SPOFFORD NH – Spofford Lake is one of the few bodies of water in New Hampshire that has not been affected by invasive species, according to the Spofford Lake Association website.
On the front lines of keeping the lake free of invasive species such as Eurasian Watermilfoil and Chinese mysterious snails, the hosts of Spofford Lake, people who work at the boat launch on 6am Hwy 9A at 6 p.m., seven days a week from mid-May. until the end of October, weather permitting.
“We have seven lake hosts and each host works two six hour shifts per week,” said Frank Turner, the lake hosts coordinator. While lake hosts are paid to inspect the boats, Turner volunteers with the Lake Association.
“We have one of the few lakes in New Hampshire that is clean and that’s because the lake hosts have been doing their job for so many years,” Turner said.
In 2020, the total cost of the program was $ 23,870, with the Lake Association a contribution of $ 13,120; and the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, $ 6,500, with an additional $ 4,250 from the state.
In 2020, more than 6,800 boats were inspected, an increase of 22% over the previous year.
“Most of the lake’s hosts are retirees and all but two are from Vermont,” Turner said. “Most importantly, they are there to protect the lake. On each arrival, they inspect it and look for invasive species. They have been trained for it and know what they are looking for.
If they find anything suspicious, Turner said, they take a sample, package it and send it to the state for analysis.
Last summer, blooms of smelly and possibly toxic cyanobacteria appeared in the crystal-clear waters of Spofford Lake.
Amanda McQuaid, coordinator of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Beach Program and Harmful Algae and Cyanobacteria Bloom Program, said the bloom was likely the result of lower water levels, which means the Surface disturbances may have reached the bottom of the lake, loosening the cyanobacteria back to the top.
“It’s possible that it has been growing there for a while, but we’ve never seen it until now,” McQuaid said.
What hosts don’t do is educate people about safety, speed limits and the wake rule
On Spofford Lake there is a 40 mph limit during the day and a 20 mph limit at night. According to state navigation regulations, boats cannot wake within 150 feet of shore.
This not only protects swimmers, rafts, docks and moored boats, but also helps protect the lake from shoreline erosion, a major concern for Spofford Lake and its continued health.
“Marine Patrol is responsible for this,” Turner said. “They are the lake police.
It is not known when Marine Patrol is on Lake Spofford, he said.
“They come out at random,” he said.
Guests of the lake see all types of watercraft, from kayaks, canoes and rowboats to motorboats and pontoons. Some people come early, before the lake hosts arrive, he said, but that has never been a problem.
“Most of the people who come very early are fishermen and they’re pretty responsible,” Turner said.
Turner said his hosts never informed him of a negative reaction from a boater entering or exiting Spofford Lake. This includes making sure boaters have their drain plugs removed before moving from lake to lake.