LWF offers help in maintaining healthy properties

During the recent survey of properties along the shores of Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake and their tributaries, volunteers from the Lake Wentworth Foundation distributed informational brochures to help homeowners care for their properties and protect the quality of nearby surface water resources.

In case you didn’t get your set of these helpful brochures, or if you’d like additional copies, you can now download them for viewing and printing.

“Landscaping by the Water” provides advice on the selection, planting, and care of trees, shrubs, and ground covers — most of them native to New Hampshire — that fit settings along a lake shore or stream bank. Not only do these plantings enhance the beauty of a waterside property, but they work well to keep soil in place, helping prevent stormwater runoff that can carry large amounts of phosphorus into the water. Phosphorus acts as a fertilizer for green plants — good for suburban lawns but a source of weed and algae growth when it migrates into a water body.

As an added advantage, use of native plants reduces the amount of care that landscaping requires, since the trees and shrubs naturally thrive in our climate.

A second brochure, “Preventing Non-Point Source Pollution,” provides guidance on avoiding actions that can lead to the contamination of surface waters from residential properties. Non-point source pollution is the type that does not have an easily identifiable source and can arise from broad land areas such as shoreline residential neighborhoods. It can include runoff from roads  (including  poorly maintained gravel roads), erosion of residential yards caused by rain and melting snow, and runoff from farms and lawns.

Pollutants from these sources include: phosphorous-laden sediment, animal wastes and associated bacteria, pesticides, fertilizers, toxic substances, road salt, and fluids from automobiles.

The last brochure, “Septic Systems: How Do They Work? How Do You Maintain Them?” explains the components and the workings of septic systems and provides tips on extending their effective lifetimes. As the brochure explains, poorly maintained or failing septic systems can leach their contents, including pathogens and chemicals, into the soil and underlying groundwater, from where those pollutants can make their way into nearby surface water such as lakes and streams. It is estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of the phosphorus found in our waters are the result of leaching from nearby septic systems.

Funding for all three brochures was provided in part by a Watershed Assistance Grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services with Clean Water Act Section 319 funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Lake Sunapee Protective Association shared materials used in the preparation of the publications.

The brochures comprise part of the outreach effort connected to the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake Watershed Management Plan being undertaken through a partnership of the Lake Wentworth Foundation, the Town of Wolfeboro, and the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Freshwater Biology.

The state Department of Environmental Services is providing assistance and guidance on technical issues. Day-to-day oversight of the project is under the direction FB Environmental of Portland, Maine, and Portsmouth and Comprehensive Environmental, Inc. of Merrimack.

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