Water Quality Monitoring Report

The lake monitors for this year as for the past several years were Chuck Hodsdon and Dave Lafond, with occasional help from our wives. We also made one trip as we do every year with a team from UNH as they make some additional measurements with much more sophisticated equipment than ours. We also made one trip with some youngsters so that they could see what we were doing to test the water quality in the lake. We found that the youngsters could see our Secchi Disk somewhat deeper in the lake than we could and our wives disagreed with us on the colors of the alkalinity indicator. (Alkalinity is based on a vague blue to gray to pink color change as acid is added to the water.) Have no fear. When Dave and I compare our data with the professionals from UNH we are usually right on.

This year we took samples of water from the lake starting on April 29th and finishing in early October. We took data from 4 sites on the lake including the second basin. The data was sent to the Lakes Lay Monitoring Lab at UNH and also to the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program in Maine. This enables us to have a long standing data base so we can compare the long term changes that are taking place in the lake. We have records going back more than 30 years and the State of Maine has even older records from occasional years before that. The record for this year will be a good one as the water temperature stayed low late into the summer which tends to inhibit the growth of algae somewhat. Some of the early readings were not so impressive though as there were very heavy rains early in the season, which tend to wash lots of sand and organic matter into the lake, which has both short and long term effects on water clarity. Anything you can do on your own property to prevent this erosion of matter into the lake is really helpful in preserving water quality. If you have serious erosion problems you might want to contact the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance which is a local non-profit group dedicated to improving water quality by preventing erosion. They will send a person to your property and give you some suggestions about how to fix your erosion problems. The phone number is 603-473-2500.

The average Secchi Disk readings during the midsummer months were right around 10 meters which is excellent. There are few lakes in the country who can report better readings than that. One other item; for the second time in three years we were stuck on the lake during our monitoring trip. The first time I was in the second basin and my trusty motor just would not start. This was in late September but I found someone to tow me home. (about 6 miles) This year Dave and I ran out of gas off Veasey Point inthe worst rain shower we had all summer. We finally got a tow from some folks but many people passed us by in spite of us frantically waving our arms and giving other distress signals. It was midweek so the boat traffic was sparse especially given the downpour but I would like to know if there is a universal distress signal for a boat in trouble. When I am onshore and I see a boat adrift I usually watch it for awhile to see if they are in trouble or just drifting on purpose it would be good to have a way to give a signal if one is in distress. I have also resolved to carry my cell phone with me when we go out on a trip on the lake.

About the Watershed Survey

 We are pleased to announce that the Great East Lake 2021 Watershed Report is finished and
available as a PDF link below. Many thanks to Jon Balanoff, the AWWA Executive Director, for
his perseverance in seeing the project through to this point.
We all know that our lake is very clear and clean, but the challenge before us is to keep it that
way for future generations. The survey identified many sites throughout the watershed that
threaten its present condition. Here is a quick summary of the findings:

           -25 sites were identified as having a high impact on water quality
           -97 sites were identified with medium impact
           -101 sites were identified with low impact

Of these 200+ sites, about half of them require no-cost or low-cost remediation. The other half
are more involved, more technically challenging, and will have a greater expense associated with
them. Please keep in mind that AWWA’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is available to assist
with remediation projects and property owners need only pay the cost for materials, not labor.

Letters and emails have been sent to all participating members informing them if erosion issues
were found on their property or not. If issues were found, members were provided with details
of the findings and suggested remediation methods.

If you do not receive a letter or email and would like to inquire about findings on your property
you can send your request to either the GELIA Watershed Committee email or the AWWA email
address listed below to request that information. Please provide your name, the property
owner’s name and the property address in your request.


We urge all property owners to read the report as it’s filled with useful information, helpful
remediation options and best practices for all kinds of issues. We also want to stress the
importance of addressing issues promptly should any be identified on your property.
Thank you again to all those who assisted with this survey and thanks to everyone for helping to
keep our lake as clean, clear and beautiful as we possibly can.