Woods Pond erosion control project begins

Lakes Environmental Association is pleased to announce the start of an ambitious two-year project to control erosion in the Woods Pond Watershed. The project is funded by a grant of $60,000 from Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act plus $42,810 in local donations of cash, labor, equipment and supplies.

Partnering with LEA to implement the Woods Pond Watershed Protection Project are the Woods Pond Water Quality Committee, town of Bridgton, Camps Wildwood and Kingswood, Woods Lake Association, Wildwood Road Association, Portland Water District, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The project started March 1, 2014 and runs until March 2016.

LEA and volunteers have tested the water quality in Woods Pond for nearly three decades. Water quality in the lake is generally good but there is growing concern about lower water clarity as well as increased nutrients like phosphorus in the water along with higher algae growth. In the past decade, Woods Pond has experienced significant soil erosion from the surrounding land (the watershed) during storm events. These conditions prompted LEA in recent years to raise Woods Pond from a “moderate” degree of concern to their “moderate/high” category.

Phosphorus particles often “hitchhike” on soil that erodes from the watershed. If too much phosphorus, a plant nutrient, enters a lake, the result can be a large algae bloom that turns a formerly clear blue lake into a slimy, green mess. Such blooms have already occurred in several lakes in Maine including China Lake near Augusta and Sabattus Pond in Lewiston.

In 2012, the Woods Pond Water Quality Committee and LEA led a survey to document erosion throughout the Woods Pond Watershed. This survey was funded 100% by private donations. Surveyors documented 79 sites that contribute erosion to Woods Pond; many were located on or near the lakeshore but significant sites were also found higher up in the hills on streams that feed the pond.

The Woods Pond Watershed Protection Project allows LEA to share the cost of fixing large erosion problems with project partners. It aims to reduce the amount of erosion that enters Woods Pond by 45 tons/year, which is 75% of the erosion documented in the 2012 watershed survey.

In addition, through this grant, LEA is able to offer free technical assistance to landowners who request assistance dealing with erosion problems, for example a problematic driveway that is eroding. At no cost to the landowner, a technical expert will visit them on their property to make recommendations. Small awards of $400 are available to landowners to help them pay for implementing erosion control measures.

Technical assistance and the $400 stipends are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested landowners are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. All work conducted under the Woods Pond Watershed Protection Project is voluntary. Absolutely no enforcement is involved.

While this project addresses all of the highest priority erosion sites from the 2012 watershed survey, it is anticipated a second phase will be needed to tackle the remaining medium priority sites as well as new ones that may arise. Funding for this project, in part, was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The funding is administered by the Maine DEP in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, contact Jeff Stern, project coordinator, Fiddlehead Environmental Consulting, at 627-3126 or e-mail: sternjm@hotmail.com

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