While there is no official list or designation for “cleanest,” Newfound’s low phosphorus, high dissolved oxygen and high clarity make it one of the cleanest lakes in New Hampshire and northern New England, a region generally known for its high-quality water. Newfound Lake has earned spots on unofficial lists of high-quality water bodies, including this article in The Blog for Lifestyle & Travel: Top 10 Clearest Lakes in the U.S. You Have to See to Believe.
Newfound’s clean water comes from its network of tributaries that flow through heavily forested uplands. The forests act as filters and thermostats that remove sediment and keep the streams cool. While springs contribute an estimated 5% – 10% of annual input to the lake, the tributaries provide roughly 75% of Newfound’s volume.
What is the Value of Clean Water?
Since we require water to live, clean water is actually priceless. However, detailed economic analysis of New Hampshire’s surface water indicates a roughly 30% decline in regional economic value if a lake is polluted, contains invasive species, is overcrowded, or has its view degraded. For example, roughly half of Bristol’s tax revenue is generated by just over 10% of its taxed properties, most of which are on Newfound Lake. Without the “subsidies” provided by non-resident property taxes, local taxes would increase substantially. Thus, Newfound Lake is the region’s economic engine.
What Are the Biggest Threats to Clean Water?
Stormwater runoff is the biggest source of pollution to surface water. Data and anecdotal evidence indicate that the Lake is not as clean as it once was – water quality is threatened by major storms and poorly planned development.
What Can I Do to Keep My Water Clean?
This is your land and your water – to protect what you love you have to take an active part.
- Be a steward of your own property. Prevent stormwater runoff, encourage healthy native vegetation, and practice low-impact development (landscaping, earth-tone paints, muted lighting).
- Engage with your Town Planning and Select Boards to create and enforce zoning that balances environmental protection with sustainable development.
- Support our strategy to protect some of Newfound’s most pristine habitats through conservation.
- Continue to be a member of the NLRA and encourage your friends and neighbors to join. We are the only organization working full-time and year-’round to keep Newfound clean and clear.