The health of our lakes and watershed is of vital importance to our culture, economy, and environment. Studies indicate that invasive species, water quality and the state of natural resources directly impact property values and important tourist revenue in local and state economies. Regular monitoring and assessment in the Squam Watershed provide the necessary tools and information for the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) and the Squam community to actively protect this valuable resource and maintain its pristine nature.
The SLA, as well as other organizations, has long examined and tracked the health of the Squam Lakes and Watershed. This report marks the first effort to compile data collected in the Squam Watershed into one document. By examining water quality, fish populations, invasive species, boat traffic, and loon populations, we hope to offer a comprehensive picture of the health of the Squam Lakes and Watershed.
In 2013, the Squam Lakes Association published the first Squam Watershed Report. This document gathered the results of decades of study on Squam – water quality, loons, fisheries, boat counts, and invasive plant management – to paint a picture of health of the watershed. This first report examined the rich history of data collected on the lake and in the watershed. In 2014, as in subsequent years, we are narrowing our focus to data collected in 2013, all while keeping the historical context and important trends in mind.
This year we assigned a color code to each parameter examined in this report. Water quality and the warmwater fishery in Squam are considered healthy. Loons on Squam are considered to be an impaired population. The state of variable milfoil on both lakes is fair. It is still present, yet we are seeing success in our management activities. Milfoil in the Squam River is affecting the system to the point of impairment.