The SLA has been collecting water quality data on Squam since 1978 in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Lakes Lay Monitoring Program. This volunteer program runs June through August and collects a number of parameters at thirteen sites across the Squam Lakes (sites are marked in the map below).
Once per week volunteers measure water transparency, or clarity using a secchi disk (see the secchi disk in action in the photo to the right). Though water clarity depths vary throughout the sampling seach, secchi disk measurements of over 5 meters generally reflect pristine water quality. Algal blooms and suspended sediments are two factors that can impact water clarity. Every other week volunteers also collect an integrated water sample. The sample is later tested for chlorophyll, phosphorus and color.
Overall, the average summer seasonal water quality testing indicates that the Squam Lakes are well within the limits for a pristine lake. However, certain areas of the lakes are displaying more productive conditions (more algae and weeds) during certain years and some areas are approaching less pristine conditions at a faster rate than natural processes should dictate.
The SLA depends on a reliable core of volunteers for our Water Quality Monitoring Program. Click here to volunteer and get involved!