Information about the lake, watershed, Association, and this Web site.

About the lake

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Chebacco Lake is a 209-acre Great Pond co-located in Essex and Hamilton, Massachusetts approximately 30 miles north of Boston. The Great Pond designation ensures public use for swimming, boating, and year-around fishing. A state boat ramp is located at the southeast corner of the lake with space for 14 vehicles and boat trailers. Due to the lake’s irregular shape and tight geometries, boaters are asked to traverse the lake in a counterclockwise direction at all times. The average depth of the lake is a shallow 9 feet with a maximum depth of 22 feet. A single natural outlet, the Alewife Brook, flows 1.7 miles to the Essex River. Each spring for thousands of years, alewife (lake herring) have returned from the ocean via the brook to spawn.

Two diagnostic studies provide a wealth of physical, hyrological, and biological information about the lake.

About the watershed

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Chebacco Lake and five tributary ponds comprise 10% of the 3,657-acre watershed area which overlaps portions of Hamilton (1,463 acres), Essex (1,097 acres), Manchester (658 acres), Wenham (329 acres), and Beverly (110 acres). Forested areas comprise 58% of the watershed area (Lycott); wetlands comprise another 17%, and residential areas comprise approximately 11%. Routes 22 and 128 cross the watershed.

The watershed is a completely natural system; there are no dams or control structures. The health of these ponds and their ecosystems are closely intertwined with land and water use practices in all five communities.

About the Association

There are approximately 150 homes within 300 feet of the lake. Habitation so close to the lake heightens the need for stewardship and collaboration on current lake issues including water quality, septic systems, invasive plants, water level management, phosphate reduction, alewife and wildlife preservation, public access, and boating safety. Founded in 1985, the Chebacco Lake & Watershed Association represents homeowners and residents and is open to all friends of the lake. It works closely with the Towns of Essex and Hamilton as well as the relevant agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In addition to its ongoing work on lake issues, the Association publishes this Web site and a quarterly newsletter, fosters public education about the lake and watershed, and organizes lake cleanups and special events. Current board members are listed here.

You can support the Association and Chebacco Lake with a $25 annual membership. Most importantly, get involved in the well-being of this great lake!

About this Web site

In 2011, we launched this redesigned Web site and blog. Signing up for email updates (upper right-hand corner of the home page) is the fastest and easiest way to stay up on lake news and events!

Events provides info on coming and past events of the Association as well as meetings and activities of interest to the lake community.

Lakeside Living provides a primer on current lake issues and lake-friendly home practices for those new to the lake as well as long-time residents.

Newsletters provides quick access to recent newsletters.

PhotoGallery is our ever-expanding library of historical and contemporary photos. Catch photos of boat parades, wildlife, and historical images of the lake. We even have some screen captures from Adam Sandler’s Grownsups, filmed on the lake in 2009!

Contacts provides a handy reference for contacting Assocation board members as well as town, state, and non-profit organizations involved in safety and lake management.