About Lake Management

“Lake management helps ensure the scenic beauty and recreational potential of lakes is maintained or enhanced, that wildlife habitat is protected, that opportunity for public enjoyment of lakes is ensured, and that littoral interests are respected.” NH Lakes Management and Protection Program.



Whether man made or natural, lakes serve a multitude of purposes which need to be protected.  Lakes may be used for flood control, drinking water supplies, fisheries, wildlife, and/or recreational enjoyment such as swimming and boating, making management to protect those uses a complicated issue and task.

The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) offers the following description:

“Lake management covers a broad spectrum of inter-related topics, disciplines and applications. It could be management for protection, enhancement, restoration and/or rehabilitation. Lake management activities may include lake and watershed studies, identification of problems causing various lake symptoms, evaluating options for remediation, planning and implementing that remediation, and performing all types of social, political, scientific, economic and other actions related to the waterbody or waterbodies of concern to manage that system.”



More than 10 years ago, focus groups held throughout the Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed developed a vision describing a public/private partnership that would bring all interests together to speak with one voice. A concern for the future of the watershed and the need to balance recreational uses, development, and the economy with protection of water quality and healthy ecosystems was the consensus of the groups.


Recognizing that no one entity can succeed in protecting the land and water resources of the watershed, and that success will only be realized through combining technical, financial, professional and volunteer resources, The Lake Winnipesaukee Association, Lakes Region Planning Commission, North Country Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, University of New Hampshire Center for Freshwater Biology, Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University, municipalities, Belknap County Conservation District, and the NH Department of Environmental Services have partnered to begin the process to achieve the long term goal of a watershed management plan for Lake Winnipesaukee.

Sub-watershed Approach

Factors including the size of the Lake Winnipesaukee watershed, the morphology of the lake, and local municipal controls over planning, zoning, and conservation issues dictate against developing a one-time, comprehensive watershed-wide management plan.

The strategy adopted by the partners to work at the sub-watershed level with fewer communities began in 2006 with Meredith, Laconia, and Gilford coming together to form a sub-watershed group with the facilitation of North Country Resource Conservation & Development Area Council. The plan that resulted from that collaboration is now available on this website, Plan 1: Meredith, Paugus, and Saunders Bay WMP, completed December 31, 2010.

Evolving Plan

The Winnipesaukee Gateway website and its Watershed Management Plan section represents the combined efforts of many partners to forge a unique, sub-watershed approach to create an effective, sustainable planning and implementation process using state-of-the-art information systems. The website will provide an opportunity for watershed stakeholders, residents, and visitors to get involved and stay in touch with up to date events/meetings/initiatives.

Rather than creating a hard copy plan document to sit on a shelf, this web-based plan conveniently stores and allows quick retrieval of information, maps, photos, on-going projects, water quality and site-restoration plans on a continuing basis.  This system creates opportunities for students, professionals, and the general public to learn more about the watershed as the information is developed and released from credible sources.  And it provides a flexible platform for future plans and implementation efforts.



Top photo from LakesRegionAerials.com