We can only hope that the woes of Toledo don’t occur on our lake – but we have to be careful. Everyone in the watershed needs to be!Toledo, Ohio, had some “problems” with its water supply and tens of thousands of people couldn’t use the water. It was a cyanobacteria bloom. It could happen on our lake so we should be concerned. If there is a major “bloom”, it looks like this:
Not the kind of green gunk you want to swim in and it can also cause health problems if you swim in it or drink it. Not nice stuff!
So why does it occur? It is because its growth (and of similar other species) is encouraged by phosphorous. In Lake Erie, it comes from farm run-off, septic systems and municipal sewage treatment. In our lake, it comes from people fertilizing their lawns with phosphorous containing fertilizers, improperly maintained septic systems or ones that just don’t plain work well, and run-off that contains phosphorous into the lake or streams that feed the lake.
Presently, the Lake Wentworth Foundation and the Town of Wolfeboro, have worked on developing a plan for the entire watershed of the lake with the goal of finding out pollution sources (containing as phosphorous) and how to mitigate them. Erosion of soil that then flows into streams that flow into the lake are a real problem. These need to be dealt with in the ENTIRE watershed because any stream that flows into the lake will carry phosphorous. But all shore owners because their phosphorous goes more directly into the lake.
If we want a clean lake, we want to prevent phosphorous getting into it. Ask questions about whether you need to fertilize near the lake, deal with your septic system and prevent ALL run-off into the lake that will cause erosion or come from gravel/dirt roads. The materials in the “dirt” contains phosphorous and as water is running over it, the water will dissolve the phosphorous and take it to the lake. Every little bit hurts. If you have questions on how you can prevent run-off, ask for help. NHDES has information as well as the NH Lakes Association.
Let us all help to protect the lake and make sure it doesn’t become “green”.