You can now help track algal blooms with bloomWatch
|State and local officials can’t be watching every lake at all times! By using the bloomWatch app on your smartphone, you will help scientists understand where and when algal blooms occur and may be causing issues. No training is necessary – if you see a green scum, clump, flakes or filaments, you simply take a picture, fill in some basic information and upload it to the web.
The information gets sent to both cyanos.org and the NH Department of Environmental Services. Join the community of citizen scientists!
Want to understand the water quality data for Lake Winnipesaukee in more depth? For those lakes in the University of New Hampshire’s Lakes Lay Monitoring Program, results from each year’s sampling are now online. The reports provide a summary of water quality for specific areas of Winnipesaukee based on measurements of total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, and water clarity. All of Winnipesaukee’s reports are not yet available, but will be uploaded as completed.
A visual snapshot of the health of Lake Winnipesaukee can be found on the Winnipesaukee Gateway. The map allows the user to view the lake as a whole and choose which parameter (Total Phosphorus, chl-a, water clarity) to display. Individual sampling sites can be clicked on, and a pop-up window will open to provide a snapshot of the data for that site. It’s Winni cool!
Give the Gift of Blue Water!
We all benefit from a clean and healthy Lake Winnipesaukee – whether you live directly on the lake or simply enjoy living here in the lakes region. Our communities, lifestyle, and economies are stronger and more vibrant because of this beautiful resource.
Your financial contribution will be used toward our lake protection programs. We hope you feel good knowing that you are helping to ensure that Lake Winnipesaukee remains beautiful and healthy for not only people to enjoy, but also for the fish and wildlife that depend on the lake for their life.
Please give generously so LWA may serve its mission to its fullest. THANK YOU!
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!
Afraid the lake is going to turn brown, and you will no longer be able to swim around? Alarmed the milfoil will touch your toes, and send you home with the woes? Scared that all of the boat wake may be giving the lake a bellyache? Well have no fear because all you need to do is VOLUNTEER!
We need your help in protecting the Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed. The following volunteer opportunities are available:
Job Description: We need writers for columns in our newsletter as well as help with layout and bulk mailings.
Job Description: We need creative people to help design outreach materials.
Job Description: We are always seeking ‘environmentally conscious’ people to serve on our board and to attend our monthly meetings.
Water Quality Monitors
Job Description: Have a boat? Like being out on the water? Are you able to donate 1-2 hrs. per month for sampling? Do you want to contribute to the long term data collection of lake data? If the answer is yes, then we need you! Contact us to find out where monitors are needed.
If interested in finding out more about volunteer opportunities with LWA, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a non-profit, the Lake Winnipesaukee Association relies on funding from individuals and organizations.
Donations from individuals, families, and organizations are always welcome. Cash, materials, stocks, and planned giving are all welcome and appreciated.
Company sponsorship opportunities are also available. We accept sponsors for our programs, various events or donations from organizations. Recognition will be provided at the sponsored events and will be listed on the “Our Sponsors and Supporters” page under the “About” section of the web site.
For information about Underwriter Benefits, to make a donation, sponsor a program or event, or to discuss other options for supporting the LWA, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 603-581-6632.
We truly appreciate and thank you for your support!
The Lake Winnipesaukee Association (LWA) assists the UNH Cooperative Extension’s Lakes Lay Monitoring Program (UNH LLMP) on Lake Winnipesaukee. There are approximately 25 volunteer water quality monitors trained in taking water samples and in carrying out various water quality tests at over 30 sampling sites on the lake. The information and samples from these monitors are collected and further analyzed at the UNH laboratory, producing a meaningful set of data from year to year. The data may be used to detect early warning signals of potential problems. The state also takes water quality tests on the lake, but only every 10 years, making our efforts very important in creating a complete water quality database. Volunteer Today!
LWA became involved with water quality monitoring on the lake in 1982 and continues to play an important role in the coordination and expansion of monitoring taking place from just after ice-out into the early fall every year. LWA assists with recruiting and training volunteer water quality monitors, coordinating the movement of water samples from volunteers to the lab, and seeking out sponsors to fund the monitoring going on throughout the lake. We also focus on public outreach – promoting the program and publicizing the data and results.
You can access current maps of the sampling locations and water quality data online at www.winnipesaukeegateway.org
Lake Aging (Eutrophication)
Excerpt from “Understanding Lake Aging” by Robert Craycraft, Educational Program Coordinator (UNH LLMP), and Jeff Schloss, UNH Cooperative Extension Water Resources Specialist.
The process by which lakes age and progress from clear, pristine lakes to green, nutrient enriched lakes is known as eutrophication. This is a natural occurrence and can take thousands of years. Some lakes age at a faster rate than others due to natural attributes, such as watershed area relative to lake area, slope of the land surrounding the lake, soil type, mean lake depth, etc. Lakes are also influenced in their rate of plant growth (aging) through human activities (cultural eutrophication). Chemicals used to fertilize our lawns are nutrients, which if they enter our lakes stimulate plant growth and culminate in greener (and less clear) waters. Clearing large tracts of forested lands for development culminate in increased susceptibility of lakes to sediment and nutrient loadings. The aging process can be speeded up in tens of years rather than the natural transitional period of thousands of years. Lakes are often categorized into trophic states, meaning the level of lake plant and algae productivity or “greenness”. The three trophic states that lakes are generally categorized into are oligotrophic (pristine), mesotrophic (transitional), and eutrophic (enriched). Some of the commonly used parameters to measure the trophic state or age of a lake are chlorophyll a, water transparency, total phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, and macroscopic plant or weed abundance.Oligotrophic lakes are considered “unproductive” pristine systems and are characterized by high water clarities, low nutrient concentrations, low algae concentrations, minimal levels of aquatic plant “weed” growth, and high dissolved oxygen levels near the lake bottom. Eutrophic lakes are considered “highly productive” enriched systems characterized by low water transparencies, high nutrient concentrations, high algae concentrations, large stands of aquatic plants, and very low dissolved oxygen concentrations near lake bottom. Mesotrophic lakes have qualities between those of the two mentioned above, with moderate water transparencies, nutrient concentrations, algae growth, and dissolved oxygen concentrations.
The work that the volunteer water quality monitors undertake each season is extremely important in measuring the parameters, and providing data to UNH Cooperative Extension for long term trend analysis of the water quality of our lakes.
Lake Winnipesaukee usually freezes in January to a depth of 3 to 4 feet.
- It is a 63 mile drive around Lake Winnipesaukee.
- There are 365 islands in Lake Winnipesaukee; 274 of which are habitable.
- Becky’s Garden is the smallest island on Lake Winnipesaukee having a 10 foot width on a good day.
- Loon is the name of three different islands on Lake Winnipesaukee.
- “Winnipiseogee” is the Native American name for Lake Winnipesaukee, which was the most common named used by the earliest New Hampshire English settlers. The most popular translation of the name is “Smile of the Great Spirit”.
- The Lady of the Lake was constructed in Lakeport in 1849 and was the first boat built over 100 feet in length that provided mass transport on the lake.
- The 780 ton MS Mount Washington, was assembled in 1939 from the 230-foot hull of the Lake Champlain Vessel Chateaugay. The Mount stops at Wolfeboro, Alton Bay, Weirs Beach, Meredith, and Center Harbor, from ice-out in spring until October 21st.
- The islanders on Lake Winnipesaukee don’t have to come to the mainland to pick up their mail. The MS Mount Washington’s sister ship, the Sophie C, delivers mail to all inhabited islands.
- The official Ice-Out on Lake Winnipesaukee is judged by when the MS Mt. Washington can successfully navigate its route.
- Wolfeboro is the oldest summer resort town in the U.S.
Water Quality Facts
- The water quality in Lake Winnipesaukee is considered fairly good, but poorer conditions do occur in localized sites.
- Lake Winnipesaukee is considered an oligotrophic lake meaning the lake has high water clarity, limited plant growth, and relatively low nutrient inputs.
- The parameters used to measure a lake’s trophic state are chlorophyll a, water transparency, and total phosphorus.
- Phosphorus stimulates plant growth and contributes significantly to eutrophication, when the lake turns green due to algae growth. Water transparency measures water clarity, which is affected by algae growth in response to increases of phosphorus input.
- The water in the lake’s numerous coves and bays does not readily mix with the rest of the lake, causing the water in these areas to be more susceptible to water quality problems.
- Otter, beaver, muskrat, mink, fisher, moose, deer, black bear, coyotes, and bobcats all can be seen in the Lakes Region.
- The Lakes Region has one of the last known colonies of purple martins in the state, which nest in boxes provided by local residents.
- Male loons return to their traditional nesting territory in the Lakes Region on the day of ice-out and are joined by a female.
- Rainbow trout were introduced to Lake Winnipesaukee in 1990 and small mouth bass were introduced in 1860.
Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Stats
|Total Watershed Area||
|Other Lakes, Ponds, Rivers||
|Total Surface Water||
|Forested Land (88.5%)||
|Cleared Land (8.3%)||
|Total Land Area||
72 sq. miles
625 billion gallons
|# of Habitable Islands||
|Length of Shoreline||
534 cu. ft/second
- A watershed may be defined as the land area contributing water to a body of water or watercourse. The Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed covers 381 square miles.
- A watershed is defined by topography. All water that falls onto a watershed flows to a common point, the lowest point, which could be a stream, river, lake, or pond. Sixteen (16) towns, eight of which have lake frontage, contain land within the watershed that contribute water to Lake Winnipesaukee.
- Smaller watersheds draining only a few acres into a pond, may be part of a much larger watershed draining into a nearby river or lake. For example, Lake Waukewan in Meredith and Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro are both part of the Winnipesaukee Watershed.
- The Lakes Region consists of over 273 lakes and ponds.
LWA is a non-profit organization that is supported by memberships, donations, and grants. Your membership in LWA provides the foundation of our work and supports water quality monitoring, lake management, lake protection projects, and our lakeside learning activities throughout the year.
Caring for the lake is the responsibility of everyone. Our vision for an active and informed community partnership of residents, business, government and visitors acting as stewards of the lake begins with you!
Becoming a member is easy. Just click here to complete the form and make your payment online.
Thank you for your support!
- $50 Individual/Family/Winni Friend
- $75 Club/Association/Non-profit
- $100 Business/Winni Watcher
- $250 Winni Steward
- $500 Winni Protector
- $1,000 Winni Guardian
All gifts are tax-deductible under applicable IRS regulations.
Membership lists are not sold. Association memberships do not confer individual memberships.
Effluent from failing septic systems is a major water quality concern in the Lake Winnipesaukee watershed, as the majority of properties around Lake Winnipesaukee rely on onsite wastewater disposal systems (septic systems). Compounding the issue is the fact that many properties are seasonal, second homes or rental properties. Many property owners may not know that they have a septic system, where it’s located or when it was installed.
To help people better understand the functioning of septic systems and how to care and maintain this critical component of their home, LWA has sponsored several Septic Sense Seminars around the Winnipesaukee watershed; thank you to Wolfeboro Community TV for filming one of the seminars.
You can access the video of the Septic Sense program via You Tube at the following links:
Proper Use and Maintenance of Septic Systems
Everything that goes down the drain, toilet, dishwasher, bathtub, and/or washing machine goes to some type of waste water disposal system; usually it’s either a private septic system or a municipal sewer system.
If a home is on a private system, that system needs to be maintained in order to function properly. Why?
The septic system is a two-part sewage treatment and disposal system buried in the ground, composed of a septic tank and a leaching system. The sewage generally flows by gravity; first into the septic tank where the larger particles are removed and some decomposition takes place and then into the leaching system where it soaks into the ground.
The effluent that enters the leach field contains bacteria (E. coli), nitrates, phosphorus, and other chemicals; remember – whatever you put down your drain or toilet ends up in your septic system!
The leachate or effluent from your septic system eventually filters through the soil and becomes groundwater. If your system was located and installed properly and is maintained, this arrangement works to naturally filter out the pollutants. However, inadequately functioning and/or failing septic systems contribute to groundwater contamination. Waste water from septic systems may include many types of contaminants, such as nitrates, harmful bacteria and viruses.
Protect Your Septic System
1. Regularly inspect your system and pump your tank as necessary.
2. Don’t dispose of grease, coffee grounds, diapers, cat litter, latex paint, feminine hygiene products, household hazardous wastes, etc. in sinks or toilets. These items can clog the distribution lines or impair the function of the tank.
3. Minimize or eliminate use of sink disposal units which place an added burden on your system.
4. Care for your leach field (drainfield). Avoid driving or parking vehicles on it. Plant only grass over or near the leach field to avoid damage by roots.
5. Avoid use of water softeners; the salts which discharge during backwash into a septic system can crystallize and clog the distribution lines.
For More Information on how Septic Systems Function visit these websites:
For information on Septic System Designers, Installers, and Evaluators visit the
Granite State Designers & Installers Association website.
For information regarding your septic system, visit your Town Hall and review the property records, or contact/visit NHDES Subsurface Systems Bureau website.
For Information on Contaminants in Drinking Water, visit the NH Dept. of environmental Services website: http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/dwgb/index.htm
Factsheets ”Water Quality Testing for Private Wells: http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/dwgb/well_testing/documents/well_testing.pdf