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New Hampshire Lakes Association News

Prior to closing their doors and shifting to an on-line format, the NHLA was busy during the 2020 state legislative session, working to introduce and support water quality associated bills. A few of those bills are listed below. For any questions, email or call President Tom O’Brien at: tobrien@nhlakes.org . Phone: (603) 226-0299.



Senate Bill 491 would increase the natural woodland buffer required by the Shoreline Water Quality Protection Act from 25% to 50% of properties larger than one half acre. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, (NHDES), over 90% of water pollution problems in NH are carried in via runoff water. This is contributing to an increase in algae and cyanobacteria blooms. The greater the buffer of natural plants and trees, surrounding a lake, the more it is protected from runoff containing nutrients, including fertilizer. On March 5th, this bill was tabled, with possible intent to be heard next year.


Senate Bill 713-FN would expand the Green SnowPro program to municipalities. At present, only commercial organizations can participate. This program trains salt applicators to apply it in a way to reduce runoff into lakes and rivers. It also helps stem some of the liability that is associated with using less salt on roads, parking areas and walkways. It is hoped that this will be of help to them to reduce salt and improve water quality. Increased readings in conductivity have been noted at Swains Lake, and it is known that salt plays a factor in this. Conductivity is defined as “the ability of water to carry an electrical charge.” This bill was passed on March 5th.


Senate Bill 627 would establish a voluntary program for those owning docks. Lakeside residents would be able to register their docks with the NHDES if they wish. This bill aims to reduce complaints, improve record keeping, and ensure that routine permit requests are easy and environmentally protective. It passed on March 3rd.


House Bill 1124 would increase the area eligible for a “prime wetland designation.” This legislation aims to include outlying areas of an already designated wetland in order to afford more protection for lakes and rivers. Wetlands protect water quality, by absorbing runoff, and also reduce the impact of floods, and they provide habitat for wildlife. HB 1124 was passed on March 13th.


House Bill 1609 would establish a voluntary program for those owning docks. Lakeside residents would be able to register their docks with the NHDES if they wish. This bill aims to reduce complaints, improve record-keeping, and ensure that routine permit requests are easy and environmentally protective. It passed on March 3rd.ment and safety of these platforms.” HB 1609 was passed on March 11th.


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