About the Maine Lakes Society

The Maine Lakes Society engages lake users and stakeholders in lakes education and sound stewardship practices, with the recognition that healthy lakes provide a basis for economic prosperity and cultural activity that is intimately tied to the environment. Our work with lake associations and other lake conservation organizations over the past 40 years has played a key role in protecting the health of hundreds of Maine lakes to date, and provides annual networking and learning opportunities connecting our professional peers with others interested in lake conservation statewide.

Support the work of Maine Lakes Society to keep our lakes healthy! We offer an exciting array of lake-focused programs with a broad reach to lake users and lakeshore landowners across the state:

  • Council of Lake Associations – 144 Lake Association members and growing.
  • LakeSmart – our non-regulatory, voluntary program to teach landscaping practices that protect lakes from stormwater runoff and prevent unwanted algal blooms. View our LakeSmart video here!
  • Lakes Alive! – we engage the hearts and minds of youth and adults through our experiential education program with the Melinda Ann, our 30-foot floating classroom.
  • Our Annual Maine Lakes Conference offers excellent lake learning and networking sessions to empower the lake stewards of today and tomorrow.
  • As a voice for Maine’s lakes in Augusta, we are a potent advocate for lake-protective legislation based on economic and scientific data.  To ensure that the voices of lake lovers are heard, we galvanize our membership and help them develop compelling science-based testimony.
  • Developing partnerships with  academic institutions and watershed  managers  on lakes research and communications.

Founded in 1970 as the Congress of Lake Associations (COLA), we merged with the former Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute (MLCI) in 2012 and changed our name to better reflect our broader mission. The only statewide membership organization devoted solely to lakes, we work to strengthen the resilience of lake ecosystems in the face of climate change, poor land management, and inadequately enforced regulations. Our ambitious vision acknowledges the interest of ALL Maine citizens and the estimated 650,000 people who enjoy or use Maine’s lakes each year.

Read more about Our Mission, Vision, and Core Values.

Maine Lakes: A Treasured Resource at Risk

Maine lakes are a treasured resource for people of all ages. More than 650,000 Maine residents and countless visitors rely on our freshwater lakes for drinking water, recreation, economic opportunities, and/or spiritual sustenance. Many of the fish and wildlife species that we rely on for food or recreation or simply the pleasure of viewing and sharing our lakes with depend on lake and connected freshwater habitat to survive. Generating more than $3.5 billion annually in economic activity, Maine lakes provide over 52,000 jobs. Healthy lakes are critical to sustaining the environment, cultural opportunities and values, and economic health of communities statewide. Yet, this resource of inestimable value for us is endangered by our own actions.

Over a decade of data shows lake health declining in Maine, largely due to lakeshore development practices. Our past and present actions are compromising our own future and quality of life and that of our children. Changing land use practices to protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and the community benefits that lakes—a public resource—provide us, is vital.  Good relationships imbued by a learning exchange on lake health are key to protecting our freshwater resources, and the work of the Maine Lakes Society relies on relationship and community building to inform and inspire people to effect lasting change. Join the conversation, and become part of the Maine Lakes community today!