Water Level Bill Raises Concerns

Water level issues on Maine’s great ponds raise major concerns for a long list of stakeholders. These include lake shorefront property owners and lake associations, state agencies, organizations and individuals concerned with maintaining navigable waterways and habitat for fishes, birds and other wildlife in and on surface and coastal waters, anglers, hunters and other recreationists,municipalities dependent upon lakefront property tax revenues to provide needed services, the Departments of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Resources, and Environmental Protection which is charged with maintaining water quality standards and the designated uses of great ponds existing as of 1978 under the anti-degradation clause of the Clean Water Act, as well as all Maine citizens – to whom these waters belong.

LD 1566, An Act Concerning the Establishment of Water Levels, seeks to change Maine’s existing water level law by requiring 3rd party mediation before the Maine Department of Environmental Protection MEDEP) holds the required adjudicatory hearing to settle such water level disputes.  LD 1566 also introduces a new and substantial cost for such a hearing of up to $20,000.

Read MLS Board President Peter Kallin’s testimony: LD 1566 – Water Levels 02-10-16 Testimony

We oppose LD 1566 because the high cost of mediation and newly monetized adjudicatory process effectively cancel the right of citizens to petition the state for redress of environmental harm. The current, entirely satisfactory, law assures the constitutional right of citizens to equal protection under the law because it requires MEDEP Commissioner  to hold adjudicatory hearings when petitioners seek redress of environmental harm, and it should not be altered to lessen those rights. LD 1566 effectively removes those rights by imposing such a high cost barrier as to nullify citizens’ ability to exercise them.  This will negatively impact the voluntary grassroots lake associations dedicated to protecting lake water quality, wildlife habitat, and the social, economic and recreational benefits of Maine’s great ponds.

LD 1566 will be heard by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on February 10 in Room 216 of the Cross Office Building, Augusta.  If water levels concern you, if you don’t want the water level law changed, if you wish to protect citizens’ rights to petition the state for redress of environmental harm, please write to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee via the Clerk of the Committee or testify in person.  You can also follow the hearing live on Wednesday Morning.

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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.

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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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KEEP FERTILIZER OUT OF OUR LAKES!

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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Alewives: A Wildlife Workshop

alewives

Photo Credit: International Joint Commission (Bill Curtsinger)

WILDLIFE WORKSHOPS, Afternoon Track B

Alewives: The Once and Future River Herring: The story of alewives is rich in history since these fish were an important spring staple for Native Americans and European settlers, captured as the fish returned from the ocean to their natal rivers and lakes to spawn. Alewives were not just coastal species, but also penetrated deep into the interior of Maine to their spawning and rearing lakes. Today their travels are blocked by numerous dams, many of which are relicts from Maine’s lumbering and industrial past. Climate change is producing conditions more challenging for river herring as timing of spring and summer rains shift and snowfall decreases. Come learn about the alewife’s ecological role in lake and river ecosystems, the modern challenges they face, and how their restoration may improve the water quality of inland lakes.

View the full conference program online

Register before May 15th for the Early-Bird Discount!

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Volunteers Power LakeSmart Success

Dave and Sue Gay, active volunteers with the Belgrade Lakes Association LakeSmart Program, 2016.

Dave and Sue Gay, active volunteers with the Belgrade Lakes Association LakeSmart Program, 2016.

Dave and Sue Gay are summer residents on Long Pond in central Maine.  As trained LakeSmart volunteers, the Gays help the Belgrade Lakes Association (BLA) protect the lakes by showing neighbors and friends how to prevent pollution with LakeSmart.  Despite their relaxed pose in the accompanying photo; these active volunteers are largely responsible for BLA’s outstanding LakeSmart success.  To date, the association has taken expert knowledge and provided personalized recommendations for lake protection to 495 shorefront residents and distributed 177 LakeSmart Awards and 298 Commendations, an achievement unmatched in Maine.

If you ask the Gays why they donate their time they’ll tell you that a LakeSmart visit from volunteer Michael Bernstein opened their eyes to what was happening on their property.  “We were looking, but we didn’t see,” Dave says; “We didn’t know what we didn’t know.”  Sue chimes in, “That visit touched us.  We obviously wanted to preserve the lake for our family and our future, but we also realized that LakeSmart was something that would make a difference, something with meaning and purpose.”

Beyond having a deep connection to the woods and water, both Sue and Dave like to meet new people and make connections.  Sue’s advice, “Get involved.  Don’t be afraid.  It’s simple.  It’s easy.  You can do it.”

A longer article about David and Susan Gay’s contributions to protecting the health of Belgrade region lakes will appear in the next Belgrade Lake Association newsletter.

Information about LakeSmart is available at wwwmainelakessociety.org  For hosting information, call Maggie Shannon at 207-495-2301.  Introductory video: http://mainelakessociety.org/lakesmart-2/lakesmart-video-2/

 

 

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Fall 2016: Letter from the President, Peter Kallin

mlrc-visit-mt-vernon-may-18-2016-005Published in the Fall 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends of Maine Lakes,

The French have an expression, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” or “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Our organization continues to change and grow as we build new programs like LakeSmart, expand old programs like Lakes Alive!, and go through a strategic planning process to figure out how to better position ourselves for the future. One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that for 46 years, the Maine Lakes Society (née Maine Congress of Lake Associations, now united with Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute) has been taking proactive steps to protect Maine Lakes through science-based education, advocacy, and action. I know those who attended our 46th annual conference at Unity this summer learned something and hopefully came away inspired to take proactive action to better protect the lakes we love. I hope this newsletter will help inspire others who were unable to attend.

Our speakers presented ongoing research on the effects of human-induced climate change in our lakes; e.g., earlier ice out, later ice in, longer growing seasons for aquatic plants, earlier and stronger thermal stratification, changes in precipitation patterns, etc. In many cases, these changes are exacerbating issues such as growing anoxia (lack of oxygen) in the bottom waters of many lakes (see map to left) and increasing frequency of harmful algae blooms (HABs) (see summary of Linda Bacon’s presentation). Maine Lakes Society will continue to work with lake and climate researchers to fine tune our programs in ways that promote resilience for our lakes and improve our understanding of how they will change. Proactive programs like LakeSmart (including LoonSmart and StreamSmart) and Maine’s Shoreland Zoning regulations can help build resilience for our lakes by protecting biodiversity, enhancing shoreline habitat, and strengthening other key elements of Mother Nature’s natural lake protection systems.

Another thing that doesn’t change is the basic truth expressed by the great philosopher, The Lorax, in Dr. Seuss’ book of the same name: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” So what can you do to help? Become an active member of your association and help keep it viable. Contact us for ideas. Make sure your lake has a Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP) certified monitor for water quality and invasive plants. Volunteer for your Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program if you have a public boat launch on your lake. Don’t have a CBI program? Think about starting one. If your association is not already participating in LakeSmart, contact Maggie Shannon to find out how to get involved. Join Maine Lakes Society as an individual “Friend of Maine Lakes.” Recruit others to join. We need your help. The more members we have, the more effective our advocacy can be. Contact your legislator if we issue a “Legislative Alert.” Help protect a lake you love and all its Maine sister lakes. Don’t have time for any of the above? Go to our web site (www.mainelakessociety.org) and click the “Donate Now” button or just send us a check. That will allow us to continue to work on your behalf.

Best regards,

Peter Kallin

President, Board of Directors

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Maine Lakes Society 5th Annual Lake Lovers Raffle

Drawing on June 25, 2016 at the Maine Lakes Conference

Ticket Price: one for $5 three for $10 seven for $20 twenty for $50 and forty for $100

Raffle proceeds support our lake education and stewardship programs!  

Please contact us at 207-495-2301 or info@mainelakessociety.org to purchase tickets. You do not need to be present to win!

2016 RAFFLE ITEMS

L.L. Bean Kayak Package and PFD –
Donated by L.L. Bean – Approximate value: $900

Discovery Tour of Your Home Lake Aboard Maine Lakes Society’s Floating Classroom Including a Custom Cookout for 8-  Captain Phil and the Melinda Ann will carry you and your passengers on a voyage of discovery using state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to explore the hidden depths of your own home lake. A cookout lunch will be provided by the Captain and Crew. Capacity 12 adults. Value: $500

6 passes to the Boston Museum of Science– Enjoy a day of discovery and scientific exploration with family and friends to Boston’s Museum of Science!  www.mos.org  Value: $120+

Electric Trolling Motor – Minn Kota  Endura C2 30  – The Endura C2 is the legendary performer that’s built to explore, built to last and backed up with a two-year warranty.  It’s the ultimate coming together of form and function, in a package that puts you on the water day after day, year after year. Donated by MLS Board member Roy Lambert.   Value: $120

Certificate to Calzolaios Pasta Company, 284 Main St.,Wilton, Maine– Enjoy a scrumptious evening out at this Award Winning Italian Restaurant! www.calzolaiopasta.com  Value: $50

Grandpa Pete’s Homebrew Sampler– Two 6-packs of Unique Boutique Beer and Ale– This special surprise package could include Oligotrophic Lake Lager, Broken Knee Stout, McGaffey Mountain Dopplebock, Black Swamp Ale, and other tasty brews from Rome’s favorite brewmeister. Value: Priceless

2 Adult Tickets for a 3-hour Katahdin Cruise on Moosehead Lake– Offered by the Moosehead Marine Museum in Greenville, Maine. www.katahdincruises.com
Value: $76

Inscribed Paddle donated by Shaw & Tenney– Since 1858, Shaw & Tenney (of Orono ME), has quietly made a name for itself as the leading maker of wooden oars, paddles, spars and boat hooks in the country. www.shawandtenney.com Value: $25

Half Gallon of Positively Fabulous Homemade Maine Maple Syrup– Delicious, old fashioned, small scale , ‘batch style’ syrup made in Mt. Vernon by Ryan Burton.  Value: Priceless

Framed Photo – ‘Water Meets Sky on Farrington Pond’ by Cheryl Daigle  Value: $120

One Night Accommodations for Two at the Wilson Lake Inn– Includes scenic boat ride and continental breakfast for two! www.wilsonlakeinn.com   Value: $125+

Onset Water Temperature Pro v2 Data Logger with Optic USB Base Station (required for data download) and HOBOware Software – Complete with a precision sensor for ±0.2°C accuracy, this logger measures temperatures between -40°C and 70°C (-40°F to 158°F) in air and up to 50°C (122°F) in fresh or salt water. The Universal Optic USB Base Station is used to offload data from any HOBO® data logger with an Optic USB interface.   www.onsetcomp.com/products/data-loggers/u22-001  Value: $253

Handmade Quilted American Loon Wall Hanging – Handmade by Diane Jones. A beautiful addition to your home or camp! Value: $100+

Complete Home Energy Audit from The Breathable Home – Want to learn how much energy your home uses and wastes and know how to save money on home heating and cooling bills?  The Breathable Home’s expert technicians will perform this service for you when and where you say. www.thebreathablehome.com  Value: $399

Collection of Field Identification Books- Do you often find yourself wondering what that plant or animal is when you are out hiking with your family? These books will get you outside learning about the diverse and exciting flora and fauna of our beautiful state! Books include wildflowers, birds, amphibians/reptiles, mammals and more! Donated by Ecological Instincts  Value: $100

Maine Wilderness Tours- ½ Day guided fishing trip on one of the Belgrade Lakes-  Guide Mike Guarino specializes in the Belgrade Lakes and Kennebec River. www.mainewildernesstours.com Value: $200

Six Jars of Maine Wild Honey- Provided and produced by Maine Lakes Board Member and former COLA President Matt Scott   Value: Priceless

Fin and Feather Seekers Guide Service – ½ day (fishing or waterfowl) trip with Master Guide Bill Laflamme.  Fin & Feather Seekers Guide Service specializes in all types of lake and pond fishing as well as inland waterfowl and upland bird hunting. www.finandfeatherseekers.com  Value: $200

Lake Investigation Kit – Take a closer look into the waters of your favorite lake or pond and have fun while learning more about lakes and some of the aquatic life that depends on them. Donated by Maggie Shannon Value: $200

Big Basket of Maine Books– What’s better than a good read while relaxing lakeside? You will find a treasure-trove of stories and Maine history in this collection which includes an autographed copy of George Smith’s latest book written about Maine’s Sporting Camps.  Approximate value: $120

Patagonia ‘Better Sweater’ (two sweaters – drawn separately) Warm polyester fleece meets your favorite sweater in this easy-wearing full length jacket.  One men’s size L & one woman’s size M www.patagonia.com Value: $139 Each

Thermacell Heated Insoles (six pairs, size varies, drawn separately)
Keep your feet cozy this winter with the latest in foot warming technology! 2,500 hours of warmth will take you through about four winters. Rechargeable, high-tech wireless thermal technology – can be operated by remote control while the foot warmer is in your shoes! Value: $134 per pair http://heat.thermacell.com/heated-insoles-foot-warmers

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