Good afternoon, Senator Saviello, Representative Welsh, and Distinguished Members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. My name is Maggie Shannon, and I am the Executive Director of the Maine Lakes Society and Coordinator for the LakeSmart Homeowner and Education Program. Founded in 1970 as the Congress of Lake Associations, the Maine Lakes Society is the only statewide membership organization dedicated to preserving the values and benefits of Maine lakes. Today, we represent well over 15,000 individuals committed to lake conservation.
LD 1040 is worth your unanimous support. It entails a small investment which will bring a hefty return (ROI), in active mitigation of pollution to Maine lakes, in valuable employment and work experience for Maine youngsters, in instilling conservation values in the upcoming generation of Maine citizens, in educating homeowners about wise land use, in helping to protect the property tax revenues that finance vital services in municipal jurisdictions dependent on lakes, and in terms of a 2 to 1 dollar return.
It’s only recently that we as a society have understood how vulnerable our lakes are to the effects of faulty land use in their watersheds. Maine lakes respond to tiny amounts of phosphorus – the leading cause of algae growth which is principally deposited in lakes by stormwater runoff. 15 parts per billion of Phosphorus in the water column is all it takes to tip a lake into a condition wherein continual algal blooms spoil recreation, kill fish, lower property values and harm local businesses. Today’s more frequent, more violent rain events make controlling erosion and sedimentation around lakes urgent today. The Corps do this, with so much value added besides.
We at the Maine Lakes Society run the LakeSmart Program, which educates and rewards lake watershed residents who use lake friendly management techniques at their home sites. Where YCC’s and LakeSmart co-exist in a community, they form a powerful synergy. LakeSmart introduces the principles and practices of good lake stewardship, in effect recruiting candidates for the mitigation projects YCC’s can supply. With mutually reinforcing teamwork, a tipping point of best management practices occurs instead of a lake tipping point from clear to cloudy.
We urge you to support LD 1040 unanimously, for our lakes, for our youth, for our lake dependent towns, and because it is an excellent investment. Thank you for this opportunity,