Messer Pond Watershed Management Program
New Hampshire Shoreline Water Quality Protection Act, revised 04/01/08
Q: What is a Watershed?
A: A watershed is the area of land from which all water drains into a particular lake, river, stream, wetland or ocean. Watersheds are natural areas determined by topography and the boundaries can be drawn on a map by connecting the tops of the tallest hills surrounding a body of water. Water that falls within our watershed boundary flows downhill and much of it ends up in Messer Pond.
Watersheds can vary in size from just a few acres to hundreds of millions of acres, as every body of water � from Chalk Pond to the Mississippi River � has its own watershed. The Messer Pond Watershed is part of larger watershed basins, the Contoocook River Watershed and the larger Merrimack River Watershed.
"The water quality of a lake is a direct reflection of its watershed."
Q: What is water pollution?
A: When people think of water pollution they commonly think of industrial discharges and sewage outfalls pouring directly into a body of water. Because this type of pollution enters the water at a specific point � such as a pipe or drain � it is called point source pollution.
While point source pollution is a problem in some areas, the concern in our watershed is non-point source pollution (or NPS, storm water runoff or polluted runoff). As the name suggests, rather than coming from a single source, this type of pollution comes from a variety of sources and is made up of a variety of pollutants making it harder to manage and ultimately control.
of the biggest non-point pollutants are sediment and nutrients � which
together account for more than 80% of the pollution in American lakes.
Sediments - Sediment probably causes more surface water degradation than any other single contaminant. Excess sediment in the water can smother fish nests with silt, and harms the tiny organisms that fish depend upon for food. Soil also acts as a carrier of pollutants. Molecules of pesticides, oil, metals, fertilizer and other chemical contaminants and nutrients cling to grains of soil as rain and snowmelt wash through the watershed, and are carried to surface waters.
NUTRIENTS - In a fresh water system phosphorus is the nutrient of greatest concern. While small amounts of this nutrient occur naturally, and it is necessary for the growth of plants � phosphorus added from human activity can cause serious imbalance in a lake ecosystem. Phosphorus is the nutrient in lakes that plants just can�t get enough of. They will continue to use phosphorus as long as it comes into the system, and plants will essentially grow out of control including algae. So limiting phosphorus/phosphate use in the watershed is a great way to limit non-point source pollution.
Q: How can we protect our Watershed?
A: Abide by the following Best Management Practices which are land management practices recommended to minimize human impact on the environment:
Inside your home:
Use low-phosphate or preferably phosphate-free detergents in both laundry and kitchen
Dispose properly of hazardous household liquids, such as oil, anti-freeze and paint � don�t pour down the drain
Outside your home:
If you use chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, check state and local regulations, and use them SPARINGLY
Compost organic matter (leaves and grass clippings) well away from surface water
Minimize the amount of bare soil - use native groundcovers to help absorb runoff and minimize erosion
If your property has any surface water, even a small brook or wetland, keep a buffer of vegetation along it. A healthy vegetated buffer includes groundcovers, shrubbery and a mix of trees.
In an area bordering surface water, check local and state regulations before cutting any trees
Have your septic tank pumped out at least every three years
US EPA Watersheds
US EPA Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans
H O M
Messer Pond Protective Association
PO Box 103
New London, NH 03257
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