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Loon, Lake, and Road Tidbits

* During November, the Loon Preservation Committee, (LPC), posted daily photos of banded loons in NH along with information on that loon’s history and migration patterns. They have archived these photos on their website. Those interested in checking this out can visit: < > . Unfortunately, Swains Lake Loons are not on there.

* It is normal for loons to gather in large groups on lakes in the fall, before migration to the ocean. Some of these groups can be as large as 20 loons. Some LPC volunteers saw “Red Throated Loons” this year on their lakes. Although these loons spend winters off the NH coast, they only breed in Northern Canada and Alaska. So if you see one of these, consider it a real treat!

* Although the majority of loons migrate to the ocean by late November, this year, 6 loons became iced in on New Hampshire lakes and required rescuing by LPC biologists. Four of those six were juveniles who typically leave later than adults anyway. The LPC relies on calls from residents watching out for loons, who may become stranded by their lake freezing over. The LPC office phone is: (603) 476-5666. Should the office be closed, the water division of Fish and Game phones are: (603) 868-1095, or (603) 271-3421. Five of these six loons were able to be released in the ocean, but the sixth was euthanized due to a severe fungal infection. These 6 loons are part of the total of 26 loons rescued altogether on NH lakes in 2020.

Since 2016, it has been documented that many rescued loons do return to their breeding grounds and produce chicks, hence helping increase the overall loon population of NH.

* Do you rent out your cottage periodically? Please tell those who rent, not to chase loons, or any other waterfowl on the lake. Also make them aware their boats need to be “Clean Drained and Dry.” Clean = Washed thoroughly (for canoes and kayaks, inside and out). Drained = the plug is in the open position during transit allowing water that could harbor invasive larvae to drain out. DRY = The vessel has been dry and out of the water for at least 5 days.

* Phosphorus. It isn’t good for the lake but where does it come from? Mostly from fertilizers leaching into the lake from gardens or lawns. Chemical fertilizers are more detrimental than organic because they easily wash down to the lake during rain showers. If one still wants to use fertilizer, wood ash and lime are the best choices. And always abide by the 25’ minimum distance away from the water’s edge when applying it. In addition, sprays such as “Round Up” are not permitted near the shoreline. Phosphorus can also come from a failing septic system.

*On our website is information about building a “swale garden.” These “water gardens” absorb runoff so it doesn’t run directly into the lake. They can also add interest to your yard at the same time!

  • The parking lot at the boat launch cannot be expanded. This is State-owned property, and the perimeters are all privately owned land parcels.

  • We would love to have more lake hosts. But in order to have better coverage, we need more volunteers to do it. Contact Cindi Harrington at <>. (That’s a “zero” not an upper case “O”).

  • To date, NO body of water has successfully had invasive weeds permanently removed.

  • Our new Barrington Road Agent, Mr. Marc Moreau, is trying to work with keeping lakes healthy vs. keeping roads safe during the winter. Last year, in order to stem runoff into lakes, they used half as much treated salt in certain areas with the mix but it didn’t work as well as they had hoped. The main issue is our trucks are not the latest models, and it is harder to regulate ratios disbursed from them, than it is on newer trucks. This makes it difficult to check the “delivery” of the proper amount of salt with the mix that is spread. Increasing sand is also not the answer, because that often runs into lowlands and accumulates.

* Money and Manpower: $47.00 per ton! That is what the Town of Barrington pays for our road salt. Every 4 miles we use a ton. Barrington has 70 miles of roads the town staff must keep plowed and open. That is $822.50 every time the plows complete a circuit in Barrington, and for lengthy storms, they often do 2, sometimes 3 or more circuits before they finish. This cost doesn’t include fuel for the trucks, maintenance, or staff salaries. Mr. Moreau is always trying to strike a balance between keeping costs down, keeping the environment healthy, and keeping roads safe. His advice? Go slow in snow, make sure you have good tires, and if possible, stay off the roads during storms so that the crews can do their job efficiently.

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