Demo site shows how plants can prevent yard erosion

Partnering with the Lake Wentworth Foundation and the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department, a crew of agricultural science students from the Region 9 Vocational/Technical program at Kingswood High School has taken an important step in preventing the erosion of Albee Beach into Lake Wentworth.

Albee Beach planting work

Under the direction of agricultural sciences teacher Bruce Farr, the students dismantled a failing section of the erosion control structure at the north end of the beach and replaced it with low-bush blueberry plants that are expected to spread and stabilize the soil that had been washing away from the effects of rain and snowmelt.

Participating in the beach maintenance work were Region 9 students Ben Custeau, Rob Evans, Brian MacIver, David Remington, Darren Tarbox, and Tanner McFarlin. Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Director Ethan Hipple and parks employee Steve Miller provided assistance and material support for the work.

Local landscaper Katie Leipold volunteered her services to provide a design for the plantings.

In addition to the newly planted blueberry bushes, the structure also includes two native shrubs that were chosen because of their ability to thrive despite the poor soil and dry, windy conditions that occur at the beach year round.  They are sweet fern and silky dogwood.

The blueberry plantings are part of the larger beach-retention structure,

Silky dogwood

Silky dogwood

which was installed in 2009 to stop the loss of beach area to the action of ice in the winter and wind-driven waves in the summer. While large stones placed on the site stopped the erosion from the lake side, the planting of shrubs and ground cover was needed to prevent rainfall and snowmelt from washing away the surrounding soil.

The entire site will provide local homeowners with a demonstration in the use of native New Hampshire plants that can not only enhance a property’s appearance but, without any need for upkeep, stabilize shoreline and stream bank areas and prevent their erosion into surface waters. Since surface runoff is the source of much of the weed-feeding phosphorus in streams and lakes, it’s the contribution of numerous small property owners rather than large-scale projects that holds the most promise for protecting the future of the watershed.




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