The Toughest Night

Violent thunderstorms, snapping turtles, eagle attacks; all these are tough to witness while watching the Loon Cam. But if you want to raise your anxiety level (and possibly your ire), watch the Loon Cam tomorrow night (July 4) with the volume turned up. It’s Independence Day, the most popular summer holiday, especially with lake people. And what is Independence Day without fireworks? And what better place to shoot off fireworks than over a lake? 
The pyrotechnics will start sporadically in the afternoon (some people have no patience) and jump into full gear around 9 pm. With multiple summer camps shooting off rockets, there will be a steady string of explosions for the next two to three hours.
It can be tough to watch on the Loon Cam. The loons will be noticeably on a higher level of alert. But for the most part, they seem to weather the audio onslaught better than the viewers or the neighbors who seek a more peaceful lake retreat. One advantage for the loons is that most of those on the nest are getting close to hatch day. The longer a loon pair has been sitting on the nest, the greater investment they have in the eggs, the less likely they are to abandon the nest.
Within the environmental community, the greater concern is toxic contaminants introduced to New Hampshire waterbodies. Fireworks contain perchlorate, which can disrupt the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and heavy metals such as lead, chromium, manganese and cadmium. Recent studies show high levels of perchlorate and heavy metals in the air and water during and directly after some fireworks displays, sometimes exceeding EPA standards and in one case persisting in the water for up to three weeks.
Within the context of everything else that gets dumped into our lakes, it is a small fraction of a percent of the whole. But we can also say that it is one more piece of straw we’re adding to the camel’s back. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services recommends that, if you must use fireworks on a lake, don’t launch them from a dock or on the edge of the shore. Choose a launch site set back from the shore and clean up any remaining debris. And check with your town. Most New Hampshire towns allow class B fireworks but quite a few have restrictions on their use.