Rain” techniques for reducing stormwater runoff are described in a NH DES publication called “NH Homeowners’ Guide to Stormwater Management”, available at SoakNH.org. CPLA’s will integrate the valuable information learned at this Congress into this season’s plans.
Saturday, May 19, 2018 – Six CPLA volunteers attended the NH DES VLAP (Voluntary Lake Assessment Program) workshop in Concord. The attendees were: Alicia Geilen, Sean Murray, Roger Clark, Bill Cashin, Tobi Howell and Greg Senko. This workshop is the first training step for the VLAP water testing program. In addition to water sampling topics, the workshop included presentations on trends in New Hampshire lake water quality, how road salt is affecting our lakes, and monitoring/prevention of invasive weed and animal species. The training will be completed in an on-lake water sampling session on June 12.