Every Year is Going to be a Great Year for Lake Attitash!

In 2019 we got an amazing gift. Our lake received an alum treatment in the early spring of 2019, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and funds raised from the LAA membership, Amesbury and Merrimac. This alum treatment sealed the excess nutrients that create harmful algal blooms into the sediment of areas of the lake that were deeper than 11’. It was successful. We now enjoy clear water, significantly reduced phosphorus and higher oxygen levels in the water. We are happy and so are the fish and the plants! Because the cost of the 2019 alum treatment was lower than expected, in the spring of 2020, Amesbury put additional alum in the deepest areas of the lake, a relatively small area that has the deepest levels of sediment. The lake remains clearer and the levels of Cyanobacteria remain under control.

We can all love our lake!

We can do our part to prolong the success of the alum treatment. It does not last forever but everything we do to minimize the flow of nutrients into the lake though storm water runoff and soil erosion will extend the positive effects of the alum treatment. What we do on our property around the lake and in the watershed has an impact, for better or for worse, on the water quality in Lake Attitash.

Ways that You Can Protect the Lake

The Lake Attitash Association is committed to providing up to date information on ways to protect Lake Attitash to the watershed residents, people who use the lake and the public in general. The following summaries have a links below each topics that were prepared in conjunction with the S.319 grant to mitigate the proliferation of Cyanobacteria in Lake Attitash. Click the + for each section to expand that section and learn more.

What’s the Problem with Pet Waste?

Pet waste left in our yards and communities can have many adverse effects on the environment, as it is full of harmful bacteria and excess nutrients. Besides the fact pet waste is a neighborhood nuisance, it can make people sick, especially children who are more likely to come into contact with it while playing. Pet waste left on lawns can also kill or damage grass and other plants. When pet waste is washed into lakes or streams, the waste decays, uses up oxygen, and sometimes releases ammonia. This can kill fish! Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth. Overly fertile water becomes cloudy and green…imagine this in Lake Attitash!

Managing pet waste properly is something easy that everyone can do to make a difference in the quality of our surface waters. Individual actions can result in significant water quality improvements when carried out by a majority of people. Unlike some forms of storm water pollutants, individuals in our watershed can easily and economically manage pet waste and help to keep your waters safe and aesthetically pleasing.

DOG WASTE AND SURFACE WATER QUALITY. DID YOU KNOW?
There are many licensed dogs in the Lake Attitash Watershed. Each of these dogs produces about ¾ lb of solid waste and 7.8 billion bacteria per day! Rainfall and snowmelt in the Lake Attitash watershed goes untreated directly into streams, rivers and lakes. Along its way, storm water picks up contaminants in its path. That’s why it is important to make sure that pet waste and its pollutants do not end up in storm drains.

The lands in the watershed protect Lake Attitash and the backup drinking water supply for Amesbury residents. Waste from dogs can enter directly into the Lake or into the tributaries that then flow into the Lake. Bacteria and other parasites, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, found in pet waste can survive for long periods when left on the ground. During a rain storm, these pollutants can be washed into the lake, compromising water quality. Please pick up after your pet.

How you can help:

  • NEVER let your dog run loose.
  • BRING IT ‐ Always bring a plastic bag when you walk your dog.
  • BAG IT ‐ Use the bag as a glove to pick up the pet waste. Scoop up the waste and turn the bag inside out around the waste.
  • DISPOSE IT ‐ Properly dispose the waste by placing it in a trash can or flushing it unbagged down the toilet. Don’t forget to wash your hands.
  • NEVER THROW WASTE DOWN A STORM DRAIN!
  • PICK UP after your pet in your yard.
  • ONLY bring your dog where dogs are allowed.

Give the lake a break! Create a buffer garden!

A buffer garden is a planted or wild vegetated area along the lake that functions to filter runoff, capture pollutants before they reach the lake, separate human and pet activity from the water, and provide a wildlife habitat. A buffer garden is a “living filter.” Avoid having your lawn extend directly to the water. Some examples:


Create a buffer between your lawn and the lake! Or, just don’t mow the shore line!

Storm water run-off
Storm water run-off is the single largest contributor to water quality degradation in Massachusetts. Pollutants carried by run off that cause the most concern are sediment, nutrients and pathogens, all three of which can be captured by a buffer garden.

Major pollutants from home gardens & lawns include fertilizers, pesticides and pet droppings.

Major pollutants from driveways and roads include sand, salt, oil and antifreeze

BENEFITS OF BUFFER GARDENS TO THE LAKE:
- Capture pollution
- Provide wildlife habitat (turtles, birds)

BENEFITS TO YOU, THE HOMEOWNER:
- Erosion control ‘
- Wildlife attraction
- Goose barrier – (Geese like to have a wide, unobstructed view and close and easy access to the water to escape predators. Although lawns are a favorite food, geese will not travel through tall grasses or dense vegetation to get to food. Buffer gardens keep them off your lawn!

CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PLANNING A BUFFER GARDEN:
- Maintain accessibility to lake
- Maintain view of lake
- Provide color throughout growing season
- Low maintenance

HOW TO PLAN YOUR BUFFER GARDEN:

  • Draw a site map noting structures, driveway, walkways, frontage and areas of activity, trees and other vegetation.
  • Observe water runoff patterns on your property during a heavy rainstorm and note the problem areas. Even small areas of buffer garden will help.
  • Consider harsh winter winds that blow across your property that can dry out the leaves or needles of evergreens (mountain laurel, pines, spruce). What you already have growing in undeveloped areas around your property are helpful indicators of the type of plants that will succeed.
  • The deeper the root system of plants, the better the chances of capturing soluble nutrients and other pollutants in subsurface flow.
  • Before starting to dig, lay out plants to ensure there are enough, with the right spacing. Spacing may vary, but generally plant them at least 3 feet apart … leaving room to grow without crowding. The space in-between can be planted with ferns, flowers or groundcover during the early years.
  • All new plants require some artificial watering during the first growing season, but when planting in the very early spring or fall when the environment is cool and moist requires far less watering than planting during the warm growing season. In addition, planting in the early spring or fall, when growing processes are shut down, will give plants time to acclimate to their new surroundings.
  • Even just creating a “no mow” zone along the lake will allow a more diverse mix of vegetation to grow! Let nature do the work.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING NATIVE PLANTS FOR YOUR BUFFER GARDEN

NATIVE GROUND COVERS:


Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) – 1’ full sun, handsome foliage, good groundcover
Virginia Creeper – sun, full/part shade, grows low along ground, up trees, fences, rock walls
Bunchberry / Creeping Dogwood (Cornus canadensis) – 6” full/part shade, berries attract birds, showy white spring flowers, red summer berries, purplish fall color. Excellent ground cover
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) – 4” full/part shade , flowers, fruits, glossy aromatic foliage
Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens) – 2” full/part shade, white flowers in June, red berries late summer-fall
Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) – 1’ full/part shade, evergreen ground cover; glossy foliage
Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) – 3-4’ full/part shade, handsome foliage; cinnamon-colored, fertile fronds
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) – 2’ full/part shade, fertile fronds used in dried arrangements

NATIVE PERENNIALS:

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium) – 1’ full sun, stiff, grass-like with blue-violet flowers
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) – 1-2’ full sun, early yellow flowers
Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) – 1-3’ full sun, purple-blue flower spires in June; pretty foliage
Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) – 1-4’ full sun, white ray flower with yellow center, attracts butterflies
Cardinal flower (Lobella cardinalis) – 2-4’ full sun, brilliant red flowers attracts hummingbirds
Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) – 1-3’ full sun, showy purple-blue flowers in late spring
Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvanica) – 2’ full sun, forms low turf on sunny dry soils
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) – 1-3’ full/part shade & full sun, orange flowers in summer; attracts hummingbirds, butterflies
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) – 1’ full/part shade, small star-like flowers in a loose spike
Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) – 6” full/part shade, trailing plant, white and pink flowers
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) – 1’ full/part shade, delicate with blue-lavender bell-shaped flowers

NATIVE LOW GROWING SHRUBS:

Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) –  1-2’ full/part shade & full sun , flowers, fruits attract birds, scarlet fall color, good ground cover
Maple Leaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) – 3-6’ full/part shade & full sun, fruits attract birds, attractive foliage, good fall color
Steeplebush (Spiraea tomenosa) – 4’ full/part shade & full sun, spires of pink flowers
Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrine) – 2-4’ full/part shade & full sun, gray green aromatic fern-like leaves
Pasture juniper (Juniperus communis) – 1-4’ full sun, foliage, good ground cover
Rhodora Azalea (Rhododendron canadense) – 3-4’ full sun, very showy rose purple flowers
Sweet Gale (Myrica gale) – 2-4’ full sun, aromatic foliage

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under an s. 319 competitive grant.

AFTER THE STORM – A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING STORMWATER

What is storm water runoff?

Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground.

Why is storm water runoff a problem?

Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.

The Effects of Pollution

- Polluted storm water runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.
- Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for native aquatic plants to grow and provide an ideal habitat for nuisance aquatic weeks. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.

- Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms that can pose a serious health hazard. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.

- Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
Debris—plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts—washed into waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.

- Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
Polluted storm water often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.

 

Pet waste

Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters. When walking your pet always bring a bag and remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly.

Either flush it or put it in the trash. Never dispose of pet waste in a storm drain. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.

 

Lawn Care

Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.

- Don’t overwater your lawn. Consider using a timer or put out an empty tuna can – when it’s full you can stop watering.
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Test your lawn soil and use zero phosphorus fertilizer whenever possible. UMass Extension offers low cost soil testing – visit the following website for more information: https://ag.umass.edu/sites/ag.umass.edu/files/pdf-doc-ppt/routine_home_grounds_112917_0.pdf
- Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.

Automobile Care

Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system.

Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a waterbody.

- Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on your yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.

- Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.

Residential Landscaping

Landscaping techniques can have a major impact on water quality.
- Permeable Pavement —Traditional concrete and asphalt don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Instead these surfaces rely on storm drains to divert unwanted water. - Permeable pavement systems allow rain and snowmelt to soak through, decreasing storm water runoff.
- Rain Barrels -You can collect rainwater from rooftops in mosquito proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas.
- Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales - Specially designed areas planted with native plants and low maintenance grasses can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
- Vegetated Filter Strips - Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants storm water picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.

Community Education
Education is essential to changing people's behavior. Signs and markers near storm drains warn residents that pollutants entering the drains will be carried untreated into a local waterbody. Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don’t pour them onto the ground or into storm drains. Plant a buffer garden on your shore. Everything you do, no matter how small has an impact and will help improve the water quality of Lake Attitash.

Public information adapted from material provided by the EPA through its “Greenscapes” Program.

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under an s. 319 competitive grant.

Let’s get serious! Fertilizer use in the watershed is serious business! You need to know about this new law!

There is a new law in Massachusetts restricting the use of fertilizers containing Phosphorus on all non-agricultural turf or lawns in order to protect our waterways. (“An Act Relative to the Regulation of Plant Nutrients” 330 CMR 31.00)

All fertilizer labels have three bold numbers. These three numbers represent the primary nutrients (nitrogen(N) - phosphorus(P) - potassium(K)). Here are some of the restrictions:

  • Fertilizer containing Phosphorus can only be applied when a soil test has indicated that it is necessary OR when a new lawn is being established, patched or renovated.
  • No fertilizer of any sort can be applied between December 1 and March 1 to frozen or snow covered soil, to saturated soil, or soils that frequently flood, or to soil within 20’ of a water supply well or within 100’ of surface water that is used for public drinking water supply.
  • Any plant nutrient / fertilizer applied shall not exceed UMass guidelines for plant nutrient application rates to turf.
  • Soil tests for nutrient analysis shall be obtained from the UMass Extension Soil Testing Lab or a laboratory using methods and procedures recommended by UMass. Soil tests are valid for three years.

Why all the restrictions?

Stormwater carries nutrients from fertilizer use, pet waste, faulty septic systems and other sources into our lakes and waterways. An abundance of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the water acts like fertilizer and creates excessive growth of weeds and algae. The blue-green algae / cyanobacteria blooms that frequently occur in Lake Attitash are a significant health hazard and are caused by excessive amounts of nutrients in the water and the sediment.

Algae are relatively short lived; when they decay, algae consume the available oxygen in the water. This can lead to a die-off of fish and animals, cause the water to become murky and odorous, and limit recreational activities.

TOO MANY NUTRIENTS IN THE WATER CAN RESULT IN ALGAL BLOOMS, WHICH CAN BE TOXIC TO HUMANS AND ANIMALS

What we can do to protect our lake from excess nutrients flowing into the lake from your land?

Excellent examples of shoreline buffer strips:

  • Leave or create a buffer garden, a strip of natural or unfertilized vegetation along your shoreline. This prevents erosion and helps use up any excess nutrients before they enter the lake.
  • Get your soil tested. Put your lawn on a diet. Feed it only when it is necessary according to the test results. UMass Extension offers low cost soil testing – visit the following website for more information: https://ag.umass.edu/sites/ag.umass.edu/files/pdf-doc-ppt/routine_home_grounds_112917_0.pdf
  • Do not apply fertilizer before heavy rainfall
  • Minimize fertilizer use on slopes
  • Use a mulching mower. This reduces the need for fertilizer on your lawn by one-half.
  • Use native plants as they thrive without fertilizer.
  • Don’t overwater your lawn. Consider using a timer or put out an empty tuna can – when it’s full you can stop watering.
  • Use organic mulch whenever possible.
  • Compost or mulch yard waste. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
  • Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.

You can find No Phosphorus Fertilizer at Home Depot and Lowes and other garden supply stores!

Details about this law are available at www.mass.gov/eea/docs/agr/pesticides/docs/plant-nutrient-regs-turf-and-lawn-factsheet.pdf
Information in this message taken from a Massachusetts DCR publication “Phosphorus in Fertilizer”. This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under an s. 319 competitive grant.

We all live in the watershed of Lake Attitash

We all want to be good to our lake! Our property values and our enjoyment of this lovely lake depend on the health of the lake.
We want clean water that is free from the health risks of algae blooms, is fun and safe for swimming and boating and beautiful to look at. We have learned about storm water pollution and how fertilizer and chemicals can be used responsibly. We have learned about cleaning up after our pets and creating shoreline buffer gardens to absorb nutrients and pollutants before they get into the lake.

What about cars, boats and snowmobiles?

Clean water is important to all of us.
It's up to all of us to make it happen. In recent years, sources of water pollution like industrial wastes from factories have been greatly reduced. Now, more than 60 percent of water pollution comes from things like cars leaking oil, fertilizers from farms and gardens, and failing septic tanks. All these sources add up to a big pollution problem. But each of us can do small things to help clean up our water too - and that adds up to a pollution solution!

Why do we need clean water?
Having clean water is of primary importance for our health and economy. Clean water provides recreation, commercial opportunities, fish habitat, drinking water, and adds beauty to our landscape. All of us benefit from clean water - and all of us have a role in getting and keeping our lakes, rivers, streams, marine, and ground waters clean.

What can I do?
You might not realize that such everyday tasks as do-it-yourself car maintenance, lawn care, or walking your dog can contribute to water pollution. Here are some tips for preventing it!

Car Washing
When you wash your car in the driveway, remember - you're not just washing your car in the driveway.
All the soap, scum, and oily grit runs along the curb. Then into a storm drain and directly into our lakes, rivers, and streams. And that causes pollution which is unhealthy for everyone. So how do you avoid this whole mess? Easy! Wash your car on the grass or gravel instead of the street. Or better yet, take it to a car wash where the water gets treated or recycled

What's the problem with car washing?
There's no problem with washing your car. It's just how and where you do it. The average driveway car wash uses a total of 116 gallons of water! Most commercial car washes use 60 percent less water in the entire washing process than a simple home wash uses just to rinse off a car. Most soap contains phosphates and other chemicals that harm fish and water quality. The soap, together with the dirt and oil washed from your car, flows into nearby storm drains which run directly into lakes, rivers, or marine waters. The phosphates from the soap can cause excess algae to grow. Algae look bad, smell bad, and harm water quality. As algae decay, they use up oxygen in the water that fish and other wildlife need.

Clean Water Tips: How can you wash your car and help keep our waters clean?

  • Use soap sparingly. Use a hose nozzle with a trigger to save water.
  • Pour your bucket of soapy water down the sink when you're done, not in the street. Or wash your car on a grassy area so the ground can filter the water naturally.
  • Best of all, take your car to a commercial car wash, especially if you plan to clean the engine or the bottom of your car. Most car washes reuse wash water several times before sending it to the sewer system for treatment.

Motor Oil
When your car (or snowmobile) leaks oil on the street, remember - it's not just leaking oil on the street. Leaking oil goes from car to street. Then it gets washed from the street into the storm drain and into our lakes, rivers, and streams. Now imagine the number of cars in the area and you can imagine the amount of oil that finds its way from leaky gaskets into our water. So please, fix oil leaks.

What's the problem with motor oil?
Oil doesn't dissolve in water. It lasts a long time and sticks to everything from beach sand to bird feathers. Oil and petroleum products are toxic to people, wildlife, and plants. One quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water, and one gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water! Oil that leaks from our cars onto roads and driveways is washed into storm drains, and then usually flows directly into a lake or stream. Used motor oil is the largest single source of oil pollution in lakes, streams, and rivers. Americans spill 180 million gallons of used oil each year into the nation's waters. This is 16 times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska!

Clean Water Tips: How can you maintain your vehicle and help keep waters clean?

  • Check for oil leaks from your vehicle regularly and fix them promptly!
  • Never dispose of oil or other engine fluids down the storm drain, on the ground, or into a ditch. Recycle used motor oil. For more information on recycling, contact the closest MassDEP Regional Office.
  • Buy recycled oil to use in your car.
  • Use drop cloths or drip pans beneath your vehicle if you have leaks or are doing engine work. Clean up spills!

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) under an s. 319 competitive grant.

How to Dispose of Yard Waste

The wet weather has made cleaning up our yards and shorelines challenging this year. We are up to our ears in wet leaves!  We are all smart lake residents who are well informed about how our behavior impacts the lake… for better and for worse! We all know that the nutrients that come from decaying leaves and other yard waste feed the algae in the water and promotes cyanobacteria blooms that are a health hazard.

Message from Jay Smith, Conservation agent (for Town of Merrimac):

As the town’s Conservation agent, tasked with helping protect our resource areas, I am constantly saddened to see large piles of leaves, grass clippings, and other yard debris dumped or blown into wetlands, lakes and other areas. I wish I had the time to stop at each property to tell the owners that dumping of this material constitutes fill, and is harmful as well as illegal under state and local wetland protection laws. But I don’t have that time. So I have written this to educate the citizens of Merrimac on the subject.

The Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act and the Merrimac Wetland Protection Bylaw were created, as stated in CMR 10.02(2) (a) and Bylaw General Provisions 1.2 and 1.3 to protect the wetlands, flood plains, water resources and adjourning land areas in the Town of Merrimac. A violation of these Regulations could trigger the issuance of a local ticket or action by the Department of Environmental Protection. Prior review through a filing is needed within 100ft. of a resource area or 200ft. from riverfront with the Commission to control the activities deemed by the Commission likely to have significant or cumulative effect on wetland values, including but not limited to the following:

  • Public or private water supply
  • Water pollution prevention
  • Flood control
  • Fisheries
  • Erosion and sedimentation control
  • Land containing shellfish
  • Storm damage prevention
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Water quality

So why do dumping natural biodegradable materials like leaves and grass harm the wetlands? The answer is that as the leaves and grass break down they become soil, and the soil fills in the wetlands and waterways. Filled wetlands do not offer the same flood storage capacity, so the risk of downstream flooding is increased. In addition, dumping yard waste into wetlands and waterways can alter the water chemistry. For example, causing nutrient overload leads to algal blooms downstream and in lakes and ponds. Finally, filling wetlands destroys wildlife habitat for creatures such as salamanders, frogs and turtles.

It is important to note that not all wetlands have cattails; some are dominated by grasses, some by shrubs and some by red maples. So just because you don’t see cattails, don’t think it’s not a wetland. Wetlands often dry up completely in the summer. And there are other important resource areas such as inland bank, which is critical to protecting roads and buildings from storm damage. Yard waste can smother vegetation and increase the chance of erosion of the slope and harm adjacent sensitive areas for fish.

Finally, residents need to understand that all wetland resource areas have a minimum 25ft.of no-disturb zone. Because studies have shown that activities near wetlands very often harm the wetland. So if you choose to compost your yard waste on your property, make sure your compost area is at least 25ft. from the wetland. If you either don’t want to compost on your property, or you don’t have the space you can bring your waste to the Old Town Dump on Battis Rd. from 10-2 on Saturday with a sticker for $10.00 purchased by the Selectmen’s secretary. The dump is closed after the end of November and opens again in the spring.

And a message from John Lopez, Conservation Agent for Amesbury:

Amesbury residents please note that a similar 25 foot no-disturbance zone exists under the Amesbury Wetlands Regulations (AWR 21.6). The placement of yard waste is further discouraged, if not prohibited, within a buffer zone to wetland resources because yard waste and associated runoff could degrade water quality in Lake Attitash as well as alter drainage of flood waters causing property damage. All yard waste must be contained and be as far from Lake Attitash as possible. Lake Attitash serves as the city’s source for secondary drinking water so it’s important to take simple steps to ensure water quality.

Amesbury’s Department of Public Works has scheduled a leaf pick-up on Saturday, December 1. Amesbury residents are asked to place yard and leaf waste in paper leaf bags or loose in a marked barrel at the curb. Bags/barrels must be at the curb by 6:30 a.m. and contain only leaves and grass clippings. No plastic bags or branches. The city’s compost center on South Hunt Road is open until December 2. For details please contact the Amesbury Department of Public Works at
(978) 388-8116 or visit https://www.amesburyma.gov/recycling-waste-and-compost.

Take care of Lake Attitash for the beauty of it, for the health of its waters and for our property values.

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.

The Lake Attitash Alum Treatment

It has been a long journey so here is a refresher for those who are new to the lake.

December 2015 – The LAA took its first steps towards obtaining an s.319 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) in December of 2015. We knew we had to do something about the recurring cyanobacteria blooms in the lake. It was well known that these blooms are a threat to human and animal health. Thanks to years of research followed by the expert testing and consulting services of Dr. Kenneth Wagner, LAA knew what needed to be done and what the potential options were. In the end, the only option that MassDEP would consider funding was an alum treatment. Fortunately for us, the reason they would consider funding an in-lake treatment at this time was because over the past decades, through other grants, LAA, Amesbury and Merrimac had done everything that could reasonably be done to prevent nutrients from entering the lake by installing main sewer lines and managing the main storm water run-off problems all around the lake.

Giving the lake a one-time alum treatment as prescribed by Dr. Wagner was going to cost approximately $600,000. Raising the required 40% match money (approximately $240,000) became a major project that was all consuming for the next two years. The LAA raised $50,000 from its members (amazing!) and worked to obtain the support of Amesbury and Merrimac who contributed the remaining funds. We could not have applied for this grant without the commitment and generosity of the City of Amesbury, Town of Merrimac and the support of Representatives Kelcourse and Mirra.

March 2017 - Rob Desmarais, DPW Director for Amesbury worked with the LAA and Dr. Wagner and submitted the grant proposal in March 2017. He wrote a winning proposal!

December 2017 - the LAA and Amesbury learned that the Department of Environmental Protection had awarded close to $360,000 for an alum treatment in Lake Attitash. With the match money we had set aside we had the $600,000 needed for the alum treatment.

December 2018 – Amesbury put out the bids for lake management companies to apply the alum.

January 2019 – Amesbury awarded the contract to Solitude Lake Management Services, the same company that has been conducting the annual weed management services for the LAA since 2012.

Spring 2019 - The Alum treatment was applied. 

This alum treatment is our reward for diligent, long term planning and effort and the support and wisdom of local leaders and the Department of Environmental Protection.

The alum was be applied in the deepest sections of the lake, at depths of 11.5’ or more. Approximately 195 acres of this 365 acre lake will be treated. Dr. Wagner’s testing showed that the primary source of the nutrients that feed the cyanobacteria is in the sediment. Phosphorus has accumulated there for decades. His research also showed that the deepest levels of sediment are in the deepest parts of the lake.

The alum was applied from a boat that was launched from the State Boat Ramp off Route 110 in Merrimac.

Treatment took about 6 days. Assembling the required equipment and storage tanks took about a week prior to the treatment and removing the equipment took 2-3 days after the treatment was completed.

Any restrictions on access to the lake during the treatment period were minimal.

We want to do everything we can to prolong the effectiveness of this treatment. Its benefits are expected to last up to 15 years but the more we can do to prevent nutrients from entering the lake through soil erosion and unfiltered storm water run-off the healthier our lake will be.

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.

Supporting the Lake Attitash Alum Treatment

In 2019, Lake Attitash received a $600,000 alum treatment in early spring, thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, fundraising from the LAA membership and support from Amesbury and Merrimac. This treatment will seal the excess nutrients that have accumulated in the sediment in the deepest parts of the lake. Shallow areas, less than 11 feet deep, will not receive the treatment as it would be too easily disturbed by boat activity.

We can all do our part in to insure the success of this once-in-a-lifetime gift. We can commit to minimizing the flow of nutrients into the lake though storm water runoff and soil erosion as much as possible. What we do on our property around the lake and in the watershed has a huge impact on the water quality in Lake Attitash.

Here are 10 simple ways that we can make a difference!

  1. Fertilizer use: Go Wild! Go Natural! If you must use fertilizer, remember that it is against the law to add fertilizer without first having a first complete a soil test to determine exactly what is needed and then applying it only what is prescribed. Visit UMass at https://ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory/ordering-information-forms for reliable soil testing. Soil testing can help you save time and money. Remember, pPhosphorus is public enemy #1 for our lake.
  2. Pick up after your pets. Poop is loaded with nutrients that feed plants and harmful algae blooms. It is also a source of bacteria, creating a significant public health hazard. .
  3. Protect the shoreline from storm water run-off. If you see gullies or washouts after heavy rain this means that storm water loaded with nutrients and pollutants is running unfiltered into the lake and eroding soil into the lake. Contact the LAA for assistance regarding good solutions. Lakeattitash.org
  4. Plant native plants along your shoreline to absorb nutrients before they can enter the water. Plants along the bank can also dissuade Canada Geese from the area.
  5. If you are disturbing the soil within 25’ of wetland or shoreline contact your conservation agent for advice on how to protect the lake.
  6. Clean up your shoreline regularly. Do what you can to reduce the amount of decaying weeds, leaves and trash that bring additional nutrients and pollutants into our water.
  7. If you maintain a compost pile make sure it is at least 25’ away from the edge of your wetland or shore.
  8. Check on any water retention basinscatch basins or storm drains near you. If they need maintenance contact the Amesbury or Merrimac Public Works Departments and ask them to clean them out.
  9. Keep an eye out for drains that appear to be blocked and report them to the appropriate Public Works Department. We need to prevent storm water runoff from going directly into the lake bringing those nutrients and pollutants with it.
  10. Last but not least…if you are a boat owner always respect the speed limits, other boaters and our shoreline. Reduce your speed in shallow areas near the shore. Your wake erodes shorelines and disturbs the sediment, allowing the release of the nutrients that have accumulated there into the water column. These nutrients, notably phosphorus, feed the weeds and algae.

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.

Why It's Important to Have Natural Shorelines

We are always trying to think of ways we can do more to protect our beautiful lake.

Having a “natural” shoreline with native plants and stones is probably the best thing you can do. The Conservation Commissions strongly discourage walls, preferring more natural slopes filled with stone and native plants. There are good reasons for this.

Shoreline plants function to filter storm water runoff, capture pollutants before they reach the lake, and provide wildlife habitat for turtles and birds and prevent soil erosion. Storm water run-off is the single largest contributor to water quality degradation in Massachusetts. It contains fertilizer, pet poop, pesticides, sand, soil, salt, oil and antifreeze.

Shoreline plants…even just a few ….will help keep Lake Attitash clean.

Our lake management company, Solitude Lake Management, wrote the following in a recent newsletter:
“Maintaining dense beneficial vegetation around your lake or pond is extremely important for improving water quality, preventing erosion and controlling nuisance geese. Establishing buffer zones takes minimal effort and requires little maintenance. In the long run, it will also reduce the likelihood of excessive lake algae and other water quality issues that come from nutrient loading, thereby reducing the need for constant herbicide treatments, and lowering your long-term costs associated with managing your waterbody.

You will also benefit from proper buffer management by attracting insects, like dragonflies, that feed on mosquito larvae, thus helping to control mosquito populations in and around your lake. In addition, flowering native plants and beautiful sedge grasses can be a very pleasing sight that will undoubtedly increase the value of your property.”

So… let’s do something good for the lake!

When thinking about adding native plants along our shore line we all want to protect our access to the lake, our view and we want plants that are easy to maintain. Here are seven low-growing native perennial plants that have been recommended by Solitude Lake Management Company for planting either in shallow water or on the water’s edge.

7 Recommended Vegetation Species to Plant along your waterfront

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)
Pickerelweed is a swallow freshwater aquatic plant that grows three to four feet tall, but typically you only see one to two feet since about half of the plant is underground. This low growing perennial plant is ideal when low borders or water views are the goal. It has creeping underwater rhizomes with heart-shaped leaves and violet-blue spikes extending about the water. Its beautiful flowers attract bees and butterflies, as well as dragonflies, which consume mosquito larvae. Pickerelweed blooms from June through November and provides good cover for birds, fish and amphibians.

 

Blueflag Iris (Iris versicolor)
This clumping plant has several violet-blue flowers with yellow-based sepals that emerge on sturdy stalks among tall sword-like leaves. Their height is anywhere from 2 to 3 feet and they flower from May to August. They grow in swamps, marshes, and on wet shores and are often found in standing water. They have limited wildlife value, so they are resistant to being eaten by waterfowl and other animals.

 

 

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Another plant that not only looks pretty, but attracts butterflies and even hummingbirds with its nectar supply is the cardinal flower. This plant has many brilliant red, tubular flowers in an elongated cluster on an erect stalk. It grows from 2 to 5 feet in damp sites, especially along streams, and flowers from July to October. It grows in damp sites, especially along streams.

 

 

Native sedges and rushes
There are many grass-like aquatic sedges and rushes such as bulrush and soft rush. Sedges have triangular stems and grow in shallow water, while rushes have cylindrical stems and grow in clumps. These plants can be expected to spread, but are not aggressive. Their shallow spreading surface roots hold shoreline soil and reduce erosion. You will find that they only need controlling once per year or less. You will also probably find that these plants will reduce problems with more aggressive and invasive aquatic plants. Rushes and sedges are great habitat for wading birds and your shoreline will look more natural and attractive, too.

 

Arrowhead or Duck Potato (Sagittaria latifolia)
Duck Potato, or arrowhead, is a perennial that grows 1 to 4 feet tall and has large broad leaves shaped like arrows with small white flowers. It grows in wet sites or shallow water along lake and stream margins, marshes and swamps. The plant has strong roots and can survive through wide variations of the water level and displays an affinity for high levels of phosphates and hard waters. The underground tuber (duck potato) is preferred by at least 15 species of ducks, including canvasbacks, but many times the tubers are buried too deep for them to reach.

 

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
This plant has slender leaves and deep pink flowers clustered at the top of a tall, branching stem. It grows to be 2 to 6 feet high with flowers from June to August. Milkweed grows in swamps, thickets and along wet shorelines and the flowers attract and provide food for butterflies, especially monarchs.

 

 

 

Rhododendron Groenlandicum
It is a low shrub growing to 20 in tall with evergreen leaves. The leaves are wrinkled on top, densely hairy white to red-brown underneath, and have a leathery texture, curling at the edges. The tiny white flowers grow in part shade, sun; wetlands, lake and stream shores. The flower clusters are very fragrant and sticky

You can buy these plants from most large garden centers. Lake Street Garden Center in Salem carries all but the sedge grasses. There are many more beneficial native plants besides the ones recommended here. Just beware of certain undesirable or invasive plants such as cattails, phragmites, purple loosestrife, alligatorweed and smartweed as many of these have an explosive ability to spread and require extensive effort to manage.

Conservation Commission information:

For Merrimac Residents: The Merrimac Conservation Commission has no issue with residents planting native plants around the lake shore or in shallow water provided they are indeed native plants and no mulch or other material is placed around the plants.

For Amesbury residents: The Amesbury Conservation Commission offers a list of suggested plants on their website. For details please visit https://www.amesburyma.gov/sites/amesburyma/files/pages/suggested_list_of_plants.pdf.

In addition, based on state and local wetlands laws, any proposed projects that involve regulated activities within 100 feet of Lake Attitash are subject to the wetlands permitting process. Examples of regulated activities include work that would alter grading or work on the lakeshore bank including stabilization. Section 3.0 of the Amesbury Wetlands Regulations provides a detailed inventory of what constitutes a regulated activity. The permitting process is intended to ensure that any activities within proximity to the lake do not result in an adverse impact on the lake. Please refer to the regulations if you are in doubt. The regulations are available on the Amesbury Conservation Commission website at https://www.amesburyma.gov/sites/amesburyma/files/file/file/amesbury_wetland_regulations_as_voted_june_20_2012.pdf.

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.

How Trees Can Save Lakes from Algae Blooms

Lake Attitash is blessed with many mature and beautiful trees around its shores. Have you ever wondered why the Conservation Commissions works so hard to protect trees and other vegetation near our lake?

Why do we need to protect them? Why should we plant more trees?

  • Trees, shrubs and plants play an incredible role in reducing storm water and removing or filtering nutrients and pollutants that would otherwise end up in our lake.
  • Trees provide shade
  • Trees reduce air pollution
  • Their roots hold the soil preventing soil erosion
  • Trees act like enormous sponges. They absorb large amounts of storm water before it can run off into the lake
  • And, best of all, they absorb excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and contaminants (metals, pesticides, solvents, oils) from the soil before they reach the water.
  • (Remember, phosphorus is public enemy #1 for Lake Attitash. Excess nutrients feed algae and create the hazardous algae blooms our alum treatment is designed to suppress.)

Fun facts:

According to an article published by Penn State Extension in August of 2015, a “single mature oak tree can consume over 40,000 gallons of water in a year.”

And, from the same Penn State article, “a mature evergreen can intercept more than 4,000 gallons per year. “

Please protect and plant trees!

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.

Shorelines, Swans and Yard Waste

The boards at the dam are usually removed in mid-September to allow the lake to gradually flow down to its approved winter level of 94.5’ above sea level. This level is maintained by the Amesbury DPW and will fluctuate with weather conditions. They are not permitted to let it drop lower than 94.5’. The goal is to reach a level close to 94.5’ by the end of November. (Summer pool level is 96.75’)

As the water level drops, more shore line is exposed. PLEASE do yourself and Lake Attitash a big favor! Take the opportunity to clean up your shore line.

Why clean up your shoreline?

Don’t feed the algae… haul those leaves and weeds well out of the way!!! We are working to reduce the amount of nutrients entering our lake. The grant funded alum treatment this past spring has resulted in a noticeably cleaner lake. We have had clear water and very low counts of cyanobacteria / blue green algae all year. We need continue to work to prolong the benefit of this treatment.

Decaying weeds and leaves add nutrients to the lake water. Excess nutrients cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic life can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels in the water.

Debris along your shore line looks bad. Plastic bags, six pack rings, bottles, cigarette butts, cans, fishing line and gear washed into the lake can choke, suffocate or disable our swans, ducks, turtles and birds.

Swans! Please don’t feed them. Here is why!

Swans are spectacularly beautiful but…..can be aggressive, vicious, extremely territorial and increasing at an alarming rate! It may surprise you to learn that these birds are considered invasive and federal wildlife refuges prevent them from breeding because they are so aggressive and territorial that many other bird species are unable to safely breed in the same area.

Our resident swan is aging and we can see his territory is shrinking. He is no longer able to keep the whole lake for his family and so we are seeing another swan family coming in from Meadowbrook and several other swans claiming the boat ramp area. He is no longer able to launch his brood in November and chase them off as he used to.

The number of swans Lake Attitash can sustain is based on the availability of food. They eat weeds and we love them for that! But, if we humans feed them we are attracting more swans and in addition adding polluting nutrients into the lake thereby feeding the algae! Oh No!

Providing food to the swans encourages more swans to take up residence here. Feeding them bread can harm them. Putting any food in the water puts nutrients into the water which allows bacteria to grow and causes harmful algae blooms – undermining the success of our alum treatment.

Remember these are wild birds, well adapted to survive our winters. When our lake is frozen they can and do find the food they need by moving to nearby open bodies of water.

Yard Waste Disposal

The wet weather has made cleaning up our yards challenging this year. We are up to our ears in wet leaves so yard waste disposal is our third reminder.

We are all smart lake residents who are well informed about how our actions impact the lake…for better and for worse! We all know that the nutrients that come from decaying leaves and other yard waste feed the algae in the water and promotes cyanobacteria blooms that are a health hazard.

Last year the LAA asked Jay Smith, Conservation agent for the Town of Merrimac, and John Lopez, Conservation agent for the City of Amesbury to send us the regulations specific to yard waste that we, as property owners who live on or near the lake need to be aware of. Their responses were so helpful that we have copied them in full for you all to read again this year:

Why Dumping Yard Waste into Wetlands is not allowed - Message from Jay Smith, Conservation agent for Town of Merrimac:

As the town’s Conservation agent, tasked with helping protect our resource areas, I am constantly saddened to see large piles of leaves, grass clippings, and other yard debris dumped or blown into wetlands, lakes and other areas. I wish I had the time to stop at each property to tell the owners that dumping of this material constitutes fill, and is harmful as well as illegal under state and local wetland protection laws. But I don’t have that time. So I have written this to educate the citizens of Merrimac on the subject.

The Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act and the Merrimac Wetland Protection Bylaw were created, as stated in CMR 10.02(2) (a) and Bylaw General Provisions 1.2 and 1.3 to protect the wetlands, flood plains, water resources and adjourning land areas in the Town of Merrimac. A violation of these Regulations could trigger the issuance of a local ticket or action by the Department of Environmental Protection. Prior review through a filing is needed within 100ft. of a resource area or 200ft. from riverfront with the Commission to control the activities deemed by the Commission likely to have significant or cumulative effect on wetland values, including but not limited to the following:
- Public or private water supply - Water pollution prevention
- Flood control - Fisheries
- Erosion and sedimentation control - Land containing shellfish
- Storm damage prevention - Wildlife habitat
- Water quality

So why do dumping natural biodegradable materials like leaves and grass harm the wetlands? The answer is that as the leaves and grass break down they become soil, and the soil fills in the wetlands and waterways. Filled wetlands do not offer the same flood storage capacity, so the risk of downstream flooding is increased. In addition, dumping yard waste into wetlands and waterways can alter the water chemistry. For example, causing nutrient overload leads to algal blooms downstream and in lakes and ponds. Finally, filling wetlands destroys wildlife habitat for creatures such as salamanders, frogs and turtles.

It is important to note that not all wetlands have cattails; some are dominated by grasses, some by shrubs and some by red maples. So just because you don’t see cattails, don’t think it’s not a wetland. Wetlands often dry up completely in the summer. And there are other important resource areas such as inland bank, which is critical to protecting roads and buildings from storm damage. Yard waste can smother vegetation and increase the chance of erosion of the slope and harm adjacent sensitive areas for fish.

Finally, residents need to understand that all wetland resource areas have a minimum 25ft. of no-disturb zone. Because studies have shown that activities near wetlands very often harm the wetland. So if you choose to compost your yard waste on your property, make sure your compost area is at least 25ft. from the wetland. If you either don’t want to compost on your property, or you don’t have the space you can bring your yard waste to the Old Town Dump on Battis Rd. from 10-2 on Saturday with a sticker for $10.00 purchased by the Selectmen’s secretary. The dump is closed after the end of November and opens again in the spring.

Message from John Lopez, Conservation Agent for City of Amesbury:

Amesbury residents please note that a similar 25 foot no-disturbance zone exists under the Amesbury Wetlands Regulations (AWR 21.6). The placement of yard waste is further discouraged, if not prohibited, within a buffer zone to wetland resources because yard waste and associated runoff could degrade water quality in Lake Attitash as well as alter drainage of flood waters causing property damage. All yard waste must be contained and be as far from Lake Attitash as possible. Lake Attitash serves as the city’s source for secondary drinking water so it’s important to take simple steps to ensure water quality.

Amesbury’s Department of Public Works typically schedules a leaf pick-up. The city’s compost center on South Hunt Road is open until early December. For details please contact the Amesbury Department of Public Works at (978) 388-8116 or visit https://www.amesburyma.gov/recycling-waste-and-compost.

Take care of Lake Attitash for the beauty of it, for the health of its waters and for our property values.

Lake Attitash Association invites you to contact us through our website if you are unable to clean your shoreline. We will do what we can to find you some assistance. 

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.

The Lake Attitash Watershed

What can residents who live in Lake Attitash Watershed do to prolong the benefits of this grant? Our responsibility is to limit the flow of nutrients and pollutants from entering our lake.

This is our watershed:

What is a watershed?
A watershed is an area that drains into a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland or even the ocean. Watersheds provide our drinking water, habitat for wildlife and the streams and lakes that we use for fishing, boating and swimming.

Why is it so important to manage storm water within our watershed?
Large impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways and parking areas prevent rain from being absorbed into the earth. As this water passes over these impervious surfaces it picks up sediment loaded with nutrients from fertilizer; bacteria from animal poop; and pathogens and chemical pollutants on the way to the storm drain. Any water that enters a storm drain, or flows from your property to a nearby stream or to the lake is “untreated,” which means that the polluted sediment is not filtered out by the earth or allowed to settle out like it might if it were directed into a raingarden or retention basin. There are many local storm drains that empty untreated runoff directly into Lake Attitash.

What can we do to reduce water use, and help rain water seep into the ground rather than run off into a storm drain or directly into the lake? 4 great ideas!

Rain Barrels
Rain barrels collect rainwater from your roof gutters. This water can be used for gardening. A rain barrel can save an average of 1300 gallons of water during peak summer months.

Amesbury no longer has a rain barrel program but a quick search on the internet will give you many good local options. They are affordable and now come in many different models to fit your aesthetic needs.

Rain Gardens
A rain garden is simply a shallow depression in your yard that is planted with native wetland plants, wildflowers, shrubs or grasses. Correctly placed across an area where storm water flows it absorbs the runoff, takes up the nutrients and filters the water. Check out the Lake Attitash Association website for information and contact the LAA for assistance.

Buffer Gardens
Buffer gardens are planted on the water’s edge and serve as a living filter because they capture many of the pollutants that flow through them. Their root systems hold the soil in place, prevent erosion and provide a beautiful addition to your view.

Porous Surfaces
When planning or renovating a patio, walkway or driveway, use porous materials like pervious pavers, gravel, sand, or stones when you can. Avoid black top if possible.

If we reduce the amount of unfiltered water running off into Lake Attitash using these 4 methods we will be protecting our lake.
One more thing…..a reminder about dog poop!

The LAA has been getting many complaints about unleashed dogs at the State boat ramp area! It is tempting to just let your dog out without a leash to do its business in this open grassy area but it is illegal, creates a health risk, adds harmful bacteria and nutrients to our lake that can promote algal blooms and is very inconsiderate.

Common courtesy calls for us all to protect walkers by cleaning up after our dogs. It is more than mere courtesy, it is a matter of public health and environmental protection. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services pet waste can cause nasty infections in humans, such as Giardiasis (which can cause diarrhea, cramping, fatigue, and weight loss) and Toxocariasis (which can cause vision loss, rash, fever, or cough, and is a particular threat to children exposed to parasite eggs in sand and soil).

And it's not just the droppings that are a problem. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection warns that dog waste left on lawns, roads, parking lots, beaches, and other surfaces is washed into streams, lakes and ultimately the sea. The solution? Always pick up your dog's waste and properly dispose of it by flushing it, burying it, or trashing it.

Most department and pet stores sell pet waste bag dispensers and refills at a low cost. Please consider using one of these which can conveniently clip right onto your pet’s leash and provide you with a bag to clean up pet waste wherever you are!

This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection under an s. 319 competitive grant.