2012 Water Report
I mentioned at last year’s annual meeting that there were budget cuts at the state level which have impacted the Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP) that we participate in for our water testing. This impacts us in two ways:
- State sampling of water bodies has been reduced from annually to bi-annually. Because we coordinate our water sampling with Gilmore Pond, they are continuing with annual testing on our two ponds because they can pick them both up on the same visit.
- There is no longer a report for our pond, we are now included as part of a regional report. We are part of the Monadnock Region. There is a benefit to this method in that it makes it easier to compare Thorndike Pond to other near-by water bodies.
As for test results on Thorndike Pond, we continue testing once each month during June, July, and August, one with the state’s participation. The single most important measurement is total phosphorous and for this Thorndike Pond has been stable for the past two decades, slightly better than the state average but slightly worse than the regional average with a level that the state characterizes as good. Water clarity is one of the most apparent measurements to residents. For Thorndike Pond water clarity varies between readings but like phosphorus is slightly better than the state average but slightly worse than the regional average. We are in a range that the state characterizes as good, almost at the limit considered exceptional. Measurements taken in 2012, which are not yet in the report, are very good.
At this year’s VLAP training workshop there were three topics presented beyond the training sessions that affect Thorndike Pond:
- We were introduced to Ted Diers, the new Watershed Bureau Administer. In his presentation he described that he is changing the focus of the program to developing fact sheets for water bodies that can be used for actionable information.
- Sherry Godlewski gave a wonderful and compelling presentation on climate change and its effects on our lakes. Climate change projections are based on CO2 levels which have historically correlate closely with temperature. She indicated that there have been seven 100-year floods in the state in the last 7-years and five times the rate of federally declared disaster between 2003 and 2011 than there were in the prior 50 years. This could have implications on our dam and its requirements in the future.
- Craig Day gave a presentation on the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act that went into effect last July, replacing the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. The new act retains the 50 foot square grids along the waterfront and the requirement for 50 point in each grid square, but it gives more points for the trees than the prior act did, essentially relaxing the requirement. If you are considering clearing land within 50 feet of the pond you should consult with this new act and if you want to do more clearing, this may benefit you.
VLAP Coordinator for the TPCA