VOLUME 7  |  FALL 2018

Working Together to Combat
Summer Algal Blooms

7 Lakes Alliance and East Pond Association teamed up to complete a $1.1 million alum treatment on East Pond. While new to the Belgrade Lakes, alum treatments on other Maine lakes successfully prevented phosphorus that collects in lake-bottom sediments from causing summer algal blooms. In June, both groups, working closely with Colby College, completed the first phase of a two part alum treatment on East Pond. In early October, the team completed the second phase of the treatment to ensure that the treatment will be effective for as long as possible. Alum treatments on East Pond combined with prevention of phosphorous-causing inputs to the lake, could prevent algal blooms for 15-20 years.

 

Alum applications, targeted and carefully formulated, cause aluminum to bind with phosphorus in sediments deposited on the lake bottom over decades to prevent it from leaching into the lake. There were no algal blooms on East Pond in the summer of 2018 – an encouraging early sign! However, scientists must monitor and analyze many complex factors to fully understand the treatment’s effects to make informed decisions on other lakes. In the meantime, if conditions cause a release of phosphorous from East Pond sediments, experts expect the alum will sequester the phosphorus and prevent algal blooms.

 

“Happy so far! Our daughter is enjoying swimming in the pond in August for the first time in about 20 years!”  
Randie Martin - East Pond Resident

 

One thing is certain -- it is critical that we do everything possible to prevent the introduction of new phosphorus to East Pond and other lakes. Prevention through erosion control efforts on roads and driveways, updating and maintaining waste water systems to prevent seepage, and installing lakeshore buffers will help prevent future algal issues. Together as a community, if we limit phosphorus entering the lake, we could prevent the need for expensive alum treatments throughout the watershed in the future.

New and Improved
Recreational Opportunities
in the Kennebec Highlands

7 Lakes Alliance has added several new trails to expand and enhance outdoor sport and recreation activities across our conservation properties. New trails include a new loop trail to The Mountain (outer loop), a new mountain bike and hiking trail up McGaffey Mountain (A Trail), a new beginner mountain bike trail on the Dolley Property, and a new hiking, mountain bike, and Nordic ski trail at Fogg Island. Additionally, 7 Lakes Alliance is examining new and improved ways to collaborate with the Belgrade, Rome, and Smithfield snowmobile clubs on trails across 7 Lakes Alliance properties. For trail maps and more information, visit 7 Lakes Alliance at the Maine Lakes Resource Center in Belgrade Lakes or at click here.

Stop Milfoil: Favorable Conditions Fuel Spread of Variable Milfoil

Belgrade Lakes Association has been collaborating with 7 Lakes Alliance since 2010 to STOP MILFOIL, with BLA raising much of the funding and spearheading  communications and 7 Lakes Alliance doing the field work, including removal and identification of new outbreaks. Many people thought the battle was won, but unfortunately the threat is very much alive today. In 2016,  we removed 3,500 gallons of milfoil from Great Pond and Great Meadow Stream. This year, 16,808 gallons of milfoil were removed. What happened? The best thinking is that abundant sunshine and very low water levels gave the plants a good head start, and they took off. To help, you can: Learn what milfoil looks like, Inspect your boat and all aquatic equipment for milfoil every time you leave the water, Sign-Up to become an Adopt-A-Shoreline Volunteer, and Give generously to the STOP MILFOIL campaign. To learn more about invasive plant prevention on Great and Long Ponds and the Belgrade Lakes Association, visit: www.belgradelakesassociation.org

 

Lynn Matson, Former President, Belgrade Lakes Association

Lake Associations and 7 Lakes Alliance Team Up to Control Erosion

In 2016 North Pond was named a Nonpoint Source Priority Watershed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP). With the help of 7 Lakes Alliance, North Pond Association developed a Watershed Based Protection Plan and was awarded $80,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with USEPA. Phase 1, starting in early summer 2018 and managed by 7 Lakes Alliance, consists of erosion control on Lake View Drive (photo above) and North Shore Drive in Smithfield. Erosion control and buffer planting will also take place at various sites on the shoreline at Pine Tree Camp in Rome. To learn more about erosion control projects around North Pond and the North Pond Association, visit: www.northpond.net

 

Jodie Mosher Towle, President, North Pond Association

Alum (aluminum sulfate) carefully applied in East Pond by SOLitude barge

Alum falls to the lake bottom where it binds with phosphorus-rich sediment, preventing it from
feeding summer algae.

Students & staff from Colby College monitor alum distribution and pH levels to ensure that the correct dose of alum is administered. Students documented the alum contractor kept pH at between 6.5 and 7.5 to prevent harm to fish & other aquatic life.

7 Lakes Alliance Announces
New Trail Development

Summer 2018 was a busy one for the 7 Lakes Alliance  Stewardship Committee. Volunteers completed a ridge trail across McGaffey Mountain, connecting the A-trail to the Roundtop Spur trail at the summit, creating a roughly 10- mile loop trail. This is all part of a larger vision to connect The Mountain to Mount Phillip, and Mount Phillip to the Kennebec Highlands, as well as to develop a canoe/kayak trail from East Pond to Messalonskee Lake, with multiple stops along the way. New trail development and stewardship volunteers are always welcome!

Research and Collaboration: Changing the Future of
Algal Blooms on East Pond

East Pond Association has looked to 7 Lakes Alliance and Colby College to help end algal blooms for more than 30 years. Our efforts began 20 years ago with widespread
erosion control projects on both public and private lands, made possible through funding secured by 7 Lakes Alliance, that significantly reduced the amount of new phosphorus being introduced to East Pond. Funding has been provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the Maine Department of Environmental  Protection in partnership with EPA. Colby College and Maine DEP water quality monitoring and research discovered that, while the erosion control efforts we made were keeping new phosphorus from entering East Pond, summer algal blooms were being caused by phosphorus accumulated over decades in East Pond’s sediment. The East Pond Restoration Project raised over $1 million for alum treatments. 7 Lakes Alliance has provided fundraising support, helping us secure $232,000 from US EPA-Maine DEP and $200,000 from the Harold Alfond Foundation, and is the manager, permit holder and fiscal agent for the project. Alum was applied to East Pond in June 2018 and early October (see cover article). We look forward to continuing collaboration with 7 Lakes Alliance and Colby College to extend and protect the investment in the Alum treatment and learn from the first summer in 25 years without algal blooms on East Pond! To learn more about alum treatments on East Pond and the East Pond Association, visit: www.eastpond.org


Rob Jones, President, East Pond Association

Mapping Sources of Phosphorus and Mitigating Nutrient Rich Runoff

Like all the Belgrade Lakes, Salmon Lake and McGrath Pond are threatened by decades of phosphorus rich runoff collected in lake bottom sediments. Intervention is needed soon. The priority now is to work with 7 Lakes Alliance Youth Conservation Corps to limit the introduction of new phosphorus as a first step in securing clean, clear, healthy lakes. Last fall 7 Lakes Alliance led a collaborative effort to survey and map runoff areas along the Salmon and McGrath shorelines. Property owners received information to help remove issues found on their shorefronts. The 7 Lakes Alliance Youth Conservation Corps installed multiple Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce erosion and the phosphorus load. To learn more about this and McGrath Pond Salmon Lake Association, visit: www.mcgrathpond-salmonlake.org.

 

Dave Hallee, President, McGrath Pond Salmon Lake Association

BLA Watershed
Survey: Helping Out

7 Lakes Alliance’s Director of Programs, Charlie Baeder and BLA President, Carol Johnson assessing erosion problems around Great Pond for the BLA watershed survey.

Keeping Invasive Plants from Destroying
our Ecosystem and Property Values

Since 2010, 7 Lakes Alliance has managed a milfoil remediation team to identify, mark, and remove milfoil in Great Pond in support of BLA’s STOP Milfoil Program. 7 Lakes Alliance coordinates invasive plant prevention efforts on East Pond, Great Pond, Long Pond, McGrath Pond, North Pond, and Salmon Lake. The Lake Trust offers support to
all five lake associations and provides administrative and project management support as requested. 7 Lakes Alliance also works to educate and engage the public in both prevention and remediation efforts.

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137 Main St. | PO Box 250 | Belgrade Lakes, ME 04918 | (207) 495-6039

© 2018 by 7 Lakes Alliance