Due to the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing recommendations and safe food handling protocols, the Highland Lake Protective Association (HLPA) is cancelling its annual Ice Cream Social at the East Andover Fire Station. However, the Lighting of the Flares around the edge of the lake starts at 9 PM the evening of Friday, July 3. Saturday, July 4 will feature our boat parade around the lake starting at 4 PM on the west shore, with a $50 cash prize for the best decorated boat. The Annual Meeting will also be postponed until next summer as well for the same reasons as the Social.
Flares may be requested by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and will be delivered upon your request prior to 9 PM on July 3 or may be picked up at Beth Frost’s home on Maple Street or Earle Davis’ on West Shore Drive. Flares cost $6 each or $20 for 4 flares.
Recap of Last Year
The 2020 winter around Highland Lake was about average: slightly less than average snowfall but enough to ski, snowmobile, and skate for much of the winter. Ice-in was December 11 and ice-out was on March 26, so there were 111 days of coverage: 4.2 days shorter than the most recent nine-year average. Last winter, in 2019, we enjoyed 116 days of ice. The ice coverage over the last nine years has ranged from 73 days in 2016 to 141 days in 2014.
The 2019 individual lake water test results contained the following recap:
“Lake quality remained representative of borderline oligotrophic/mesotrophic, or high to average quality, conditions. Visual inspection of data indicates chlorophyll levels have improved slightly since 2012 resulting in improved water clarity (transparency). However, Metalimnetic turbidity levels were slightly elevated indicating above average algal growth was likely occurring in deeper waters. This highlights the delicate balance of lake systems and the importance of managing stormwater runoff to reduce pollutant loading to the lake.
“The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service’s New Hampshire Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service’s Landscaping at the Water’s Edge are great resources. Epilimnetic pH levels have gradually improved since 2008, likely due to the recovery of New Hampshire’s surface waters to historical acid precipitation. For more information consult the DES’ Acid Rain Status and Trends report. Keep up the great work!”
Geese on the public and private beaches can be a nuisance and can contribute to e-coli levels, so it’s important not to encourage them by feeding. Continued management of stormwater runoff and the maintaining of vegetative buffers to reduce nutrient loading have continued to pay dividends to continued lake water health. The 2019 water quality assessment can be viewed at DES.NH.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/vlap/categories/publications.htm.
Our resident pair of loons did establish a nest and hatched two eggs, but within days the eggs were discovered under water a few feet away. The eggs were sent to the state biologists by Donna Baker-Hartwell for analysis. Hopefully, the loons will lay another two eggs again soon.
It is important for boaters to please be cautious of waves created in areas in which loons build a nest, as big waves can dislodge the eggs. Distance away applies to paddle-boaters as well (kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, etc.), because those craft are so quiet loons will frighten if they do not hear you coming.
New last year, the HLPA streamlined the organization and embraced technology by using electronic media and PR to communicate with our community, as mailing costs for the annual letter were cost prohibitive. We are no longer collecting dues but welcome donations from the community to offset expenses as needed.
We also encourage additional energy and input from new benefactors, as dues-based membership has been in decline for some time. Questions posed via email (email@example.com) or our Facebook page will be responded to accordingly. (Facebook: The Highland Lake Protective Association)
Supporting the HLPA is a good way to get to know your fellow lake residents and demonstrate your dedication for keeping Highland Lake a clean, safe, and healthy place to live and play. The HLPA thanks you for your past support, and hope you plan to continue.
Importantly, remember that any activity within the defined watershed boundaries of Highland Lake can ultimately impact water quality, not just the shoreline. As always, the HLPA welcomes all members of the community who are interested in protecting and celebrating the beauty of Highland Lake, particularly those living within its watershed and not just along the shoreline. What your donation supports:
• The HLPA supports the State’s VLAP program to closely follow the quality of our lake water. Samples are collected monthly and voluntarily driven to the DES lab in Concord for testing. This is a fee-based service.
• We provide and maintain the Porta-Potty by the boat launch for a fee and have contributed monetary resources to area organizations as appropriate.
• We support protection of our loons, bald eagles and fish, and encourage invasive weed monitoring practices.
Feel free to donate by mailing your check to PO Box 252, East Andover NH 03231.