Phosphorus: friend and foe

You can find three numbers on every bag of fertilizer. They tell you, the consumer, just how much nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) ,and potassium (K) are in that container.

The obvious question is what numbers do you need? To answer this question, Don Kretchmer of Wolfeboro, limnologist and Certified Lake Manager, tells people to have their soil tested before applying any chemicals to a lawn, garden, shrubbery or trees. (Limnology, by the way, is the study of inland waters, and Kretchmer’s certification comes from the North American Lake Management Society.)

Why don’t I just go for the bigger numbers? Well, too much of a ‘good thing’ can in fact be bad. For example, too much nitrogen can cause a plant not to flower or bear fruit. Too much potassium can inhibit the absorption of other nutrients. This can then lead to problems caused by nutrient deficiencies. Plus, excess of any of these chemicals is free to go elsewhere, causing other problems.

The second number on the bag represents the amount of phosphorus. “Phosphorus is a necessary ingredient for plant growth. About 0.2% of a plant’s dry weight is composed of the element” according to Theodorou and Plaxton. Phosphorus provides essential components for processing nutrients as well as enzymes and other factors that contribute to the plant’s health.

But Kretchmer explains that added phosphorus in streams and lakes can, and often does, contribute to excessive growth of vegetation and algae. A common example of this is phosphorus’s role in algae blooms. Continue reading

Foundation steps out at Festival of Trees

The Lake Wentworth Foundation made its debut appearance in Wolfeboro’s annual Festival of Trees this year at the Wright Museum.

The event features elaborately decorated trees from more than five dozen civic organizations and businesses throughout the Wolfeboro community. This year represents the 16th that the festival has run.

The display of trees is open for viewing by the public on the weekends of December 6-7 and 13-14 as well as  on Wednesday evening, Dec. 10. 

Each year, proceeds from admission fees are donated to one or two local non-profit organizations. This year’s beneficiaries are End 68 Hours of Hunger and Caregivers of Southern Carroll County and Vicinity. 


The Foundation entry features a variety of winter sports and recreational items, including skates, a sled, and snowshoes, representing the availability of year-round recreation on Wolfeboro’s lakes and trails.

The display is flanked by a sign proclaiming the Foundation’s commitment to “protecting Wolfeboro’s water quality, natural resources, and scenic beauty.”

Trolley tour highlights increasing watershed protections

The photos below provide a snapshot of the tour that some 30 area residents joined on Saturday, Oct. 11, to view the initial steps being taken, with the help of the Wentworth/Crescent Watershed Management Plan, to protect the area’s vital surface waters. (Photos courtesy of Bob Cole)

 Molly tourists Some of the travelers on Molly the Trolley’s tour of watershed sites 
Don Kretchmer points out the details of stormwater mitigation structures protecting Fernald Brook  Don Kretchmer, Bartletts LWF
 Don Kretchmer & Jack O'Connell LWF Molly Tour Limnologist Don Kretchmer, left, who offered explanations of stormwater mitigation efforts, along with LWF President Jack O’Connell 

A most unusual tour

Saturday, October 11, 2014

4:30-6:30 p.m.

Leaving from and returning to The Inn on Main, Wolfeboro

Ride Molly the Trolley for a tour of water quality improvement projects in the Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake watershed, hosted by the Lake Wentworth Foundation.

Visit two local businesses, Bartlett’s Tree Service and Top of the Hill Farm, and see the methods they use to reduce the impact of storm water and other runoff from their sites on streams and lakes.

View three locations where the town of Wolfeboro and the Lake Wentworth Foundation will be installing “Best Management Practices” to reduce phosphorus entering Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake.

Experts involved in the Lake Wentworth-Crescent Lake Watershed Management Plan will explain the use of catchment basins, infiltration trenches, rip rap, and other techniques to lessen pollutants from entering the waters.

The tour is free, but please register by calling 603-534-0222 or emailing KarenBK@lakewentworthfoundation.

Why we care about the watershed

Look…It’s a bowl… it’s a slope…NO, it’s a watershed…

For this article two Wolfeboro residents involved in the creation, development and implementation of the Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake Watershed Management Plan were interviewed.

“It’s a bowl” is the description from Richard Masse, Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake Management Plan Steering Committee member. He further elaborates when describing a watershed, “It’s a bowl of land that feeds the streams and rivers that empty into lakes. It’s all about the water.” As in a bowl, all the water runs downhill to the lowest point in the watershed.

For Kathy Barnard, Chair of the Wolfeboro Planning Board, “we have to look beyond the shorefront, we have to see the whole slope”. She is talking about the slope of land leading down to the lake. Watersheds begin at high lands where water collects in wetlands, ponds or rivulets. From these headwaters the water flows downhill forming streams, then brooks and rivers, and finally into lakes and the ocean. Continue reading