By Chuck Hodsdon
We were on the lake taking measurements on Wednesday, September 17. We were joined on that day by Bob Craycraft, who is the head of the Lakes Lay Monitoring Program at The University of New Hampshire. Bob and some of his crew make one visit to Great East Lake a year. The do extensive sampling with very sophisticated equipment which allows them to add information to our annual report that we are not able to measure.
This is part of a long term program that we committed to some 30 years ago. This program keeps long term records which catalogue the conditions of the water in the lake over time. This is essential, because the condition of the water in the lake is affected by many factors such as weather; development; and home, industrial, and recreational waste which enter the lake intermittently. The parameters that we measure give tthe most accurate picture that we can get about how the lake is handling all of these factors.
The shhort term report is that the Secchi Disc reading for September 17, 2014 was 11.3 meters which is an excellent clarity measurement. There are probably not more than a few lakes in New England that have water clarity which is better that and NH and Maine Lakes along with those in Minnesota are the clearest in the country. (If you are interested in how a Secchi Disc works, visit the Maine VLMP website and you can try it yourself in simulation.)
On the negative side there is a considerable growth of algae on the bottom of the lake (at least on the north shore) that appears in the late summer which is disturbing. In the shallow Second Basin there was a temporary bloom of blue green algae-like cyanobacteria, which has mostly faded or sunk to the bottom. It is imperative that we do all within our power to keep the phosphorus level in the lake from increasing. The biggest contributors to the phosphorus level are: 1. The runoff of plant matter and silt and sand from the shoreline into the lake and 2. Septic Systems that are not working properly.
No water quality report should fail to ask folks who use the lake, to keep an eye out for invasive plant (ex.-milfoil) or animal (ex.-Chinese Mystery Snails) species. If you see anything in the water which is unusual or which you have never seen in the lake report it to someone from the Great East Lake Association board of Directors. See the Great East Lake Website for more information.