Weather events have become more extreme in recent years as the planet has warmed. It is not uncommon to be riding bikes for a week in February now and seeing damaging rain and wind storms at almost any time.
Average ice-out dates have trended earlier overall, even though 2018 was remarkably late.
February 20, 2018
Milfoil and other exotic plants
Two species of milfoil, Eurasian and Variable, are non-native and of great danger to lakes. If introduced, they are nearly impossible to eradicate and take over native plants quickly. Milfoil isn't the only concern. Wild celery made an unexpected appearance in the brook running through the North Sutton town commons requiring hand-pulling to control the weeds.
Read more on Exotic Species — The Frightful Fourteen — and Invasive Bugs. Non-native species will have a long-lasting detrimental effect on our landscape in the coming years. They hog the energy and crowd out indigenous plants and animals.
Recent weakening of environmental regulations could turn around the gains made in the previous three decades. The Clean Water Act was a huge impetus for cleaning up Kezar Lake's past pollution from a phosphorus overload. Read ex-DES Commissioner Tom Burack's editorial "Tackling Phosphorus in Our Lakes. Great Progress has been made in 25 years." Many successful clean-ups count this legislation as responsible for returning waterways to their near-original state from pea-soup consistency.
In the Northeast, we depend on salt to make our roads, driveways & walkways safely usable in winter. It is cheap and available. But there are dangers to humans, wildlife and the environment as the salt concentration increases with repeated use. Alternatives to salt include wood chips, an idea being tested in Quebec, beet juice and pickle brine and others. Read more on salt usage:
Erosion: Run-off from roads, roofs, driveways, & impermeable surfaces cause stable areas to break down and travel into the lake.
Septic Systems Failures: These are environmental and public health problems. Particularly near water bodies, regulations need to be followed. NH DES applications, permits and information.
Trash of all types is an out-of-control problem: Glass, cans, plastic and garbage of all types are beginning to clog our wetlands, beautiful roads and trails. Many residents, including the Sutton Ridgerunners and other groups, clean up after others. It is a Sisyphean ordeal as the trash reappears immediately. This issue affects Sutton and the Kezar Lake area intensely, although the phenomenon is widespread. Carry-In/Carry-Out applies throughout the town to all refuse.
Warming temperatures affect wildlife, causing some species to die out and others to migrate to find more suitable climes, throwing the ecosystem out of balance. They also create conditions conducive to algal growth in lakes which encourages growth of invasive species.
LAKE & CLIMATE CHANGE ARTICLES
LAKE ICE-IN & ICE-OUT DATES
What you can do: Since fossil fuel use drives the greenhouse effect, trapping heat in the atmosphere and warming the planet:
Use more alternative energy sources like solar & wind when possible
Conserve energy—carpool, turn off (or turn down) appliances
Eat more plants, eat more locally produced food.
Recycle materials and compost organic waste
Use energy efficient appliances & just enough heat and air conditioning.
Tune up cars, inflate tires, drive slowly to stretch mileage
Appreciate nature & a healthy environment for now and for future generations.