VLAP Weekly Update 8/28/15

Nubanusit Lake in Nelson, NH

This Monday I went to Nubanusit Lake in Nelson and sampled with Dave and Maurice. Kirsten, one of the full-time biologists at DES, came with me to freshen up on her VLAP skills. She normally works with the Lake Survey Program here which does similar testing  but for lakes and ponds that do not have volunteers. We dropped off equipment to Silver Lake in Harrisville prior to sampling and enjoyed a beautiful day at Nubanusit. This lake is officially one of my new favorites and it also had a Secchi disk reading of close to 12 meters; indicating low algal growth and a clear view of the rocks and fish in shallower waters. Not only did we see a wide variety of wildlife but Maurice also pointed out the bald eagle that lives on the lake. We definitely had a memorable and enjoyable trip. After wrapping things up at Nubanusit, we picked up samples from Silver Lake. Roger and Sandy were the first volunteers I went sampling with so it was nice to see them again and catch up.

On Tuesday, I was scheduled to go to French Pond in Henniker. However, due to the thunderstorms my visit got canceled. I helped a co-worker collect cyanobacteria samples at a different pond and did lab work for the rest of the day.

Finally, on Wednesday, I was in lab. I ran samples and wrapped things up in lab. Today is my last day for the summer. I may return next summer, however it is also my last chance to study abroad which has been a dream of mine. On another note, I wanted to say thank you to everyone for making this summer so enjoyable. It has been a pleasure meeting you all! From blueberry muffins, learning how to row, almost going down a dam in a canoe, etc… I have a lot of good memories to thank you all for. And thank you to Sara, for being so awesome! You guys are what make this program so great.


Carina, Sara & Callie, VLAP 2015

Best of wishes to you all and enjoy the rest of your summer!

P.S. Richard, the pirates won the selfie contest! 🙂




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VLAP Weekly Update 8/21/15

Monday I went to Wicwas Lake in Meredith and sampled with Dave and Marge. A daughter of one of their friends joined us. McKenna was a big help and was very knowledgeable about the lake for a middle school student. She will make a great future intern (wink wink). We also had a lot of fun on their new tug boat, which was a learning experience as well since they have only been out with the boat a couple of times. Marge was hopeful to find a baby loon chick, but yet again, there were three adults loons but no baby loon. On the bright side, it was a gorgeous day and Marge made us sandwiches. Thank you Marge!

Tugboat at Lake Wicwas

On Tuesday, I was in the lab. I logged in plankton data, weather data and prepared reports for several of the volunteers that had sampled in the previous months. I also logged in and ran samples that the volunteers and biologists brought in. Again, another busy day in the lab, but I got a lot accomplished. Sara went to Ayers Lake in Barrington and met with Diane and Ron. It was a hot day, but the water was crystal clear and the Secchi disk was visible almost to the bottom at 7.0 meters!

Ayers Lake, Barrington, NH

Then on Wednesday, I stopped by Harrisville Pond to drop off bottles and equipment. Sue took the row boat again…..she will be accepting applications for anyone who knows how to row! Just kidding, Sue! 😉 She did a great job while I went to Dublin Lake to sample. I went out with Joan and Cynthia, while Karen collected the tributary samples. Despite some difficulties with the dissolved oxygen (D.O.) meter and the motor at the end of our trip, I would say we were successful! Then I went back to Harrisville Pond and picked up their samples to take them back to DES with me. Another beautiful day as well!

On Thursday, I went to Willand Pond in Dover. Doug and I were very efficient with our sampling. We also did some tests for cyanobacteria though the pond’s water quality has been improving! Afterwards, I went back to the lab to continue my lab “duties”. Overall, a great day! Sara visited Hills Pond and Sunset Lake in Alton as it had been many years since she’d last been there. It was a fast sampling day and they managed to sample two lakes in three hours. Carol has a great technique for rolling up the integrated tube, and Sara definitely took note!

Hills Pond, Alton, NH

On Friday, I went to Northwood Lake with Sara. We had a lot of work to do so Sara started the tributary sample collection while LouAnne, Kevin and I did our sampling at the deep spot. Luckily, we had some calm, dry weather while out on the boat, even though the skies looked dreary. We noticed a lot of different wildlife in the area and LouAnne also showed me how the flower of a pepper plant can be used as soap. It actually makes a lather! How interesting! Unfortunately, Sara ended up with poison ivy, but otherwise a successful sampling day!

Dreary Friday at Northwood Lake, Northwood, NH



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Weekly Update 8/21/15

Monday was a busy and very successful day! First I met a new volunteer at Emerson Pond. We used a paddle boat so it was a great workout for our legs! It was very hot out on the pond with almost no wind. We had a little trouble finding the deep spot but eventually we found it. Next, I headed to a volunteer’s house near Rockwood Pond in Fitzwilliam, NH to pick up an algae sample they wanted analyzed. After that, I picked up VLAP samples from Pearly Pond that a volunteer left outside their house in a cooler for me. Then, I went to the Pearly Pond town beach right near Franklin Pierce University to take two E. coli samples for the Beach Coordinator, Sonya. Finally, I met Carol from Contoocook Lake so she could give me VLAP samples to bring back to the lab. I am glad I was able to save the trip to Concord for multiple people!

Tuesday I visited Pleasant Pond in Francestown. I met Harry at the boat launch and we sampled at the Deep Spot, Inlet, and Dam Outlet. He had a fast motor on his boat so it was a quick trip which was good because it was another 90 degree day!

Pleasant Pond, Francestown, NH

Wednesday I drove up to Whitefield to sample at Forest Lake. I met a couple at their house and then we drove over to another volunteer’s house to get on his boat. There was a loon family on the lake with one chick which was adorable! I also brought a Bladderwort plant sample back to the lab. They were concerned it was an invasive species of Bladderwort, but luckily Amy Smagula confirmed it was the native Bladderwort, Utricularia radiata.


Friday I went to the town beach on Glen Lake in Goffstown. I was in a small boat with a volunteer named Tom, and Kathy was on a one seater water bike which I had never seen before! It was neat! We sampled at the deep spot and then drove to the inlet. It was overcast but we did not get rained on!

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VLAP Weekly Update 8/14/15

Monday the 10th I visited Post and Reservoir Ponds in Lyme. First I went to Post Pond where I met a new volunteer and we went out on her row boat. I learned that years ago she interned at the Department of Environmental Services but in the Waste Management Division. When we were done there I drove to Reservoir Pond which was only about 10 minutes down the road. I felt like I was going the wrong way driving down the long dirt road but out of no where the pond appeared! There was a loon family including two adults and their two chicks. We were paddling in the canoe back to the boat launch and we saw the two loons dive under the water. All of the sudden one of the loons pops up five feet in front of me and it let out a screech which made me jump of course! The volunteer was just laughing. Those are big birds up close!

Reservoir Pond in Lyme


Tuesday it was raining all day so both biologist visits were cancelled. So I ended up staying in the lab that day. One lake was brave enough to sample in the rain so I analyzed their samples that they delivered.

Wednesday I sampled at Chase Pond in Wilmot with Wayne. Wayne was not able to sample the past couple of years so he was very excited to come out on the water with me this year. He is very passionate and supportive of the lake assessment program that Jody Connor started and has been sampling for over 20 years. He used to be an Environmental Studies professor so he had some great advice for me which I love hearing! It was a great day!

Raft at Chase Pond

Friday I went to Suncook Ponds in Barnstead and met a volunteer named Carol. There are two ponds, Lower Suncook and Upper Suncook, so there were two deep spots. Two loons were following us on the upper pond and they were very talkative! We loved listening to their calls. It was very calm when I first arrived but the wind picked up a lot during the two hours we were out on the water. It was a beautiful day though; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! There are two islands on the lower pond and each island had a house on it! That would be different needing a boat to get to your house. You would definitely have to make sure you had your milk and bread!

It was a fun week! I love meeting all of the volunteers and seeing the lakes and ponds that they live on.

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VLAP Weekly Update 8/14/15

On Monday the 10th I went to Hermit Lake in Sanbornton. Jerry and I spotted four loons while out sampling. This is a beautiful and unique shaped lake with a floating islands. After we were finished sampling on the boat, I went over to the beach to collect an e-coli sample and then to the Rte 132 inlet to collect our last set. They also have a new puppy named Harry who is absolutely adorable!

Hermit Lake floating islands

Hermit Lake Floating Islands

On Tuesday, because of the rain, my VLAP visit was canceled. However, the river interns needed help so we went out in the rain and to Lyme, NH to sample a few rivers. It was interesting to see what they did. A lot of their work is similar to the sampling and tests that we perform. But instead of running the tests in the lab, they run them out in the field. I helped them calibrate meters, collect samples and collected the dissolved oxygen data. I also learned that my rain jacket is not water PROOF. Overall, we made the trip fun and though soaked at the end of the day, we shared many laughs and got a lot accomplished.


Callie with Andrea and Cassie Before and After Sampling


On Wednesday, Sara and I traded jobs since her allergies got the best of her. I went out to Massasecum Lake in Bradford and met with Scott and Peter, who are new volunteers. For new volunteers, they are very quick learners and did a great job sampling! It was the quickest we had ever sampled this lake. It was also fun to hear some fishing stories about the lake. Apparently it is another great place to fish.

On Thursday,  I went to Long Pond in Pelham. One half of the lake is in NH while the other half is in Massachusetts. We did our deep spot sampling on the NH side of course. Afterwards, we did some cyanobacteria testing on the other end, as well as at the beach. Dave, one of the volunteers, thanked me with a box full of peaches from his garden which was a nice surprise.

On Friday, I took the day off. My mom planned a whale watching trip so here’s hoping we see some whales! Take care and hope you had great weekend!


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VLAP Weekly Update 8/7/15

On Monday, I went to Forest Lake in Winchester to sample with Doug, Steve and Deb. Again, a very enthusiastic group which always makes sampling fun. Deb, who is a science teacher, was excited to learn how the equipment worked so that she could make her own equipment for her classroom. Her students often go out on boats to sample local water and learn about water chemistry and ecology. Doug and I finished our tributary sampling from the road and then I was off to the lab to analyze the samples.


Campground Inlet at Forest Lake

On Tuesday, I was at Otter Pond in Sunapee with Gerry and Jim. Gerry has been sampling for over 30 years so he obviously was a professional. Gerry also developed the integrated tube method for Chlorophyll sampling with Jody Connor so a BIG thanks to you! Using an integrated tube rather than doing the composite method with the Kemmerer bottle at deeper lakes is a lot more efficient…despite the fact that working with the integrated tube can sometimes be like wrestling a boa constrictor, it is a huge help and saves so much time. Jim, a new volunteer, also did a great job. Gerry’s wife, Betsy, joined us for the rest of our sampling and overall, it was a very nice day. Also the most wildlife I’ve seen at a pond this season, including one of the biggest snapping turtles I’ve ever seen.

Gerry using his integrated tube

Wednesday, I put together another annual meeting presentation for Tom Pond in Warner. Sara will be presenting there on the 15th. It was a slower day in the lab as no volunteers dropped off samples, just the biologists.

Thursday was another lab day. I helped with data analysis and made trend graphics for certain lakes that had requested them. I even made a quick trip to Tom Pond to get some photographs for the upcoming presentation. I finished up the day preparing paperwork and entering water quality data on the computer.


Tom Pond, Warner

Lastly, on Friday, I went to Cobbetts Pond in Windham. I went out with Caroline, one of the Beach Program interns who deals with Cyanobacteria. She did some sampling while Derek and I did our regular VLAP sampling. Derek and I wrapped things up rather quickly making plenty of time to run samples back in the lab and prepare for next week. It was a beautiful day! I hope you all got to enjoy it!

Caroline and Callie sampling Cobbetts Pond


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VLAP Weekly Update 7/31/15

On Monday I was in lab analyzing samples again. Another busy day as a lot of volunteers came in with  samples! Sara went to another new pond in the program, Wheelwright Pond in Lee. This is the pond you can see from Rt. 125 near the Lee traffic circle. Sara reported that it was a perfectly calm morning and the sampling went quickly and easily. Paula was a quick learner and is excited to sample again in August!


Paula Recording Data at Wheelwright Pond

Then on Tuesday, Sara and I drove up to the Littleton area together to sample at separate lakes. Sara dropped me off at Partridge Lake and I met Dayton. Dayton wanted to train several new volunteers on how to use the equipment and properly sample. Dayton did a great job assisting and helping to teach the new crew. Tom, Boo, Paul and Pamela of course did a great job and it was fun to be with such an energetic group. I also saw my first loon chick for the season!

Round Pond in Lyman

After dropping me at Partridge, Sara headed on to Round and Dodge Ponds in Lyman. These are connected by a long channel and you can get from one pond to the other via boat. Sara actually sampled on her own that day as the volunteer had recent shoulder surgery. She used the volunteer’s boat with a small electric motor. It took Sara a while to sample both ponds and to get from one pond to the other and back (note: if Sara had jiggled the wires earlier, she would have been motoring right along!), and a search crew almost went out looking for her when they noticed her coming through the channel; hooray! She was met with a fresh glass of ice water and plenty of help getting the equipment back to the car. On the way back from Littleton we even stopped at the rest area to drop off some brochures for the Beach Program. It was a very productive day!

Suzanne Sampling the Tributary

On Wednesday, I traveled to Harrisville and sampled at Russell Reservoir and Harrisville Pond. Dave, one of our newer volunteers, and I paddled around Russell Reservoir collecting our few samples. We also tried to get close to a blue heron to get a picture but unfortunately didn’t get the picture we were hoping for. Afterwards, I met with Suzanne at Harrisville Pond. Luckily most of our sampling could be done from the road as we had a row boat, and let’s just say, we aren’t the best rowers! However, we did learn that it helps to row when the anchor is up! A lot of laughs on this hot, but fun trip!

Sara and I were in the lab on Thursday catching up on office work and getting data reports out. Friday morning was busy in the lab as samples were dropped of early! Sara went to Locke Lake in Barnstead which was a short drive away. The volunteers were very helpful and enjoyed sampling!

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Weekly Update 7/31/15

Monday I visited Rockybound Pond in Croydon where I met a group of volunteers of all ages. We even had two young elementary school aged girls come out with us and they were fantastic helpers! As I collected the dissolved oxygen and temperature readings I explained how to distinguish the different thermal layers in the pond by water temperatures.



Wednesday I went down to New Ipswich to sample with a volunteer at Pratt Pond. We sampled off of a pontoon boat that had an electric motor because electric motors are the only motors allowed on that pond. It was nice how quiet the motor was. The pond is very shallow, only about 3 meters or 10 feet, so it is only one layer, the epilimnion. After the deep spot we sampled two inlets. It was a quick trip!


Wild Goose Pond, Pittsfield

Thursday I sampled at Wild Goose Pond in Pittsfield which was only about a thirty minute drive from Concord. We were only able to sample at the deep spot because the inlet was not flowing. The pond is spring fed and is definitely a hidden gem! After chatting for a while I found out the volunteer I met, Margaret, is a professor at Saint Anselm College which is where I go to school! What a small world! Margaret’s 16 year old grandson who was visiting from Colorado paddled in his kayak next to us to observe everything we were doing which was great. Maybe he can take over one day!

Friday I met Rich from Chalk Pond in Newbury. He is taking over VLAP sampling at Chalk Pond so I was there to train him. Now he is a pro! We sampled off of his paddle boat which I enjoyed because we are able to get a little exercise while having fun sampling! We chatted about his job as an environmental chemist as well which was very interesting.

It was a hot week but I am grateful I was able to be by the water almost every day!

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7/24/15 Weekly Update

We are keeping busy as usual! Monday was a crazy day in the lab. We had a bunch of lakes come in with samples and the interns were at the machines all day running tests.

Tuesday I went to Skatutakee Lake in Harrisville. It was a perfect day for sampling. Gordon and I sampled with captain George and despite a sticky Kemmerer bottle, had a successful and fun day. Gordon told me that the road around the lake use to be a railroad track. The spring into the lake is also drinking water for the community and there is a hose that people can use to fill bottles and jugs. We stopped for a quick sip after collecting our sample.


Gordon sampling the spring water!

Wednesday I went to Stone Pond in Marlborough. I sampled with Ira in his friend’s canoe. It was tough sampling in the beginning of a storm as it was super windy. Ira also asked me about the Secchi Dip-In which happens in July. You can all register if you wish! The Dip-In requires you to enter your lake or pond’s secchi disk reading for the national database. You will sign up and record your readings for July here: http://www.secchidipin.org/

On Thursday I stayed in the lab as my visit was canceled. I prepped paperwork and bottles  for next week, worked on a presentation for an annual lake association meeting and analyzed samples in the lab.

Then Friday, I went to Pleasant Lake in Deerfield. I sampled with Jim, Tim and John. This was the first time sampling for Tim and John but they did a great job and were a fun bunch to work with. We also got to see another curious loon. We did not have much to sample as much of the tributaries were dry or not flowing.

The Pleasant Lake sampling crew

Keep up the good work and remember to record your Dip-In data if you wish!!



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VLAP Weekly Update 7/24/15

Monday I drove to Mountainview Lake in Sunapee. It was 90 degrees in Concord so I was grateful to be by the water where there was a nice breeze and it was cooler. I met a with Ward and he tied his kayak to the back of the Glastron motor boat to help sample two of the tributaries. It was too shallow in those locations to drive the boat in, so we anchored and he kayaked to collect the samples. After we were done at the deep spot and tributaries and were heading back the volunteer spotted a white object in the water. At first we thought it was a buoy but as we got closer we realized it was a big log about one meter below the surface almost in the middle of the lake! We anchored near the log and the volunteer jumped in the water to try and remove it. He did not want anyone boating or skiing on the lake to get hurt because after all lake safety is very important too! He tied the log with rope, attached it to the boat and we towed it back to his dock. It was a very successful trip!


Ward kayaking to the shallow Outlet

Tuesday I visited Mascoma Lake in Enfield. I met three volunteers and we loaded all of the equipment onto a pontoon boat. We had a friendly competition for who could get the best reading on the secchi disk portion. They also kept trying to get each other wet which was funny and refreshing because it was another hot day! Jim had a long sampling pole that we used when we drove around to the different tributaries which was extremely helpful.

Wednesday I sampled at Howe Reservoir with Nancy. I was lucky that she had a small motor on her canoe which made getting around the reservoir a breeze! There was bridge over one part of the water that we had to go under in order to get to the inlet and it almost did not look tall enough for us to fit under, but we made it with about a foot above our heads. It was amazing how few houses there were along the shoreline. It must be very peaceful and quiet there all the time.


Snapper – maybe it was the same one?

Friday I went to Tom Pond in Warner which was my quickest sampling trip yet! Warner is only about twenty minutes from Concord. I got on John’s boat with our captain Rudy, John’s beagle, who was a great sampling companion. We also had a curious snapping turtle hanging out near us at the deep spot. The water level of the pond was low and the Inlet was not flowing so we could not get a sample but we were able to get a sample from the Outlet. The rest of my day was spent back in the lab running the samples!

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