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.