By Sam Wilson, AWWA Program Manager
Soil erosion is the number one source of pollution to lakes in New Hampshire and Maine. As storm water washes across the landscape it picks up sediment and dumps it into the lake. Sticking to the sediments are particles of phosphorus, a naturally occurring element that is essential to plant growth. When a lake gets too much phosphorus there will be excess algae growth and cyanobacteria blooms which can be toxic to animals, including us, and can be quite an eyesore for property owners and lake visitors alike.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to combat erosion, all with very little cost to homeowners. Simple erosion control practices (known in the AWWA world as Best Management Practices or BMPs) can fix a property’s erosion issues while increasing the aesthetics, and value, of a property.
BMP’s can be as simple as a few blueberry bushes or as complicated as a 40-foot set of infiltration steps. They can be as plain as a rubber razor or fire hose diverter, which will move water off a driveway, or a rain garden filled with beautiful and rugged native plants to infiltrate and soak up runoff. Most properties use a variety of BMP’s to combat storm water runoff and erosion, and the truth is, there are dozens of ways of dealing with runoff at every site. It all comes down to what you, as a lakefront homeowner, want to do.
AWWA and its Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) can help homeowners on Great East Lake. If you think you have an erosion issue, or would just like a site evaluation, call Sam at (603) 473-2500 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get personalized advice and a design to fix your erosion issues at no charge. You may even want to become a YCC Project Host and have the YCC install your BMP’s for you at no charge; you buy the materials, and we do all the work! If you want to see our work, you can take a look at our YCC Site Map at AWWA’s website, www.awwatersheds.org; it has pictures of every site the YCC has worked on since 2006. Or you can take a trip down to Langley Shores Rd where the AWWA YCC fixed erosion problems at six sites last year. I look forward to hearing from you this spring.