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Conway Lake Sunrise - photo courtesy of Mark Guerringue

What's New on the Lake

Conway Voters Approve Changes to Shoreland Regulations

Conway voters approved Warrant #20 in the April election.  The warrant clarifies and strengthens regulations pertaining to the Conway  Shoreline Protection Overlap (SPO) District (all land within 300’ of the lake).   Some of the key changes include:

  1. Specifically states that the more restrictive statue between State or Town regulations will apply. 

  2. A single boat shed must be at least 50 feet back from the shoreline.

  3. Any cutting in the buffer zone must be dispersed evenly throughout the lot. 

  4. No fertilizer or chemicals may be used in the district. 

  5. No grass in the district. 

  6. Docks and ramps shall not extend more than 30 feet into the Lake. 

  7. Docks and swim floats shall not present a hazard to boating. 

  8. Docks are for the exclusive use of the resident and cannot be rented or leased.

Ice Out Declared - 2nd Shortest Year for Ice Cover

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Winter view of frozen Conway Lake in February 2024 with snow covered Moat Mountain in the background.   Photo courtesy of Don Yurewicz

Tom Deans is the official/unofficial tracker of ice conditions on Conway Lake.  Ice-In was declared on January 9, 2023, and Ice-Out was declared on April 1, 2024.  The lake was frozen for 82 days which is one of the shortest on record. The average ice coverage for Conway Lake is 107 days, and the shortest was 77 days in 2015/2016.

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A New Invasive Threat - Spiny Water Flea Found in Lake Winnipesaukee!!

The spiny water flea was discovered in Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Winnisquam this past September, marking the first time this aquatic invasive species has ever been detected in New Hampshire.   The tiny animal was likely introduced to the lake by boaters who visited a waterbody with an existing infestation and carried eggs or live organisms on fishing or recreational gear, or in the bilge or live well of a boat.

 

                      Multiple spiny water fleas on a fishing line.                              Microscopic view of spiny water fleas.

 

Unfortunately, it will be difficult to spot by our Lake Hosts because of its minute size and there is currently no way to control the species once it enters a lake.  The best and only management option is to prevent its introduction into uninfected waterbodies by cleaning, draining and drying all boats and recreational gear after leaving a waterbody, as required by New Hampshire state law. 

Why this is significant: While not harmful to humans, spiny water fleas affect the overall ecosystem of a lake by competing for zooplankton that fish and other aquatic animals feed on, thereby reducing the fish population and wildlife, such as ducks, loons, and eagles, that feed on fish.

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Cyanobacteria Blooms on the Rise in New Hampshire Lakes

This past year (2023) was the fourth year in a row that NH lakes have set a record for the number of toxic cyanobacteria blooms. Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic bacteria that occur naturally in lakes, but when conditions are right (abundance of nutrients, e.g. phosphorous and nitrogen), they can multiply rapidly and create blooms on the surface of the lake.  Some cyanobacteria blooms produce toxins (“cyanotoxins”) that are harmful to animals and humans. 

 

Toxic cyanobacteria blooms and their consequences. Note that cyanobacteria blooms can occur in different colors – not just green as shown here. They can also look deceptively like the pollen floating on the lake each spring that we are all familiar with.

 

For more information on cyanobacteria check out the following:

   

  1. NHDES Fact sheet on the variety of cyanobacteria: fact sheet.

  2. NH DES now has an interactive map that allows you to see which lakes currently have advisories or warnings.  Check it out: map link.

  3. CLCA Invasive Species webpage.

If you see a film on the surface of the lake that you feel could be a cyanobacteria bloom, contact Maria Gross (maria.m.gross@gmail.com) or Don Yurewicz (don.yurewicz@gmail.com) and remember: 

  • Don’t wade or swim in the water.  

  • Don’t drink it.​ 

  • Keep pets out.

  • Wash your hands if you’ve made contact.

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Work on the New Boat Ramp is Complete

Work on the new boat ramp on Mill St. is complete and the lake is back at winter levels.  The new ramp includes a gravel and rock base, two steel I-beams running the length of the ramp, and preformed concrete pads laid on top of the I-beams.  The ramp has a perimeter of coarse rocks to protect it from erosion.

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The completed boat ramp prior to raising the lake.  Once the lake returns to normal levels the last 5 or 6 concrete planks will be underwater.  The lake is currently rising about a half inch per day.  Photo courtesy of Rick Blank

Potential Causes of Increased Phosphorous  in Conway Lake

By Bill Petry

As reported in the 2023 Spring Newsletter, we detected a significant increase in Lake water phosphorous during the UNH testing carried out on August 15, 2022, and want to understand the cause of the increase and, if possible, mitigation steps.  In the Newsletter article we stated that the most likely cause of the increase might be excessive shorefront development with violations to the
Town of Conway's shorefront protection regulations. 

 

Our UNH partners who have supported our Lake water testing for the last 40 years have suggested there are five potential sources for the increase, and we discuss each in the paragraphs below.

Click here to read more about potential factors that can explain the increases in lake phosphorous

By Don Yurewicz

Update - Remapping Conway Lake Bathymetry

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Snapshot of 2022 Updated Depth Map.  
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The project to remap water depth across Conway Lake was completed in late 2022.  Click here to read more the project and the new maps.

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