Imagine your perfect summer day here at Webster Lake and you will know how winter enthusiasts felt today on Webster Lake! Bright sunshine, blue skies dotted with a few clouds, temperatures near 30 degrees and a fresh 3 inches of snow everywhere. It was the perfect winter day for ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, four wheeling and any other winter activity you might want to do. It was the Webster Lake Fishing Derby this weekend and they couldn’t have asked for a better one. What made today perfect was the winds died down a little from yesterday. From the number of bob houses and groups of people on the lake, I’d say the derby was a success even though it was done virtually. The ice is a good 18″ thick these days and there were a few brave souls who drove their vehicles out on the ice. The majority of permanent bob houses are placed near and around the island, however the portable huts are put up all over the lake. They are very popular this year. Families were gathered with tables, chairs and grills enjoying the day. We took a ride around on our snowmobile and didn’t see lots of trash, so hopefully all the lake users were responsible in cleaning up their areas.
I hope you are all doing well and getting through the winter during these Covid times. It is good to see the numbers finally falling and hope everyone will stay vigilant so that we can possibly have a more normal summer. I also hope those of you who are eligible for the vaccine are able to get appointments scheduled and shots in your arms. It is some light to the end of the tunnel.
I want to update you on a couple things I have been working on the past few months. As you know, the WLA decided to proceed with the mitigation of the exotic milfoil in Chance Pond. Our grant application was submitted to DES and we have been approved for funds. This is a costly undertaking totaling $14,380. We have been awarded $5,752 from DES for this project. Donations made to the WLA earmarked for milfoil mitigation total $5,045, which will leave us with an outstanding balance of $3,583 to pay. Over the years the WLA’s biggest fundraiser is our yard sale. This did not happen last year and we will wait to see what this summer will bring. Your membership dues will be most important this year and you now can see that it doesn’t take much to deplete the funds quickly when an issue does come up that may threaten our lake. We do know that the milfoil in Chance Pond was treated in 2018, at the State of NH’s expense. It may seem that this effort was unsuccessful with the reappearance, however Amy at DES has stated that this original growth was probably present for 2-3 years before it was brought to anyone’s attention. Thus it had a chance to get a very good root system established. The first treatment done in 2018, may not have eradicated the plant totally to those roots. It is not uncommon to have to retreat areas more than once. Hence, we need to be vigilant with this process and realize that ongoing monitoring of this project will continue over the years. One of our board members, Bonnie Moore has taken a special interest in this project. She worked with the diver we contracted in the latter part of the summer to remove some of the plants. She saw first hand how infested and thick the growth had become. She recently spoke with the contact person at SOLitude, the company we have contracted with to treat the milfoil and asked many questions. She has written an article that will appear in the WLA Spring newsletter that is very informative. She is confident we can get a handle on this problem and the company is more prepared this time to attack the milfoil. The herbicide used in 2018 was Procellacor and that is the product of choice again in 2021. In 2018, this was a new product and they now have more experience dispersing and utilizing the product in different water bodies. This is a widely used herbicide and does not affect other plant life. Postings will be placed around the area alerting the public of the treatment. The State will require a 6 hour swimming restriction and a 12 hour irrigation restriction, but the herbicide does not come with these requirements. There will be follow up testing done in the days and months following the treatment. You will be hearing more about this project in the next few months, but I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. This is also a perfect example of how important the Weed Watcher program is and if you are interested in becoming a WLA Weed Watcher please let me know.
The other issue I have been working on is the dredging of the boat launch. I wish I had good news for all of those who have been very concerned with this issue. I offered the WLA’s assistance help to get this project moving forward in the Fall. One of our other board members, Kim Bonin, helped research the permitting process with DES. After numerous emails to the City Manager, I was finally able to be a part of a Zoom meeting with the City Manager, Director and Assistant Director of Municipal Services and Director of Planning and Zoning. This is a far more complicated process than I ever imagined. I feel I have been able to get this moved up on the City’s to do list, but I am confident this is not something that will happen quickly. There will be more on this as well in the Spring newsletter and I will pass along anything if it moves another step forward.
Special thanks to Bonnie and Kim for their extra efforts with these 2 projects. I also want to thank Mark Lorenze for fixing the stairway to the Steadman Pavilion. The railings took a bit of a beating from a city snow plow, but Mark says the repair gave him an opportunity to make it even better! Thanks to everyone for their continued support and efforts to keep our lake a gem to enjoy.
Stay safe and healthy,