News & Updates
Spring 2017 Updates
The VLAP Annual Workshop was attended by Bearcamp Pond Association members: Bob Greene, Gail Colozzi, April Greene-Colozzi, and Mary and Hayden Hillsgrove. Attendees learned important information about the spread of cyanobacteria, water and cyanobacteria sampling techniques, loons mortality due to lead fishing tackle and lake pollutants, and invasion of exotic species in NH lakes, ponds, and rivers.
As always, volunteers to collect water samples three times during the summer (June, July, and August) and to be Weed (exotic plant and animal) Watchers will always be needed, so please contact us : firstname.lastname@example.org, if you'd like to help out with these most important pond association activities
LEAD-FREE FISHING ON BEARCAMP
Click on the link below for all the information and details you need to know about the NH law and to use lead-free fishing tackle.. Despite the law on lead-free fishing tackle, loons continue to die from lead tackle, so if you fish, please do your part to protect and sustain this important and beautiful NH water bird.
Please Click on our BCPA Fact Sheet now or find it at the bottom of the Helpful Links page. Download and print it out as a handy information resource.
ThE FOLLOWING important article FROM THE JUNE 1 EDITION OF THE SAMPLER IS about the damaging effects - accelerated aging and increased phosphorus - of adding sand to shoreline beaches. Shallow ponds, such as, Bearcamp, are particularly vulnerable.
Consider This When Creating a Beach or Dumping Sand
Adapted From NHDES Fact Sheet WD-WB-18 Perching Beaches to Lessen Impacts to Lake Quality
Summer is almost here meaning beach weather is right around the corner. Lake property owners may be thinking this is the perfect year to build that long-awaited beach or replenish a pre-existing beach with sand. If so, there are some things you should carefully consider before digging in. In accordance with state regulations (RSA 482-A), a permit from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Wetlands Bureau is required for construction of a beach because it impacts areas within the banks of a surface water body. Beaches permitted by NHDES must also comply with the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act (RSA 483-B). RSA 483-B requires, among other things, that a vegetated waterfront buffer be left intact in order to preserve the integrity of the shoreline and protect water quality. Other local and federal regulations also may apply to beach construction.
What Are The Impacts of Sand on Lake Quality?
Lakes act as settling basins for their watersheds, collecting and accumulating materials that move downslope and drain into them. This process, which results in the gradual filling-in of lakes over thousands of years, is known as "lake aging." Lake aging is a natural succession from lake to marsh, to meadow, and eventually to dry upland. The processes that cause lake aging cannot be stopped or reversed but they can certainly be accelerated. Periodically adding sand to a lake, or lakeshore, where it will erode into the water, greatly accelerates lake aging. It’s difficult to imagine how adding just 1 cubic yard of sand to a beach each year could damage a lake until one considers that in 10 years this equals an entire dump truck load of sand, and if you stop consider the other property owners that might be doing this, the numbers add up quickly!
The physical process of accelerating lake aging has major biological impacts. A shallower lake has a reduced volume of water to dilute and process incoming contaminants, such as phosphorus, which easily attaches itself to sand particles. Increases in phosphorous, combined with a shallower lake bed, often result in accelerated growth of aquatic vegetation and algae. This rapid growth, in turn, can cause water oxygen levels to decrease, which can suffocate aquatic animals, most visibly, fish. In addition, as a lake becomes shallower, more of the lake bed is exposed to sunlight, resulting in increased water temperatures. Dumping sand along the shore of a lake can also smother benthic (bottom dwelling) algae, invertebrates and other critical habitats, causing a disruption in the food chain of higher organisms that depend on them, including fish. Also, rather than sandy bottoms, many fish species rely on stony bed habitats for nesting and spawning purposes.
The mineral composition of sand is not consistent. Although clean, washed beach sand is primarily quartz, which is relatively inert, sand can contain other materials. In New Hampshire, iron is a common component of sand and gravel. Iron-rich sand will frequently result in the presence of iron bacteria. Although iron bacteria do not pose a health hazard, they do cause aesthetic problems by creating rust-colored slime deposits and oil-like films on the sand as they oxidize the iron. Sand may also contain contaminants other than iron, all of which have the potential to wash out of the sand and into the water. Clay is a material that, if present in the deposited sand, can cause turbidity problems (reduced water clarity). Nutrients such as phosphorus, which readily attaches to sand particles, can contribute to increased macrophyte, algae and cyanobacteria growth in the water column.
Beach Location, Size and Configuration
A beach should be placed in a location on the lake frontage that poses the least environmental impact. When selecting an appropriate location, look for an area that requires the least amount of tree, vegetation, rock and soil removal. Ideally, you should choose an area where the slope of the land is naturally more flat. Shoreland Protection rules prohibit the construction of beaches in or on slopes steeper than 25%. The slope is calculated by dividing the total increase in the height of the land from the lowest point of the project to the highest point of the project. This is measured from the lakeward most edge of the project to the landward most edge of the project, and then multiplied by 100. Beach construction in wetland areas such as emergent, marshy shorelines is prohibited.
Be certain to locate an area of the shoreline where the adjacent lakebed is not mucky and has little aquatic weed growth. In addition to being an area for which a permit may be granted, it will provide better conditions for swimming and less disturbance to the lake habitat and water quality.
Dredging the lake-bottom and placement of sand in the water for beach construction for private residential use is not permitted. These are environmentally damaging activities and are activities that are only permitted for public facilities in rare and extenuating circumstances. Additionally, the beach and associated construction activities must be located at least 20 feet from property boundaries unless written permission is obtained from the affected abutter(s).
Current NHDES policy requires that all new beaches must be constructed in a "perched" position on the waterfront. A "perched beach" must have little or no slope and must be located entirely out of the water, above and landward of the existing undisturbed natural shoreline. Narrow, typically 4 ft. wide access steps to the water may be incorporated into the design. If steps are constructed, they must either be wooden removable steps over the bank or stone steps that are cut in and are completely recessed into the shoreline. All sand must be placed on the flat beach surface above the high water mark and out of the water. The construction of a beach in a perched position helps prevent the erosion of sand into the water and decreases the rate of lake aging. Perched beaches also require less maintenance, which is a direct benefit to the land owner.
Replenishment of beach sand may be allowed once every six years, if needed. In general, it may not exceed more than 10 cubic yards. Applications for beach replenishment should incorporate methods for diversion of surface runoff around the beach area. This is required if requests for beach replenishment are too frequent or the migration of sand has resulted in the need to maintenance dredge adjacent areas.
Who to Contact
If you are interested in constructing a perched beach, please visit the Wetlands Bureau page for more information and for permit application materials. You may also contact the Wetlands Bureau by phone at (603) 271-2147, or via email at email@example.com.
Latest edition (June 1, 2017) of The Sampler - a monthly e-newsletter produced by the Volunteer Lake Assessment Program. Click on the link to view: http://archive.mailermailer.com/view/160985231g-d952a730%2a1238117v-86d88561
BEARCAMP loon PAIR 2017
The loon nest was launched on April 29 a couple of weeks after the loon pair returned. The loons have not yet started nesting on the raft.