Winnipesaukee Ice Out ‘P check’ Results
Thank you to all of the volunteers, NHDES, UNH, NH Fish & Game staff, communities and businesses that made the second Ice Out ‘P check’ a success!
A flotilla of boats went out on Lake Winnipesaukee on May 4, 2015 in a massive coordination effort conducted by the Lake Winnipesaukee Association to obtain lake samples after ice out. Ice out on Winnipesaukee was declared on April 24th, leaving a small window of opportunity to collect samples before the lake begins to stratify.
The goal of the sampling is to determine the nutrient levels of phosphorus in Lake Winnipesaukee when the water turns over each spring. The sampling verifies models that are a key to the continued development and implementation of the Winnipesaukee Watershed Management Plan.
The models predict in-lake phosphorus concentrations (also known as “P”) at spring overturn when Lake Winnipesaukee waters mix fully and the temperatures in the water are consistent from top-to-bottom and all nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the lake before warmer weather creates distinct, thermal layers or boundaries that prevent mixing of nutrients throughout the water column.
Phosphorus is a key indicator of how productive Lake Winnipesaukee will be during the summer. High values of ‘P’ lead to increased algal blooms and the growth of vegetation in lakes. The P levels may increase in the spring with snow melt due to higher run off volumes and erosion associated with spring rains.
This was only the second time that “ice out” sampling of the entire lake has occurred in which locations are sampled at approximately the same time in one day (the first ice out sampling event took place on April 2, 2010). 150 samples were collected from deep lake sites in Meredith Bay, Center Harbor, Moultonborough Bay inlet, Moultonborough Bay, Wolfeboro Bay, Alton Bay, the Broads, Saunders Bay north and south, Paugus Bay, and Cow Island.
“We are happy to partner with this effort again since Lake Winnipesaukee is our lifeblood.” said Steve Durgan, General Manager of Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard in Wolfeboro. “It is in all our best interests to have clean water to ensure quality lifestyles, a healthy economy, and the wonderful recreational experiences afforded by Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding region.”
Nine boats were graciously supplied by Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard, Jim MacBride, Bill Gassman, Dave Joyce, Tuftonboro Fire and Rescue, the NH Marine Patrol, the NH Department of Environmental Services, NH Fish and Game Department, and Laconia Water Works. Additional volunteers and staff from the Lake Winnipesaukee Association and the University of NH Lakes Lay Monitoring Program were on hand to assist. Conservation Commissions in Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, Alton, Gilford, and Laconia are helped make this event happen by providing partial funding to cover the costs for lab analyses. The ice out sampling would not be possible without the support and involvement of the towns, volunteers, marinas, State Agencies, and UNH Center for Freshwater Biology.
Thank you to our sponsors and volunteers!