Baboosic Lake Health
The overall goal of the Baboosic Lake Association is to educate and inform lake area residents about the things they can do to improve the health of the lake.
In many cases these are simple choices like what products you use in your home (a simple switch to low-phosphate dish washing detergent can help) or how you might landscape your yard, or how you might treat your lawn.
The lake is an asset for everyone. It affects real estate values and the town's tax base. It provides a wonderful place for recreation, and with our continued good stewardship, it will provide for generations to come.
With the benefits come some responsibility. We have a responsibility to learn what we can do to improve the health of the lake. This web site, and particularly the resources on this page are dedicated to that goal.
Overall, the lake quality is stabilizing or improving, depending on what you are measuring.
Please spend some time here reading and learning. Mention it to a neighbor. Together we can make simple but meaningful contributions.
Lake Monitoring Program
A major initiative of the association is the measurement of lake health. This is done by a dedicated team of volunteers who visit various sites on the lake every week to test water quality.
Baboosic has one of the older and more consistent programs in the state. We've been consistently monitoring lake health since 1983.
You can read the 2010 Baboosic Lake Water Quality Report (15.2 meg pdf) that details the program and water quality trends over the years.
Lake Health Resources
New: Homeowners Guide to Storwater Management - DIY Solutions. This is a great resource prepared by the state DES to help educate homeowners on how they can reduce water runoff through simple, do-it-yourself projects. Download and check it out.
Shoreline Protection Act. Especially important if you live on the lake. Details here.
How to mitigate storm water runoff. (pdf)
Pet waste is an ongoing problem for the lake. Many pet owners believe that their pet's waste will simply dissolve and fertilize their grass "naturally". Fact is, in many cases this waste joins the rest of the runoff and ends up in the lake where your children and neighbors swim.
Pet waste can also harm fish and other aquatic species.
The solution is simple: pick up after your pet.
This article from the EPA provides the science and facts.
About Beach Sand
For more information about obtaining a permit for beach replenishment or the construction of a perched beach, contact the DES Wetlands Bureau at (603) 271-2147 or email DES.
For information about sand dumping and beach construction, contact the DES Limnology Center at (603) 2714793.
Baboosic Lake Runoff Mitigation
A report was developed through a state funded grant and provides specific recommendations for areas around the lake about how to reduce the negative impact storm water runoff has on the lake. Many of these projects and ideas relate to specific homeowner properties as well as the Fours Seasons beach and the Town of Amherst beach. Contact the board if you are interested in more detail.
Why should you be concerned about the health of Baboosic Lake?
Simply put, if you appreciate the value of your property and its surroundings, you need to care about and be active in maintaining the health and water quality of Baboosic Lake. Poor water clarity has a direct impact on your waterfront property value and everyone's personnel enjoyment of the lake.
Permits are required for all sand applied to a shoreline.
The BLA will be reporting violators to the Wetlands Bureau as this is incumbent upon the board according to its charter. You are also encouraged to report violators using this Wetlands Complaint form. Note that complaints can be made anonymously. You may need the tax map number of the property. In Amherst, this can be found online here.
Fertilizing lawns increases algae production in the lake. Rule of thumb: If you are adding something to your lawn to help it grow, you are helping algae grow. You are making your lawn prettier and our lake uglier. You are also contributing to the Cyanobacteria blooms we experience.
If your neighbor is adding sand or fertilizing their lawn, they are contributing to the algae condition of the lake.
Septic Systems - Good news here. The BLA board has negotiated a significant discount for septic pumping, services and even portapotty rentals with Dave's Septic. You can save $70 on a typical 1000 gallon tank pumping. and rent a portapotty for $60 - significantly less than market rates.
Proper maintenance of septic systems in the watershed is vital to reducing ecoli outbreaks which can cause serious health concerns. If you are aware of a house with a septic system that overflows or smells of sewage during rain, contact your town's board of health. They take complaints very seriously and can force homeowners to remedy situations that impact the health of neighbors and the lake.
Repair or replacement of failed Septic systems must be done with proper town environmental agency approval and proper permits.
Contact Dave's web site or by phone at (603) 668-3402. Dave offers a 10% discount to BLA members.
How can you help?
· Bathe, wash animals, use soap of any kind of relieve yourself in the lake!
· Use fertilizer near the shoreline!
· Dump leaves or grass in or around the lake!
· Throw cigarette butts, empty cans or bottles or trash of any kind in the lake!
· Spill gas in or near the lake!
· Dump sand in or near the lake!
· Change the shoreline in any way!
· DO - Have your septic system inspected and pumped yearly!
... and please DO NOT FEED THE DUCKS OR FISH! Feeding the ducks and fish causes them to depend on human food instead of nature.
· Have your septic system inspected and pumped yearly!
Be Extremely careful to
thoroughly inspect and wash your boat and trailer whenever you put it into
the lake. Realize that we are lucky to have no milfoil on the lake,
and only continued vigilance will keep it that way.
What is Milfoil?
Milfoil is a nasty weed that spreads rapidly and displaces beneficial native plant life. It makes swimming difficult and may devalue waterfront property.
Visit the NH DES web page with details about Milfiol. Click Here.
Shown below are some common "look-alike" plants. The native species are considered harmless. The exotic (non-native) species are invasive and will take over a water body unless addressed in time.
If you see any of the exotic versions of these weeds in the lake, contact a board member.
Things we should all know about living around the lake
Your septic systems consist of a septic tank and a leach field. As sewage enters the tank, the larger solids sink to the bottom and liquids and smaller solids rise to the surface. They are then partially decomposed by bacteria and other natural processes. The leach field then takes the wastewater through a series of perforated pipes that allows the water to infiltrate through layers of stone, gravel and natural soils. Even a modern system can get clogged if it is not maintained properly and pumped out periodically.
Some important points to remember:
· Know the location of your septic system and leaching area; mark top of tank with rocks.
· Inspect your tank yearly, have it pumped out by a licensed professional.
· DO NOT flush bulky items such as disposable diapers or sanitary items into the system.
· DO NOT flush toxic materials such as paint thinner, pesticides or chlorine into your system since they kill the good bacteria in the tank.
· Repair leaking fixtures promptly, use water-reducing fixtures wherever possible.
· Avoid putting food wastes and grease into the system.
· Keep deep rooted trees and bushes away from the leach field.
· DO NOT allow vehicles over the leach field.
· Avoid colored toilet paper, it doesn't break down as rapidly as white, and 1 ply is better than 2 ply.
· Many bathroom cleaning products contain chlorine - seek alternatives.
Watershed is defined as the surrounding land area that drains into the particular body of water. Because water moves through lakes and ponds more slowly than rivers and streams, it allows algae (aquatic plants) to use the nutrients for growth.
As lakes age they go through Eutrophication. This occurs when nutrients are added to a lake. The characteristics are an abundance of aquatic plants, green or turbid water and a shallow, mucky bottom. Artificial nutrients sources such as septic systems and fertilizer accelerate the decline of the lake. The more phosphorus that enters the lake the greater the algae growth and reduced water clarity. It is important to maintain or restore shoreline plantings and vegetations along the shoreline as it reduces the amount of phosphorus that enters the lake.
Visit the State DES web site for more info on lake health.
If you put your boat in other lakes, look at this map. It shows which lakes have reported hostile plant or species growth. Major lakes include areas in Winnipesaukee, Sunapee, Winnisquam, Northwood, Massabesic, Horseshoe Pond, the Nashua River. There are over 50 bodies of water on this list. We are extremely lucky not to have milfoil, and only your continued vigilance keeps us free of this plague.