NOTE: The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has released its annual report on how grants it administers under the Clean Water Act were used. The report for 2021 covers grants awarded to 7 Lakes Alliance for erosion control around McGrath Pond, Salmon Lake and North Pond. Below are excerpts from the report concerning $118,758 in grant spending on North Pond. Those funds were matched by $144,011 from private landowners, lake and road associations, municipal governments, and commercial businesses, thereby doubling the impact of the grants.
Water-quality data has been collected on North Pond since 1970. Based on this historic data, the potential for nuisance algal blooms and internal loading (of phosphorus in the lake’s sediment) is moderate. However, total phosphorus has been increasing slightly over the past 10 years, and the lake experienced cyanobacteria blooms in 2018-22. Agricultural land use was historically a significant contributor to nutrient loading. Currently, land uses associated with residential, roads and commercial development are the greater threat to the pond.
Locally funded watershed surveys in 2014 and 2016 identified 158 nonpoint source (NPS) pollution sites in the watershed. A prior grant resulted in erosion-control best management practices (BMPs) being installed on five high-priority roads and at Pine Tree Camp. Additional BMPs were installed by 7 Lakes Alliance’s Youth Conservation Corps on another 28 sites.
The 2021 grant aimed to significantly reduce the pollutant load to North Pond by addressing soil erosion and stormwater runoff to the lake. This was accomplished through targeted implementation of BMPs at high-priority NPS sites identified in the 2016 watershed survey.
The grant also increased awareness about the need for lake protection by utilizing targeted outreach strategies such as direct landowner contact, annual buffer workshops, meetings with watershed partners and newsletter articles.
Grant outcomes included:
BMPs installed at six high-priority sites on town and private roads, as well as at Pine Tree Camp.
7 Lakes’ Youth Conservation Corps installed BMPs on another 14 residential properties.
BMP installations exceeded project targets, with 52 BMPs installed versus 30 that were planned.
One road maintenance workshop, two “Buff Enough” workshops, two annual meeting presentations and two algae bloom meetings were conducted.
Local match for the project totaled $144,011, far exceeding the project goal of $112,505
7 Lakes’ partners in the efforts included the Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District, the North Pond Association, Pine Tree Camp, and the town governments in Smithfield, Mercer and Rome.