Stewardship of the Watershed


Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.
— Wangari Maathai

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a watershed as the land surface area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer or even the ocean.

The Lake Sunapee watershed includes all of the land surface that drains into Lake Sunapee. All told, the watershed area is spread throughout six towns - Newbury, Springfield, Sunapee, New London, Sutton and Goshen. 

The watershed area is approximately 47 square miles and includes the watersheds of a number of smaller water bodies such as Little Lake Sunapee, Otter Pond, Baptist Pond, Star Lake, Chalk Pond, Mountainview Lake and others.

The Lake Sunapee watershed is part of the larger Sugar River watershed, which is part of the much larger Connecticut River watershed. That means Sunapee waters eventually flow into Long Island Sound.   

Watershed Protection

Watershed protection means protecting all our water resources - lakes and ponds, streams and rivers, and wetlands and groundwater. These resources are all connected. They sustain us and the entire ecological system that we live in - all terrestrial and aquatic life. These resources also supply our drinking water and provide incredible recreational opportunities.

1:6 Ratio Water to Land in Watershed

Ratio based on surface area.

Since the late 1990's, LSPA has been awarded grant funding to complete a number of water resource protection projects in the Lake Sunapee watershed including stream bank restoration and stormwater bio-retention structures. The majority of these projects were designed to slow down and capture stormwater runoff that often cause erosion and can transport sediments laden with excessive nutrients and pesticides into Lake Sunapee.

Watershed management plan

In 2008, a twelve member committee that included representatives from the six watershed towns created a plan to increase the understanding of water resources in the Lake Sunapee Watershed, and to provide a meaningful foundation for decision-making. 

Need advice?

LSPA's watershed stewards, Robert Wood and Geoff Lizotte may be able to answer some of your questions related to water quality and/or watershed protection.  If we don't have an answer for you, we may be able to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that we are neither legal advisors nor dispute mediators, nor do we have any official capacity. We are strictly advisory. Click here to access LSPA's resource library for brochures that provide information for some of these topics.   

General topics include:

  • Landscaping Plants
  • Shoreland Protection, Trees
  • Stormwater 
  • Algae, Cyanobacteria
  • De-Icing 
  • Streams and Area Lakes and Ponds

what you can do

Become a volunteer in one of our programs or reduce your "footprint". Visit our resource library for more information.

Join the Soak Up the Rain New Hampshire (SOAK) program. This is a voluntary program, managed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), with the goal of protecting and restoring clean water in the state’s lakes, streams, and coastal waters from the negative impacts of stormwater pollution.

Learn how to better manage stormwater on your property. Read the New Hampshire Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management Do-It-Yourself Stormwater Solutions for Your Home. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to install do-it-yourself stormwater treatment practices to help protect nearby streams and ponds from stormwater pollution, help reduce flooding, create wildlife habitat, recharge groundwater, and conserve water resources.

Check out the many ways you can practice watershed stewardship from the Center for Watershed Protection and the US EPA