The News from Lake Attitash

Wishing you all a happy holiday season from Lake Attitash Association!


Fun stuff 

We do have a few “Life is Great on Lake Attitash” boards left. They sell for $25. Contact us through or at our website  if you would like one. Many have been sold for Christmas presents. We will get them to you if you respond right away!



We have made a HUGE effort this year to raise the matching funds ($240,000) needed to apply for a MA Dept of Environmental Protection grant. This grant, if we are successful, would pay for an alum treatment in the deep areas of the lake that will protect the lake from cyanobacteria blooms, a health hazard for us all, for many years to come.


The good news:

  • Amesbury and Merrimac have expressed willingness to help us raise the match amount.
  • LAA has raised over $40,000 to put on the table.
  • At last count, 83 families and individuals stepped forward and contributed to this fund raising effort (through Go Fund Me, Pay Pal or personal checks) and I hope you have all checked out our website to see our donor tribute. There are many heroes among us!
  • Amesbury’s Development Director Bill Scott will help the LAA finalize the grant which will be submitted by Amesbury and awarded to Amesbury if successful.
  • We will make every effort to make this grant as competitive as possible, emphasizing our history of cyanobacteria blooms, the use of this water as public water supply and our extensive efforts over the years to do everything that can reasonably be done around the watershed to limit nutrient-laden storm water runoff from entering the lake, and building a strong case now for an in-lake treatment as a necessary next step.
  • Our plan is recommended by a nationally recognized lake management expert and is a widely used treatment based on tried and true science.

Challenges ahead:

  • We anticipate obtaining firm funding commitments from the towns, and anticipate that final decisions will be made in January 2017.
  • Merrimac will need the support of the majority of voters at the May 2017 town meeting in order to approve this spending for Lake Attitash. This will require a strong showing by supporters of the effort.
  • The grant application is a complex piece of work and a great deal of time and effort will have to go into producing a very competitive application.
  • The Mass DEP scientists will evaluate all of the applications that come in from around the Commonwealth and make their decisions regarding the best use of these funds.
  • If we are successful, Amesbury and the LAA will then need to obtain the necessary permits in both Merrimac and Amesbury, which can be a costly and time-consuming process.


What to look forward to:

  • Submission of the grant application by late winter.  The technical science portion of the grant is being finalized by Ken Wagner of Water Resource Services, Inc. He is a nationally renowned lake management scientist.
  • Grant awards will be made public in October 2017.
  • If our application is successful, the alum treatment should occur either in the fall of 2018 or the spring 2019 – (these are the optimum times for maximum benefit from the treatment).
  • The backup plan would be to use all of the funds raised to address the cyanobacteria (algae blooms) in the lake in other ways. We will discuss options with all members and donors if this occurs.




Amesbury has to renew its lake management permits and plan in 2017. Many lake side residents and the Merrimac DPW are concerned about the high water levels causing problems with their shoreline and basements. Merrimac and Amesbury are working on a mutually acceptable winter drawdown level. It has become clear that the previously agreed upon plan to lower the level of the lake to 92.5’ in winter could not work. At this time, a somewhat higher level is being reviewed. Recommendations will be made prior to the January 9, 2017 meeting of the Amesbury Lakes and Waterways and the Conservation Commission, which is the next step in the process of gaining formal approval for a lower winter level.