7 Lakes Alliance has been awarded $224,434 in Clean Water Act grants to address erosion issues contributing to declining water quality in Long Pond and Messalonskee Lake.
The grant money, awarded by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, will be used to mitigate erosion and stormwater runoff by improving town roads, private gravel roads and driveways, culverts, ditches, bridges and other infrastructure. Using the grants to leverage additional funds from property owners and municipalities, an estimated $500,000 is anticipated to be spent on erosion control around Long Pond and Messalonskee Lake. The funds will be available after the first of the year.
Dirt washed into streams and lakes by stormwater runoff contains phosphorus on which algae feeds. Excessive phosphorus in a lake can spark the sort of algal blooms North Pond has suffered the past four summers.
7 Lakes Alliance was one of seven recipients to receive a total of $854,672 in Clean Water Act grants through Maine DEP. 7 Lakes’ two grants were for $112,550 for the Long Pond watershed and $111,884 for the Messalonskee watershed. (A watershed is the geographic area that drains into a specific waterbody.)
7 Lakes has been awarded more than $1 million in Clean Water Act grants since 2009, including $308,650 last year to address erosion around North Pond, Great Pond and McGrath Pond-Salmon Lake. Those funds have been used to improve seven miles of gravel roads and driveways, along with other infrastructure.
7 Lakes’ erosion-control programs also include LakeSmart and the Youth Conservation Corps, which help landowners identify and remedy erosion issues at lakefront homes and camps. All erosion-control efforts occur in collaboration with towns, property owners, Maine DEP and lake associations, including the Belgrade Lakes Association (the association for Long and Great ponds) and the Friends of Messalonskee with this most recent award. The partners participate in crafting watershed-based management plans that are a prerequisite for applying for Clean Water Act grants.
“These grant awards underscore two important points,” said Laura Rose Day, President and CEO of 7 Lakes Alliance. “One, 7 Lakes Alliance’s erosion control efforts are effective. If not, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection would not have awarded us multiple grants over the past two years. Two, the water quality threats our lakes and streams face are substantial. That’s another reason we have been successful in our grant applications. While these funds are significant, they alone won’t resolve the environmental issues confronting the lakes. We need everyone’s participation. That’s why we’re grateful to have the collaboration of our partners.”
Funding for this project, in part, was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The funding is administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with the EPA. EPA does not endorse any commercial products or services.