LakeSmart Program Director to Present to MEREDA

maggie_shannon_2015-10-08Maine lakes offer some of the most beautiful living and recreational spaces in the state. It’s no secret that waterfront property is highly valued, and the increasing cost of lakefront properties reflects our cultural attraction to water and the scenic beauty, solace, and recreational opportunities that our lakes provide. How lakeshore landowners manage their land directly influences the health of their lake and wellbeing of the surrounding community. Beyond the intrinsic value of keeping lake waters healthy and clean, there are also significant economic benefits such as high and stable property value and lakeshore property tax revenues that add to municipal tax bases, lakes as a drinking water source, and the healthy aquatic habitat that lakes provide for the fish and wildlife we enjoy watching, fishing or hunting.

Maine realtors and developers, with  a vested interest in the value of lakeshore properties and attractiveness of lake communities, understand these goods are increasingly linked to water quality. The LakeSmart Program, now in its third year under Maine Lakes Society management, is a tool that protects the lake, community health, and property values, too.  LakeSmart Program Director Maggie Shannon will be speaking at the Maine Real Estate and Development Association (MEREDA) breakfast on December 10, in Portland, to share information on the many benefits of landscaping that protects our lake waters from stormwater runoff that may carry pollutants and excess nutrients into the lake, and how the LakeSmart program is transforming the way lakefront properties are perceived and cared for.

For more information and to register, visit the MEREDA website!

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45th Annual Maine Lakes Conference Informs and Inspires

Thank you to all who participated in our 45th Annual Maine Lakes Conference and Celebration on August 22nd! Our keynote presenter, Lisa Borre of The Clary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, led a great lineup of speakers with her informative presentation focused on climate change impacts on lakes and community action to identify and address multiple sources of threats to lake health. Borre provided a global context but brought it home with examples from Maine and elsewhere in New England, reminding the audience that some of the most important work to alleviate negative impacts of climate change begins at the local community level. Summaries of speaker presentations can be found here. Check back soon for links to presentations, more photos, and additional resources offered by presenters.


Keynote presentation by Lisa Borre on Conserving Lakes in a Time of Global Change. Photo by Ryan Burton.

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The Myth of Environmental Protection

by Tom Gordon

In 1970, there was no DEP, no shoreland zoning, and the Great Ponds Act was generally ignored as people dumped sand in their lakes to create beaches that could not last. Municipal sewage and industrial wastes were pouring into our rivers, streams, and lakes.

Times have changed! For 45 years, as COLA and now the Maine Lakes Society, we have advocated for strong but sensible regulations to protect the water quality and beauty of our lakes. Lakeshore property owners have accepted more stringent land use regulations because we know our lakes are fragile and our land use activities can impact the future of the waters we love. We accept regulation “for the sake of our lakes.” Continue reading

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Lakes Face Unprecedented Challenges

Maine’s freshwater lakes are under serious threat. A 2012 University of Maine study shows the clarity of many Maine lakes has declined as much as 20% since 1995. New evidence from Europe shows climate change is accelerating declines in water quality there.

If we do nothing, Maine’s lakes, long a precious asset to residents and those who visit Maine to enjoy them, could become not only a vanished treasure, but a costly liability. But we can do something to avert lake declines. LakeSmart is Maine Lakes’ answer to the freshwater challenge.

But we can do something! To learn more about Lake Smart, click here.  To support LakeSmart with your dollars by donating to the Maine Lakes Society, click here.

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Stephanie’s Sense of Place

Like many of us, Stephanie and Jim Turner realized a cherished dream the day they bought a lakeside place in Maineand named it “Our Song.”  Childhood summers spent with her grandparents near a small Maine pond left Stephanie with tantalizing memories of walking with them to the lake, catching glimpses of the beckoning water through the trees ahead, listening to birdsongs her grandmother repeated as they made their way along a dusty road and ecstatically reached the shore at last. Continue reading

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Climate Warming and Lake Eutrophication

LISA BORRE is a lake conservationist and writer who contributes the National Geographic‘s “Water Currents” blog. By permission we quote from work of hers that appeared in that blog: Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe and Warming Lakes: Barometers of Climate Change?

Global assessment shows 95% of lakes are warming

In 2010, National Geographic News reported on the results of the first comprehensive global study of lake temperature trends. The study — conducted by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California using satellite data — found that in the last 25 years, the world’s largest lakes have been steadily warming, some by as much as 4°F (2.2°C). In some cases, the trend is twice as fast as the air temperature trend over the same period. Continue reading

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Maggie Shannon of Maine Lakes Society Testifies in favor of LD 1040: An Act to Enhance Funding Opportunities for Youth Conservation Corps

Good afternoon, Senator Saviello, Representative Welsh, and Distinguished Members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  Continue reading

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Maggie Shannon for Maine Lakes Society testifies in favor of LD 839: An Act to Increase Conservation District Funding

Testimony of Maggie Shannon for Maine Lakes Society in favor of LD 839:  An Act to Increase Conservation District Funding

Good afternoon, Senator Edgecomb, Representative Hickman, and Distinguished Members of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee.  My name is Maggie Shannon; I live in Rome, and I am the Executive Director of the Maine Lakes Society and Coordinator of the LakeSmart Homeowner and Education Program.  Continue reading

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Maine Lakes could really use your help next Wednesday to pass this bill. Your grandchildren will thank you for it.

LD 40 Bans Fertilizer Next to Lakes

Mary Kretchmer, 8, along with her Dad, did an experiment with some water from the lake they monitor in New Hampshire. They added 1 teaspoon of 36/6/6/ fertilizer to one jar of Lake Wentworth water, none to another, put the 2 jars on a windowsill, stirred daily, and waited four weeks to see what would happen.

The two jars show Mary Kretchmer’s results.pond water experimentalger bloom in lake

The same thing could happen to waters here in Maine if we don’t take care of them.

Naturally forested lake shorelands have kept Maine’s lake water quality high until recent years.  Today’s population pressures, accelerated by longer growing seasons and intense, more frequent rain events, threaten to affect our pristine waters in the ways shown at left.  A recent satellite study of Maine lakes bore this out when it showed that many Maine lakes lost as much as 20% of their clarity between 1990 and 1995.

Unless we work together to shield our lakes from pollutants, water quality will decline. Continue reading

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Business Alliance for Healthy Maine Lakes

Healthy lakes are critical to sustaining the economic health, cultural values, and environment of communities statewide. Half of the State of Maine is in a lake watershed. Generating more than $3.5 billion annually in economic activity, our lakes provide over 52,000 jobs and supply drinking water to half of our residents. Over a decade of data shows lake health declining in Maine, largely due to lakeshore development practices, compromising our future prosperity and quality of life.  In lake communities, the lakes are the economic engine that can sustain an active local economy.

The Business Alliance for Healthy Maine Lakes engages local businesses, and corporations with Maine-based offices, in support of our work with lake associations, individuals, and our conservation partners to protect water quality and the vibrancy of lake communities now and long into the future. Our Charter Members will work with us to shape the Business Alliance with mutual benefits in mind – we seek to strengthen connections between businesses and lake associations and their members, and all who benefit from our lake resources. Investment in our lakes is a sound investment in prosperity for companies reliant on Maine’s natural resources and the estimated 650,000 residents and visitors who enjoy our lakes each year.

The Business Alliance may mean different things to different businesses. As you support our work to protect Maine lakes, we want to enhance your connection to lake communities. This may be in the form of collaborative marketing, social networking events, or matching volunteers with good work on the ground to protect a particular lake. We will build this Alliance together with the goal of improving and maintaining the health of our lakes. We have a lot of challenges ahead as the pressures on our waterways increase; growing a network of cooperation that supports business, builds and sustains our lake associations, and bolsters our collective capacity to keep Maine lakes healthy, will garner dividends for all lake stakeholders.

For more information, please contact Cheryl Daigle by phone at 207-817-3360 or by email at


The Maine Lakes Society engages lake users and stakeholders in lakes education and sound stewardship practices, with the realization 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.
  • Lakes Alive! experiential youth and adult education program with our 30-foot floating classroom, the Melinda Ann.
  • Our Annual Maine Lakes Conference offers excellent lake learning and networking sessions to empower the lake stewards of today and tomorrow.
  • Developing partnerships with  academic institutions and watershed  managers  on lakes research and communications.

Contact us to learn more about these programs and how you and your business can get involved today!

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Featured Artist: Lucia Wasileski Swallow

Porter Lake Bog_oil 006_Lucia_Swallow_lowLucia Swallow, artist and active member of the Porter Lake Association, helped to coordinate the Maine Lakes Art Show & Sale featured at the 45th Annual Maine Lakes Conference and Celebration on August 22 and during the month of October at the Maine Lakes Resource Center in Belgrade. She generously donated a wrapped canvas print of her painting Porter Lake Bog, which was raffled off as a special door prize at the conference (image left).

A Painter’s Poem: by Lucia Wasileski Swallow

“In my sunflower garden”

I witness the simplicity and harmony in nature,

feel a joyful beauty in my heart,

see rich colors, bold shapes, unique forms, contrasts of bright sunlight and deep shadows,

desire to capture these feelings of happiness and freedom with my palate of paint, and

create as my brush moves oils around on a surface. Sunflowers emerge, individual and as a group, surrounded by vibrant colors.

I am immersed, in a trance of creativity.

My heart dances and sings “tis a gift to be simple……”

I savor the process, the journey, the creation.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller


4gen_Lila_crop (1) (2)Artist Statement: My passion is to capture the beauty of the four seasons in Maine and New England via landscapes. For me, it doesn’t get any better than being outdoors and really connecting with the beauty around me: the lakes, mountains, rivers, fields, wildflowers, gardens, and charming old buildings with a past. Vivid colors, textures, shapes and space as well as reflections, lighting, and shadows unique to the time of day and to each season speak to me. My persistent desire to continue with art in one medium or another has given rise to a variety of intimate studies and series.

Education highlights: Art mediums: oil, pastel, water-color, charcoal.  I have spent over forty years studying art, primarily through courses at the University of Maine at Farmington, UMF, where I worked for over twenty-five years. In addition, I have taken a variety of classes & workshops, summer programs, and been involved with statewide juried art shows, artist retreats and plein air painting. Member of Up Country Artist Association and Gallery/Learning Center in Farmington, Maine. Formal Education: B.S. in Elementary Education, and M.ED. / Counseling Career: Guidance Counselor, Licensed Clinical Counselor (LCPC), and Director of Service-Learning.

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