VLAP Weekly Update 7/03/2015


Sand Pond in Marlow

Monday got off to a slow start in the lab as most Sunday samplers were rained out. Kudos to the brave volunteers at Highland Lake in Stoddard for sticking out the rain to sample Sunday morning! Thank you to Gary at Perkins Pond in Sunapee for the blueberry muffins! Carina visited Sand Pond in Marlow on Monday and recorded this week’s best Secchi disk reading of approximately 8.0 meters!

Hope everyone got to enjoy the nice day on Tuesday! It was a busy day in the field and in the lab! Kirsten Nelson, DES’ newest full-time biologist, joined Sara at Pine Island Pond in Manchester. Unfortunately, they may have discovered a new infestation of Variable milfoil. Amy has sent out a sample for DNA confirmation. It didn’t stop Kirsten from enjoying a day on the pond!


Kirsten at Pine Island Pond

Unfortunately the thunderstorms put us a little behind on Wednesday, but we were able to re-schedule the visits for next week. On another note, we have accomplished a lot in the lab!

On Thursday, we sampled Mill Pond in East Washington and it was a little windy, but samples were collected and the weather was beautiful.


J. Schwartz successfully collected a bacteria sample at Mill Pond!

Hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th! Rand Pond in Goshen, NH has a boat parade this weekend!

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VLAP Weekly Update 6/26/15

Silver Lake Harrisville view of Mt Monadnock (9-11-03)

View of Mt. Monadnock from Silver Lake in Harrisville

On Monday, Sara visited Armington, Katherine and Tarleton Lakes in Piermont. It was a long day, but a beautiful trip! I went to Silver Lake in Harrisville and while there I picked up samples from Child’s Bog in Harrisville and Nubanusit Lake in Nelson; this helped save the volunteers a trip to Concord. The best Secchi disk reading for the week goes to Silver Lake in Harrisville with a transparency of approximately 9 meters.


Mike Poole and Grita Taylor sampling Armington Lake in Piermont

On Tuesday I went to Rust Pond in Wolfeboro.  We had to wait out the rain for a bit, but then we got a window of dry weather to sample the deep spot.

On Wednesday I went to Winona Lake in New Hampton. Beatrice from Winona Lake told me that the lake used to be known as Long Pond. Being a popular name the lake was renamed Winona after an Indian girl who had drown trying to cross the lake to escape raiders on the land.  Keep up the good work everyone and have a great weekend!

On Thursday, I sampled with Louis at Sebbins Pond in Bedford.  It was a quick and easy day!

On Friday, Sara went to Warren Lake in Alstead. The rain stopped just before sampling and it was a beautiful morning with the mist coming off the lake. Sara had help from two young samplers; and the Secchi disk readings were great! Despite the good amount of rain, the tributary flow was still on the low side.

Keep up the good work everyone and have a great weekend!


Warren Lake, Alstead on a misty morning


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VLAP Weekly Update 6/26

Tuesday, June 23rd I traveled to Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham, NH. I actually requested to visit this lake because my grandmother owns a house on the water in Nottingham and I have been visiting this lake since I was a little girl. I even first learned how to waterski on Pawtuckaway when I was about 10 years old! Thunderstorms and downpours were in the forecast that day but we finished our sampling just in time.


Pawtuckaway Lake volunteer Mark Wageling viewing the Secchi disk.

Wednesday was a busy day for me! I sampled with a volunteer at Thorndike Pond and then drove over to Gilmore Pond to assist with sampling there since both ponds are in Jaffrey, NH. Then, I picked up samples from Dublin Lake and Contoocook Lake to save them the trip to Concord. There was plenty of analysis to be done in the lab that day and I definitely got a good night’s sleep that night!

Thorndike Pond Sailboats 8-16-2006

Sailboats on Thorndike Pond

On Thursday the 25th I headed to Moores Pond which is in Tamworth, NH. We sampled off of a pedal pontoon boat which I had never seen or even heard of before! It was fun and was not much work at all despite the fact that it was a little windy out. I had a lot of fun with this volunteer chatting about his days as a high school gym teacher and learning about his favorite spots to fish. I will definitely have been on every type of water craft possible by the end of the summer!

Moores Pond Tamworth 2

Moores Pond in Tamworth

Friday I met Jo at Harantis Lake in Chester, NH. We paddled to the deep spot and tributaries in a canoe. It was a very wide canoe so there was actually plenty of room for all of our equipment. She told me that she has seen freshwater jellyfish in that lake before! We looked but did not see any that day. It was a busy and productive week!


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2015 Watershed Ecology Institute

Don’t miss the Watershed Ecology Institute offered by UNH Cooperative Extension! Join fellow educators from July 13th – 16th to learn what a watershed is, how to identify watershed boundaries, and how to sample water quality, macroinvertebrates, identify plants and other aquatic life, and how to use ArcGIS online. For more information visit http://extension.unh.edu/Watershed-Ecology-Institute-2015



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VLAP Weekly Update 6/14/2015


Powwow Pond, East Kingston

Hope everyone had a good week! Carina, Sara and I have been out every day. Carina successfully sampled in the rain earlier this week. We went to Pillsbury Lake, Rock Pond, Pool Pond, Little Lake Sunapee, Winnepocket Lake, White Oak Pond, Powwow Pond and Beaver Lake. I have seen a few loon families, ducks and geese. Even the world’s smallest sun turtle sitting on a lily pad (can I get an “aww”). I have also heard some successful fishing stories, including some good bass fishing over at Waukewan Lake in Meredith. I  revisited the lake this past weekend to fish but definitely didn’t compensate for the amount of paddling it would take to get around the lake–especially on a windy day.


Hawkins Pond, Center Harbor

We have also added a new pond to our VLAP program–Hawkins Pond in Center Harbor. Welcome, and we look forward to learning more about Hawkins Pond!

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Meet the VLAP Interns: Carina

carina-close-hawkinspond-2015-webMy name is Carina Pearson and I am so excited to be interning with Sara Steiner and the Volunteer Lake Assessment Program at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services this summer! I look forward to learning more about all of the lakes and ponds and traveling around New Hampshire. I will be a junior at Saint Anselm College in the fall pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry. I am from Nashua, NH but I spend time by Newfound Lake at my parent’s lake house in Bristol, NH on the weekends. I love waterskiing and tubing behind our boat whenever I get the chance. I also enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, biking and hiking. I recently started taking kickboxing classes which is a lot of fun and I love cooking and baking in my spare time too. During the winter months I like to downhill ski.

It brings me great joy to help others so I participate in service trips at my school whenever I can. I traveled to the Saint Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last February to serve at a soup kitchen. I also went to Biloxi, Mississippi last April, which is located on the Gulf Coast, to help with environmental projects such as planting trees and making oyster baskets that help prevent erosion of the shoreline. I will be flying to Phoenix, Arizona next January to serve at the Andre House. Even though I am only one person I know the small tasks I complete can make a big difference. Having grown up near a lake my greatest interest is to protect water quality. I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves to accomplish what needs to be done to improve the environment and community. I cannot wait to meet all of the volunteers in the program to go out sampling and do our part in helping to protect the lakes and ponds in New Hampshire!

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Meet the VLAP interns: Callie


Hi there! My name is Callie Ficek. I am a biology student at UNH Manchester, currently finishing up my junior year. I am very passionate about the environment as well as wildlife, and worked for the NH Lake Association last summer at Beaver Lake. In my spare time, I am an environmental educator at the Massabesic Audubon. I also do a lot of work with the Make-A-Wish foundation and Special Olympics. On weekends, I occasionally dress up as a princess (one of my side jobs) and I must say I never expected going to strangers’ homes to host tea parties but it has been full of rewarding yet valuable experiences. I love hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing–really anything outdoors. I am a tomboy at heart. I love trying new things, traveling, sports, RiverFest and experimenting with new art supplies. I also love tacos and am currently addicted to Masa’s sushi in Manchester. Finally, I love laughing and I always find joy in bringing a smile to someone’s face. I look forward to meeting you all!


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Ice Conditions Improve, but…

WMUR reports that ice conditions on lakes have improved but not all lakes and ponds are safe yet.


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Careful: Thin Ice!

Ice Considered Unsafe Across New Hampshire

Cold temperatures may be back, but the ice on area ponds and lakes remains unsafe. New Hampshire Fish and Game officials said ice across the state is unstable.

Click to view News 9′s coverage.

“Ponds are going to start freezing up pretty quick, but they’re just not going to be safe for a little while,” said David Gill, the Concord Parks and Recreation Director.

Warnings are clearly marked at White Park in Concord, where on Christmas Eve, there was a close call. Gill said a boy’s dog fell through the ice, and the boy too fell through the ice trying to save his dog. Fortunately, a Parks and Recreation employee was nearby and pulled the boy to safety.

“It was a close call, but it’s just a reminder that it’s thin ice, it’s not safe,” said Gill.

Meanwhile in Meredith, there’s no ice on Lake Winnipesaukee while parts of Wickwas Lake are frozen but not enough for recreation purposes.
“Right now, all the ice in New Hampshire is considered unsafe,” said Capt. John Wimsatt of New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Wimsatt said rain and warm weather have been setbacks for ice this month. A slow start this season will delay ice activities.

“Parents need to be very concerned that they don’t let their children venture out onto the ice during this Christmas break,” said Wimsatt.

Wimsatt said ice should be at least six inches thick to walk on, and about a foot thick for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.

“You can’t rely on what somebody else is doing out on the ice to be indicative of what is safe to do,” said Wimsatt.

As for White Park, Gill said it’ll take at least a couple more weeks of freezing temperatures before they open the pond.

“This year we’re definitely behind the ballgame so to speak because mother nature has really just been upside down,” said Gill.

New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are especially concerned about the North Country area, where there’s a lot of snowmobiling.

In Pittsburg, officials said First Connecticut Lake is still 40 percent open water.

Anyone who notices someone falling through ice is urged to call 911.

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Upcoming EPA Webcast on Harmful Algal Blooms and the Role of Citizen Scientists

On May 29, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. EST, EPA’s Office of
Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds will host a webcast on public engagement
opportunities to address harmful algal blooms (HABs), entitled, “The Role of
Citizen Scientists in Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Response
.” Steve Morton from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Scott Kishbaugh and Karen Stainbrook from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation will begin the series with a discussion of their involvement with volunteer monitoring initiatives, and how the American public can get involved in a project to monitor for potentially toxic algal species and collect meaningful data from their local water bodies for use in decision-making by a local, state, or federal agency.

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