Riprap project raises access concerns

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

A plan to fix a major source of pollution runoff on the Moose Pond Causeway may invite increased use of the problem area by the boating public, even though the Causeway is a no-parking zone, Bridgton selectmen said Tuesday.

Selectmen agreed, however, that remediation work is long overdue at the locally-used carry-on path, located on the west side of Sabattus Island on the Route 302 Causeway. It remained unclear Tuesday whether the town or the Maine Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over the site. Public Works Director Jim Kidder said the erosion site is located in the state’s right-of-way, but that the town maintains it for use by West Bridgton residents. A representative from the Moose Pond Association said MDOT does not want to be involved in the project.

Selectman Doug Taft said people still park on the Causeway, mostly near the regular boat launch on the east side, but that the town wants to limit too much parking or it could become a “dangerous situation.”

The board suggested that the Moose Pond Association work on the erosion plan with state transportation officials, and if possible create a barrier so that the site could no longer be used to launch small boats.

The Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District wants to create a riprap swale along the path to direct runoff from Route 302, and cover all remaining bare soil with a minimum of six inches of erosion control mulch. In a memo by CCSWCD Project Manager Heather True, the improvements would still allow for hand-carried boats and water access for fishing.

Under the plan, the $1,500 in improvements would be paid for by the Moose Pond Association and would be done this spring. The site was identified as one of the most serious sources of pollution impacting Moose Pond water quality in a 2010 survey of polluted runoff sites throughout the Moose Pond watershed. The site was listed “due to severe surface erosion washing sediment directly into Moose Pond” and creating “large erosion gullies along this exposed gravel access point, resulting in a visible sediment delta in the lake.”

The CCSWCD is working with Lakes Environmental Association and the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District to address problem areas identified in the 2010 study.

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