In March 2015 the Watchic Lake Association (WLA) mailed surveys to 230 households on the lake or with right of way access to the lake. The purpose of the survey is to better understand issues and concerns of people that use the lake, and to help guide our short term and long term planning. Responses were accepted until June 30, 2015. To view the survey form click here: 2015 Watchic Lake Association Survey form.
Thank you to all that took the time to respond!
Response Rates and Respondent Profile
Overall, we had a great response with 35% of survey recipients responding (versus a typical response rate of 20%). We feel that the survey encouraged better engagement with Watchic Lake users, and may have encouraged ~20 new members to join the association.
Respondents were asked to force rank five issues/concerns from a list of 17 items.
Respondents seemed to understand that the more we “do the right thing” the better off the lake and our life on the lake. Top concerns were:
- Infestation by invasive species (for example Eurasian milfoil)
- Water clarity
- Maintaining a healthy loon population
- Managing nutrient/runoff pollution
- Septic system maintenance
We also asked respondents to rate the importance of 17 issues/concerns. Here you can see how the top five concerns stack up against all concerns evaluated. It is interesting to note that issues one might define as “quality of life” were rated lower in importance.
Understanding the Role of the Watchic Lake Association
Over the last few years, the WLA has taken on some significant projects to improve and maintain the lake quality. We wanted to understand if lake users were aware of this work and to what extent they felt the work was important. What we learned was:
- Most members understand WLA activities.
- Non-Members do not fully understand what the WLA does, nor its importance.
- Membership leads to understanding and understanding leads to membership
40 people included comments of any type, and 15 respondents commented extensively. It is interesting to note that the most vocal responses do not match the overall Watchic Lake property owner/user concerns. Top comments can be categorized as:
- Boating as risk for invasive plants most commented (9)
- Boating noise also had high number of comments (7)
- WLA feedback extensive and varied (9)… No particular concerns on WLA activities, but some interesting ideas.
For a full list of all comments, click here: 2015 Watchic Lake Survey Verbatim Comments.
There are many misconceptions, especially among non-members, of what the WLA does and can do. We will address in future mailings and meetings.
- The WLA and all Wathic Lake property owners and users need to focus on the day-to-day basics to help protect the lake:
- Water quality (septic, runoff, fertilizers, LakeSmart, etc.)
- Invasive training/monitoring
- Healthy loon habitat
- Encourage state/town diligence and engagement on zoning and code enforcement
- We need a longer term strategic plan to help guide our activities. We will consider a third party evaluation of top water quality trouble spots to help guide us.
- A survey helps with understanding, member engagement, and helps grow membership.
Again – thank you to all those who took the time to complete the survey!