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"You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"

Wolfeboro's Don Kretchmer urges protcetion of local lakes at Water Summit

"You don't know what you've got until it's gone.." Quoting a popular song lyric, Don Kretchmer, the principal at DK Water Consulting and a certified lake manager, began his talk on protecting our greatest asset, our lakes, at the Wolfeboro Water Summit. (Russ Schundler — Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
May 31, 2017
WOLFEBORO — Certified lake manager Don Kretchmer, Wolfeboro resident and principal at DK Water Consulting, took the stage in the Great Hall immediately following a presentation by Dr. Tom Ballestero, hydrologist and water resources engineer from the University of New Hampshire during the recent Wolfeboro Water Summit.

While Ballestero focused on the broader implications of changes recorded in our weather patterns, Kretchmer spoke on Wolfeboro in particular, its water resources and ways we can protect the lakes within its borders now to forestall future degradation.

He pointed out that people come from south of our border to enjoy our quality recreational offerings. Their lakes used to be like ours, but as development progressed, water quality decreased, making our lakes are a prime attraction.

Slides depicting the buildout analysis of the Lake Wentworth Watershed (available online in full),

show scattered dots representing buildings – 2,316 recorded in 2012, and increasing in density with projections of numbers based on current zoning - 3,440 in 2032 and 4,246 in 2043.

With greater density comes an increase in Phosphorus (P), which encourages the growth of invasive aquatic plants and periodic cyanobacteria blooms, leading to reduced water clarity. According to Kretchmer, a three foot depth loss of clarity leads to a 20 percent drop in property values. "Solutions are not easy and are expensive. It takes decades to get to that point and decades to get back," he said.

P levels have already risen in Winnipesaukee, Mirror Lake, Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake – Rust Pond has deviated from the norm with a decrease. Prevention has to intensify now.

Kretchmer noted that Wolfeboro's downtown core depends on the Upper Beech Pond for its water, making it important to have a protective zone around the pond to avoid future water supply issues. He said shorefront land disturbance increases runoff by a factor of 8 – 10, but there are solutions.

Above all, he said, "Think about what you put on your land because it might end up in your water." Look for fertilizer without P, the middle number, and use laundry detergent without P.

The town has moved in some positive directions such as rain gardens next to the docks on Back Bay; the installation of pervious pavement at the Kingswood Complex, and most recently at the lower parking lot at Mast Landing, which allows water to infiltrate through the soil and organic matter; and volunteer monitoring of lake water quality.

He advised letting grass grow longer in ditches to stablize the soil and suggested that shorefront owners plant natural buffers along the shoreline, not only to slow erosion, but discourage geese.

The entire presentation may be viewed on Wolfeboro TV's Web site.

The Wolfeboro Water Summit was organized by the Wentworth Watershed Association with support from The Wolfeboro Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Cate Memorial Fund and Edward Jones – Kevin Lawlor, Financial Advisor.

The Kretchmer presentation was the second featured article in a three part series. Next week, the focus is on area leaders answering the questions, "Where are we now? Where are we going?"

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