A two-year project is underway to protect water quality in Messalonskee Lake by reducing erosion that sweeps sediment and phosphorus into the lake. The project is funded in part by a $111,884 Clean Water Act grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
7 Lakes Alliance, an accredited land trust and lake conservation organization based in Belgrade, is leading the project in partnership with the Friends of Messalonskee and the towns of Belgrade, Mount Vernon, Oakland and Sidney. Ecological Instincts, an environmental consulting and ecological design firm, is serving as the project coordinator.
The grant’s on-the-ground impact will be doubled by leveraging additional funding from property owners, road and lake associations, municipalities and commercial businesses through cost-share grants. The aim is to mitigate stormwater runoff and erosion on 18 roads and driveways across the watershed. Eroded soil carries phosphorus into lakes and streams. Phosphorus is a key nutrient on which algae feeds. Too much phosphorus in a waterbody risks an algal bloom.
In addition to the roadwork, 7 Lakes’ Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program will install erosion-control measures at 12 residences on the shoreline of Messalonskee Lake. The YCC provides labor at a discounted rate and materials at cost for homeowners who are ready to make lake-friendly improvements on their properties. Cost-share grants and assistance from the YCC are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested landowners can contact Stuart Cole, 7 Lakes erosion control project coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (207) 495-6039.
Friends of Messalonskee will host two public workshops this year. One will be hands-on workshop on how to install natural vegetative buffers on shorelines to slow and filter stormwater runoff; the other will offer solutions to improving gravel roads. The buffer workshop will be 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday, June 20, with a rain date of June 21 at Lakeview Cemetery, 33 Belgrade Ave. in Oakland.
Friends of Messalonskee also provides free LakeSmart evaluations for shorefront property owners. LakeSmart is a voluntary program that helps owners of lakefront camps and homes identify how they can minimize runoff and erosion from their property. To schedule a LakeSmart visit or to register for the workshops, contact Friends of Messalonskee at email@example.com or at (207) 618-8723.