THE THORNDIKE POND CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION, INC.
Box 595, Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452
Minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting
August 4, 2018 at the Campgrounds of the Monadnock Bible Conference
The meeting was called to order by President Andrew Krivak at 9:00 AM. There were 44 members present representing 28 properties on the Pond. Those in attendance are listed at the end of these minutes.
Under the topic of recognition:
• Andrew mentioned the passing of Bill Jackson, who should have been mentioned at last year’s meeting. He gave condolences to Janet who was in attendance.
• Only one property changed hands in the last year, Jeff Krouk bought the former property of Tom Maxwell and Lynn Hamlin. The Nash’s were recognized for their first meeting, following their purchase last year.
• There are no properties currently for sale, the first time that has been the case for some time.
The meeting minutes for last year’s Annual Meeting were approved as submitted.
The membership ratified all actions taken by the Board in the past year, though Andrew said there has been none.
Jim Banghart gave the Treasurer’s report, a copy of which was sent with the meeting notice. The Association had an operating income of $13,400 and operating expenses of $2,790.48. The Association started the fiscal year with bank balances totaling $45,444.94 and finished the year on June 30th with balances of $56,326.40. The report was approved as submitted.
Jim Banghart gave the Water Report, a copy of which is attached. The water sampling in June of this year showed the clearest water in memory and the best dissolved oxygen level the state had seen so far in the year. He also went over the findings from the investigation into the bacteria problem discussed at last year’s meeting, discussion that came out of a Keene Sentinel report last November and observations reported by the State’s chief limnologist. The attachment shows the specific measurements which led to Thorndike be characterized as “threatened or impaired”. In the discussion it was noted that the state tests public beaches weekly and posts a warning at the beach and on the DES website if bacteria counts are over a threshold. Jim asked members to notify him if they come across such a report and he will notify the membership via email.
Jim Banghart presented his observations from the Lake Congress meeting held on June 1st. The TPCA sent someone to this annual conference for the first time this year because the keynote address on the affects of global warming was relevant and the effects are not well reported. The report from the meeting is attached with links to the presentations he attended. After the meeting Steve Epstein suggested that a NH Department of Environmental Services Fact Sheet on Vegetation Management for Water Quality should be sent to all members to help with what the state described as the major problem for NH lakes. It is a separate attachment worth reading if you plan on doing any tree cutting or landscaping around your property. It describes the Shoreland Protection Act, the most important legislation in NH protecting our waterbodies.
Jim Potter gave the Weedwatcher’s report. The program works in concert with the LakeHost program to keep invasive species from invading the pond and together they have been successful. He described the primary plants we see on the pond. The program is looking for one additional volunteer to paddle around near their waterfront looking at plant growth for an hour or so, at least 3-times per year. A copy of Jim’s report is attached.
Evie Hammerman gave the LakeHost report, a copy of which is also attached. She reported the primary purpose is to educate boaters on the problem with invasive species, and show them how to inspect their own boats and trailers. She described the hours of our paid LakeHosts and acknowledged the good work being done by both camps. She urged the members to volunteer during the week, especially during the last two weeks of August when the camps are no longer in session.
Anne Banghart gave the Canada Geese report. There is a family of 7 that are making Thorndike their home this summer. She suggested members use fencing to protect their properties and to make it less desirable for the Geese. Reflectors and balloons on rafts and docks can help also.
The next topic was a discussion of social media to help members communicate and get information out. Three approaches have been tried and we will continue with all three, letting users choose what works for them.
1. NextDoor meets the needs but has been infiltrated by a few non-TPCA members and is subject to getting information from adjacent neighborhoods if users aren’t careful.
2. Robin Cassel has set up a private Facebook site called Thorndike Pond Shoreline Neighbors. She will act as the administrator and only allow members who are in our membership directory, or their immediate families. Members must have a Facebook account to join the group.
3. A show of hands indicated that most members were willing to share their email addresses in our membership directory. That has worked well, without problems, at the Thorndike Club. We will put this into effect next season for all members who agree to sharing their email addresses.
For the election of officers, Andrew, retiring President, made the following nominations all of which were approved unanimously:
• Jim Potter, President
• Steve Magoun, Vice President
• Jim Banghart, Secretary/Treasurer
• 2-year at large member: Lisa Frantzis and John Brouder.
• Roy Baldwin from the Monadnock Bible Conference and Hari Kirin Khalsa will serve the second year of their two-year terms.
Under comments from the floor:
• Susy Mansfield, speaking in the interest of the Loon Preservation Committee, reported that lead weights are against the law when fishing and offered any fisherman in the association free alternative weights.
• The recent reports of lost watercraft was discussed. All have been found and returned with the exception of a blue paddleboard from Camp Wa-Klo. Though not mentioned at the meeting, it was suggested at last year’s meeting that putting your name on your watercraft and rafts, can facilitate their return.
Jim Banghart, TPCA Secretary/Treasurer
Properties Represented for the 2017 Annual Meeting
Jim and Anne Banghart
John Brouder and Carol Greenwald
Steve and Lynne Dodge
Stephen and Bea Epstein
Janet and Linda Grant and Jim Reiman
Evie Hammerman, Andy Hammerman and Michelle Kirby
Tom and Susy Mansfield
Bob and Judy Melzer
Monadnock Bible Conference by Director Roy Baldwin
Thomas Moore and Hari Kirin Khalsa
Jim, Patty and Jeremy Potter
Peter and Jinnie Russell
Tony and Patty Scholl
Tammy Lafortune and her husband from Camp Wa-Klo
Jeff Whittemore and Robin Cassel
2018 Water Report
We work with the State’s Department of Environmental Services on their Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP). This year the leader of VLAP participated in the June sampling for the first time in about 8 years as we could both remember. She said the Oxygen level are the highest she has seen this season, and clarity was excellent. In that sampling we could see the secchi disk down to a depth of almost 16 feet, the clearest water we can either remember on Thorndike Pond.
There have been a number of outside findings this year, that shed light on our water quality. I will cover them in the order they occurred.
I reported at last year’s annual meeting that some e-coli readings at the Town Beach caused the state to report that beach as impaired. This is not part of the VLAP testing that I do, but it does show in DES’s annual assessment. After the meeting, at the request of those present, mostly Steve Epstein, I tracked this down further. The beach assessment evaluates data from a ten-year period and the report was using data from 2004-2013. This is included in the annual report (even though it’s not looking specifically at one year of data) because it’s looking at the long-term ability of a waterbody or beach area to support swimming and recreation. During this period the Town Beach had two separate occasions where the bacteria levels exceeded 400 cts/100 mL, once in 2008 and once in 2011. If there were two exceedances of 88 cts/100 mL in the 10-yr. period, so it is listed as not-supporting the designate use, which is swimming or primary contact recreation. The person I talked to at DES said, “If you ask me, based on the data collected at the Town Beach, this criterion may be a little over-protective, and once the period of assessment phases out the 2008 data, you will likely see this go back to fully supporting or good.”
The second incident that prompted some research was an article in the Keene Sentinel, on Nov. 27th. Spofford lake is having a problem with storm water runoff and their lake association has launched a study that was the subject of the article. But at the end of the article they mentioned other lakes classified by the state as threatened or impaired. Janet Grant brought this to my attention because of this list. When I contacted the state, I was told that lakes in NH are categorized into three types depending on the amount of nutrients entering the water. The best is Oligotrophic which has the least amount of nutrients and is characterized by: “Larger, deeper lakes with clear water, rocky of sandy shorelines, low phosphorus enrichment, limited root plant growth, low algae growth, and adequate dissolved oxygen throughout.” Thorndike, despite its limited depth is in this category and therefore has more stringent limits on Phosphorus and Chlorophyll. Thorndike is close to the limits on both measurements and occasionally goes over, earning a potential impairment rating. If Thorndike was in the middle category of lakes, Mesotrophic, it would be satisfactory on both measurements, so the impairment is dependent on our classification. For those:
• The Phosphorus limit tor lakes classified as Oligotrophic is <8ug/L. Our peak observations in the past 28 years of measurements is around 8 with about ½ of the years with readings over 8. The last 6 years we have been on or under 8 and when I asked DES they said the recent trend has shown we are actually improving. The general causes of high Phosphorus are groundwater runoff, sewage or septic waste and waterfowl. Looking at the measurements shows that the worst readings are at the two inlets and the best reading is at the outlet, so this is not something that homes on the pond are generating. This inlet readings are normally attributed to upstream beaver activity. When I asked the keynote speaker at this year’s lake congress, about this during lunch, he was not surprised or alarmed.
• The Chlorophyll-a limits for lakes classified as Oligotrophic is <3.3ug/L. Again, we are sometimes over and sometimes under this threshold, but DES again said when I asked them that the recent trend has been improving. By the way, the average for the state is 4.58.
• pH is also listed as marginal, but this is common in NH lakes, caused by a combination of acid rain and poor Acid Neutralizing Capacity attributed of our granite base. Again, the readings show the 2 inlets have the worst readings. By the way, the keynote speaker I mentioned before, thought that a reading of 6.0 is not a problem and the state’s threshold of 6.5 is way too conservative. He didn’t think we have a problem.
The third incident is that I went to the annual NH Lake Congress meeting in Meredith this year, the first time the TPCA has sent anyone during the 14 years I have been on the board, probably ever. We chose to send someone because there was a speaker talking about the affect that climate change will have on our lakes, a topic that is relevant and not well documented. I have a separate report on this meeting. The President of NH Lakes, an organization that we are a member of and who runs the LakeHost program, said in his opening comments, that the three biggest issues facing NH lakes are:
• Ground water runoff usually associated with new developments. The Shoreland Protection act, that you should all be aware of if doing work on your lake frontage, deals with this issue. We on Thorndike don’t have any development and can’t, and also benefit that our houses are generally set back from the pond. As DES said during their June VLAP visit, we have a lot of vegetation along our waterfront.
• Invasive Species, what we are trying to avoid with our LakeHost and weedwatcher programs. Our LakeHost program, which you will hear about shortly from Evie, is pretty good, well above average.
• Climate change, I will cover as part of the Lake Congress Report.
2018 NH Lakes Conference
Though I got there on Friday morning to avoid the expense of an overnight stay, the actual conference started on Thursday evening. The presentation that evening was a history of summer camps in the white mountains. I questioned several people about that presentation and none were impressed about the content or the speaker.
In Tom O’Brian’s, president of NH Lakes, opening comments, he said the three most significant threats to our lakes are invasive species, pollution caused by run-off, and climate change.
The first speaker of the day was Dr. Ken Wagner, on the topic of global warming (climate change). This was the talk that prompted me to think the TPCA should send someone to the conference this year for the first time ever. The other two threats we are aware of and dealing with. Global warming is associated with rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He showed a plot of CO2 levels for the past 400,000 years. It showed that the process is cyclical, occurs about every 100,000 years and we are now in a peak that has risen quickly since WWII and is the highest ever seen. In his assessment it is not the average temperature that is most problematic, that has changed little, but the variability that it causes. What we can expect going forward is:
• Warmer winters, this leads to a shorter period of ice cover and more plant growth in our lakes.
• Warmer summers and the associated higher water temperatures. This leads to higher metabolism in the lake, faster decay and phosphorus release from lake beds and therefore less dissolved oxygen and more blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).
• More variability in the weather with violent storms and periods of drought. For our lakes this causes more run-off which pollutes our lakes, fluctuations in water levels, and movement of the stratification, which has harmful effects on nutrient loading.
He concluded by saying the most critical action we can take is to reduce nutrient loading. A link to his presentation is: https://nhlakes.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/lakes-congress-2018-keynote-address-climate-change-and-lakes.pdf
The second talk that I attended was given by the state’s leading limnologist, David Neils and he gave his assessment of the state of our lakes. The Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP) is run out of his office and creates a large part, but far from all, of the state’s data on lakes. Surprisingly only 180 of the 1,200 lakes in the state participate in this voluntary program, although those that participate are the larger and more important ones. The issues that the state uses to assess, and report to the federal government every 2-years or our lakes are as follows. I will include specific results from Thorndike in each area to put the comments in context:
• Mercury: Mercury advisories are posted in all 50 states and for every water body in NH. It is caused by the exhaust from power plants. On the positive side, with emission controls, this is getting better. There have been no measurements taken on Thorndike.
• Acidity: This is also associated with the acid rain caused by power plant emissions, but also by decaying plants upstream, and by poor acid neutralizing capacity of the granite rock. With emission controls this is also getting better. The state characterizes Thorndike as slightly bad because we have some readings below their 6.5 threshold. The lowest readings are at the SE inlet (near Ginsberg’s) with a reading of 5.9. I talked to Dr. Wagner at lunch and he said we should not be a concern until it gets below 6.0. He thinks the state is being too conservative here.
• Phosphorus: This is generally associated with the runoff caused by development around the lake and is the primary reason for the state’s Shoreland Protection Act. Average phosphorus levels for Thorndike were reported to be, “stable, less than the state median, and equal to the threshold for oligotrophic lakes.” He pointed out that the NH average levels are about 1/3 the national average. We have had very little development around our lake and there is little opportunity for that going forward.
• Invasive Species: This continues to grow, primarily because once it occurs it is hard to get rid of, although techniques are improving. There are now 110 water bodies affected in the state. We do not have that problem yet and that is the primary reason for our Lake Host Program efforts.
• Cyanobacteria: This Blue-Green Algae is smelly and unsightly and can be dangerous to humans. It is usually associated with higher water temperatures and elevated levels of phosphorus. It occurred the earliest every recorded in NH last year on May 31st and advisories continued until November 27th. When it is observed an advisory is posted, the average was for 16 days. I also talked to Dr. Wagner about this during lunch and while I don’t remember the actual numbers his assessment went something like this: It is generally conceded that readings less than 20 are safe and readings above 100 are unsafe, so the state has set a threshold of 70. The problem is that some types of this algae are toxic, and some are not, and the state takes the easy and least expensive route of basing their alerts just on the density. He would advocate doing a test on the toxicity when reading is high before posting an alert. We have not had this problem on our lake in many years.
• Chloride: This is generally caused by salt runoff from roads. The roads around Thorndike are not salted and we have not had this problem. The amount of salt used on roads in the US has increased to an alarming level, 20,000,000 tons during the last year recorded! This is measured by conductivity metrics and Thorndike is reported to be, “below a level of concern”.
• Storm Water Run-off: This is normally associated with development of which we have very little on Thorndike and are unlikely to have any unless the camps were to close. This is important because 90% of pollution problems are caused by storm water.
• Ice-in/out: The state has started collecting this data and not surprisingly, ice-in is getting later and ice-out is getting earlier at a rather significant rate during this period of global warming. We have been reporting this on Thorndike for just the past 3-years.
A link to his presentation is: https://nhlakes.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/lakes-congress-2018-session-id-state-of-water-quality-in-nh.pdf
The third talk I attended was on State Regulatory Programs, primarily the Shoreland Protection Act, given by the State’s Program Coordinator, Jay Aube. The statute is intending to get the water that enters our lakes to do so through the soil rather than directly over the surface as ground-water that can bring in pollutants. This is not much of an issue on Thorndike, because of the low level of development and homes generally set back from the lake. I have been exposed to this act and reported on it occasionally in the past. There is now an excellent publication entitled, “New Hampshire Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management” published in March of 2016. I chose this topic over one on the use of drones, one on invasive species recovery, one on Winnipesaukee and one on the natural history of Loons. A link to his presentation is: https://nhlakes.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/lakes-congress-2018-session-iib-state-regulations-conserving-lakes.pdf
For the fourth talk I attended one on engaging members, again, mostly because the other choices seemed to be less relevant. I have had a few exchanges with the speaker, Erin Graichen and was hoping to get some information on how to better communicate with our members. She did a nice job on the presentation but neither she nor any of the others in the audience knew of a product any better than NextDoor. Most of our members are not heavy users of social media and are not looking for more communication.
Thorndike Pond Conservation Association
Weed Watcher Report 2018
The weed watching program is set up to work in conjunction with the lake host program. The lake hosts do an excellent job of keeping exotic invasive plants and animals out of Thorndike Pond. The weed watchers survey the entire shoreline of the pond on a regular basis in an effort to quickly identify any invasive species that might appear. The members of the weed watcher team are Jim Banghart, Evie Hammerman, Pat Scholl, Roberta Schnoor, David and Alisa Nash, and Jim Potter. Each member of the team has an assigned area of the shoreline to monitor and is expected to patrol that area at least once a month. The team is in need of one more volunteer to be assigned to a section on the northwest shoreline. Please consider joining this worthwhile project and reach out to me if interested.
The good news is that the team has not identified any evidence of invasive aquatic species in Thorndike Pond. Our observations did, however, identify some changes from previous years of likely minimal significance. There has been somewhat more prolific growth of some native plants including Watershield and Bladderwort. The Watershield is particularly evident around the inlets to the pond. Bladderwort, being a free-floating plant, tends to drift with the wind from west to east, washing up on the eastern shoreline or wrapping around rooted plants or docks. Other native plants including Pickerel Weed, Bur-reed, Yellow Water Lilies, and some Cattails and small amounts of native milfoil are present in similar quantities around the shoreline. As usual, the greatest amount of plant growth is noted in the vicinity of the boat launching ramp, which is also where we are at greatest risk of invasive species getting started.
TPCA Annual Meeting 2018
Lake Host Program Report
I'm Evie Hammerman and the current point person running the Lake Host Program. It is sponsored by New Hampshire Lakes, started in 2002, and we've been part of it since it's origin.
It's an EDUCATIONAL program. It advocates inspecting boats at the public boat ramp to avoid invasive plants and animals from being transmitted from one body of water to another. Any lake that has had the Lake Host program and the Weed Watcher program that isn't contaminated has kept free of contamination by invasive plants and animals. Variable Milfoil is the worst plant that is invasive.
The Motto is CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY! A law was passed in January 2017 by the NH legislature that before leaving a body of water you must clean all hitching plants off the trailer and animal fragments. You must open drain plugs and have drains remain open while trailing the boat. You can be fined for violation of these things.
TPCA co-sponsors this program on Thorndike Pond. We write a grant proposal asking for money to pay Lake Hosts. Paul Santos' writes the grant and also collects the weekly data and sends it to NH Lakes.
The grant is based on the number of boats seen and recorded and the number of hours of people working at the boat ramp. We need TPCA to supplement the grant money. We hire paid lake hosts Sat. and Sun. 9 AM- 5PM - Memorial Day to Labor Day, and during the months of July and August on Friday afternoons from 2PM-7PM.
We also need volunteers to work week days! We are fortunate that Camp Wanocksett and Camp Wa-Klo have trained CIT volunteers at the ramp. Both Camps feel they want their young people to understand the responsibility to keep Thorndike Pond clean, from an environmental view and a recreational view.
We also have Volunteers from TPCA who are trained and work at the ramp, putting in hours and inspecting and recording boats. I thank all of you for doing this! But we need more volunteers. We need weekday coverage in August until Labor Day. Sign up on the sheets on the table and I will train you. If you can't volunteer than perhaps you can contribute to TPCA and direct your money to the Lake Host Program.
Lake Hosts greet people, educate them, inspect boats removing any debris, give out brochures, fill out the boater survey form, ask what the last body of water was that they were in (noting if that body of water was contaminated) and ask boaters to inspect their boat on their own. There is a sign Lake Host on Duty, a chair and umbrella. We want people to be aware that we have a Lake Host Program.
This Program is an environmentally correct program but it also protects your property values! We need your Support!