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 on the text in GREEN after each section to see more information about this subject.
Lets Get Serious About Fertilizer – Includes information about the current laws about fertilizer use near wetlands and water bodies. The best practices for fertilization and how to effectively and enhance your lawn without negatively impacting the lake. Lets get Serious About Fertilizer
What’s the Problem with Pet Waste? – 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! Pet Waste
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. Buffer Gardens
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. Automobile Care
Please don’t soil our waters! Believe it or not, the biggest threat to Lake Attitash’s water quality is plain old dirt, washing into our rivers, streams and lake…from our lawns, roads, driveways and construction areas. What’s wrong with soil? It clogs waterways, hurts fishes’ gills, and carries a lot of nutrients from decaying vegetation, fertilizer, pesticides, oil, detergents and other chemicals that contaminate the water and lead to scummy green lakes. Soil Erosion+Permits
Please clean up your shoreline! Every day in the growing season lake plants are washing up on our shores. In the Fall we see even more weeds washing ashore as these annual weeds are dying off for the winter. Decaying weeds 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. Clean up Your Shoreline
Yard Waste Disposal 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. Yard Waste
Storm Water Runoff Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snow melt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. 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 water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Storm Water Runoff
Alum Treatment The alum treatment was done in the spring of 2019. The alum was applied in the deepest sections of the lake, at depths of 11.5’ or more. Approximately 195 acres of this 365 acre lake was 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. 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. Alum Treatment
New Years Resolutions All Year Long. In the spring of 2019 Lake Attitash got an amazing gift. Our lake received a $600,000 alum treatment thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, fundraising from the LAA membership and support from Amesbury and Merrimac. This treatment was done to seal the excess nutrients that have accumulated in the sediment in the deepest parts of the lake. Shallow areas, less than 11 feet deep, did 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. Attached are 10 simple ways that we can make a difference! Resolutions
Natural Shorelines Having a “natural” shoreline with native plants and stones is probably the best thing you can do to help the lake. 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. Shorline
Trees 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
Shoreline, Swans and Yard Waste 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. Decaying weeds and leaves add nutrients to the lake water. 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! 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. Shoreline, Swans & Yard Waste
2020 Lake Attitash Lake Lovers – Top 10 Ways to Love your Lake! 2020 is going to be another 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 enjoyed clear water, significantly reduced phosphorus and higher oxygen levels in the water. We were happy and so were the fish and the plants! Because the cost of the 2019 alum treatment was lower than expected, in the spring of 2020, Amesbury will be putting additional alum in the deepest areas of the lake, a relatively small area that has the deepest levels of sediment.
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. 2020 Lake Attitash Lake Lovers
Top 10 ways that we can love our lake!
- Fertilizer use: Go Wild! Go Natural! – Minimize the use of Phosphorus and test your soil
- Pick up after your pets. Don’t let their waste get into the water or drains
- Protect the shoreline from storm water run-off. Fix areas of erosion as soon as you can.
- Grow native plants along your shoreline. Plant a buffer garden
- If you are disturbing the soil along your shoreline contact your conservation agent on how to protect the lake.
- Clean up your shoreline regularly. Those old leaves and plants will decay and add nutrients to the lake
- If you maintain a compost pile make sure it is at least 25’ away from the edge of your wetland or shore.
- Check on any storm water structures near you including storm water basins.
- Keep an eye out for drains that appear to be blocked and report them to the DPW
- 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.