Snow & Trees next to Lake Wassookeag in Dexter, Maine by Greg A Hartford

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In This Issue

  1. Thank you and 2023 By The Numbers
  2. Advocacy Update: Wake Surfing, Invasive Species and Shoreland Zoning Violations
  3. Thaw(tful) Insights on Lakes: A Winter Presentation and Discussion Series
  4. Watershed Survey Grant Opportunity
  5. Winter Presentations from our Colleagues
  6. Reminder: Water and Sustainability Conference and Maine Lakes Presentations

Thank you and 2023 By the Numbers

We are grateful for the overwhelming support from more than 500 individuals, lake associations, and businesses who believe in the work Maine Lakes and our volunteers and supporters do to keep our lakes clean and healthy. We are so thankful that you supported our programming, outreach and other efforts for clean lakes in 2023, and we hope to see your support grow in 2024. 

We look forward to working with you to grow our numbers, and the impact of our collaborative lake protection work, in 2024.

Many thanks for all that you do for Maine’s lakes.  

Susan Gallo 

Executive Director 

Advocacy Update: Wake Surfing, Invasive Species and Shoreland Zoning Violations

Wake Surfing: The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) recently completed a report summarizing the findings of a working group that reviewed studies around wake, wake boat, and wake surfing impacts. Wake surfing waves are much larger than those generated by other boating activities such as water skiing or tubing. Even when the activity is 200 feet from shore, if the waves are generated along the side facing the shore, they can be large enough when they reach shore to swamp boats, damage docks, and put people and property at risk. One of the proposals discussed in the report is to simply move the activity of wake surfing further from shore, which protects shorelines and habitat, reduces erosion, and reduces the potential for property damage. The IFW Committee, composed of legislators who discuss and move relevant legislation forward, is currently debating options for legislation to address these concerns.

Please check our Advocacy page for updates.

You can read the IFW Report to the Committee here.

Invasive Species: The IFW Committee heard from advocates last week who are in favor

of LD 2141, a bill that will give a one-time appropriation of $2 million for aquatic invasive

species work and will also ask IFW to assess inspection protocols and surface use

restrictions as a tool for reducing the spread of invasive species. In addition to the

speakers in the room, the committee has received 79 pieces of testimony from lake

advocates in favor of the bill. Thank you to all who have spoken up!

You can check progress on the bill here or on our Advocacy page.

Shoreland Zoning Violations: There will be a public hearing for LD 2101 before the State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 1:00. The bill is in response to major shoreland zone violations where wealthy homeowners have used litigation to

bankrupt municipal coffers and swamp the capacity of limited municipal staff. The bill

allows the town to claim a lien against the property and revoke permits issued for work in the shoreland zone. This is a critical bill that will safeguard municipalities, and our lakes, against homeowners who ignore Maine law and disregard their impact on lakes that belong to every one of us.

For more information about submitting a letter in support of LD 2101, please visit our Advocacy page.

Thank you in advance for speaking up!

Thaw(tful) Insights on Lakes:

A Winter Presentation and Discussion Series

Photo by Lake Stewards of Maine

In the upcoming months, Maine Lakes and the Lake Stewards of Maine are jointly presenting an engaging webinar series via Zoom covering diverse topics related to lakes. Each session will feature a brief presentation followed by an opportunity for open dialogue and discussion. 

Ice Tracking, February 15, 2024, at 5 PM via Zoom

Ice coverage is an important metric of climate conditions and a factor in the health of Maine lakes. Tristan Taber from Lake Stewards of Maine will give a brief overview of ice coverage sampling and methodology, and discuss what we are seeing so far based on data collected by volunteers. We will open it up for what we hope will be a spirited and engaging discussion. Hope to "see" you there! Click here to register.

Crayfish Ecology, March 7, 2024, at 5 PM via Zoom

Karen Wilson, Associate Research Professor at the University of Maine will lead an informed and engaging discussion about Maine’s crayfish population. Click here to register.

More topics for April TBD!

Watershed Survey Grant Opportunity

Photo by Lake Stewards of Maine

Lake watershed surveys conducted by community volunteers are an effective tool for identifying land use problems that negatively impact lake water quality. Watershed surveys also increase overall public awareness about threats to lake health and can serve as rallying calls in a community. Maine Lakes is joining Lake Stewards of Maine in their small grant program for organizations conducting watershed survey activities in 2024. By pooling our resources, the two organizations hope to provide assistance to multiple groups and support the continued success of this program. 

Click here for more details about the process of conducting a watershed survey or here for other helpful materials.

To apply for a Watershed Survey Grant, click here.

Feel free to email if you have any questions.

Winter Presentations from our Colleagues

We often come across presentations from organizations that we know would interest our readers.

Read on for a few opportunities this spring from our colleagues.

Gravel Road Maintenance

Tuesday, Feb 6, 6:30-7:30 PM via Zoom

John Maclaine, Nonpoint Source Training Center, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Hosted by Waldo County Soil & Water Conservation District and Friends of Lake Winnecook

The proper maintenance of gravel roads in Maine is important for providing residents safe access to their properties and minimizing costly capital repairs to these roads over time. It is also an important part of protecting our natural resources from degradation. In this presentation, participants will learn how proper maintenance protects water quality, about gravel road materials, how to evaluate a gravel road for maintenance needs, and how to implement gravel road Best Management Practices.

This 1-hour online workshop will provide an overview for gravel road residents, lake and road association members, town officials, contractors, and other watershed managers to better understand methods and practices for evaluating and maintaining gravel roads. We will refer to the Maine DEP Camp Road Maintenance Manual

Click here to join

Meeting ID: 818 0597 4908

Passcode: 417148

Basic & Advanced Erosion Control Practices Workshop

Thursday, March 7, 2024, 8:00-4:00 in person at the Lakes Environmental Association’s Maine Lake Science Center 51 Willett Road, Bridgton

This course, taught by Maine DEP’s John Maclaine, is necessary to become a Contractor Certified in Erosion and Sedimentation Control Practices by the Department of Environmental Protection. In this 8-hour course, participants will learn why erosion control practices are important, be exposed to the principles of erosion and sedimentation, learn how to properly install and maintain Erosion & Sedimentation Control (ESC) Best Management Practices (BMPs), regulations requiring ESC, using the Department’s Permit By Rule process, in-water work procedures, and ESC planning. Participants are provided with information on the proper selection, installation and maintenance of ESC practices using Maine DEPs Erosion and Sediment Control Practices Field Guide for Contractors.

The course is of primary interest to contractors but could also be helpful to municipal code enforcement officers, consultants, engineers, and public works employees. n

For more information and to register, click here.

Shoreline Stabilization Practices for Inland Waters

Thursday, April 11, 8:00 am - 12:00 in person at the Lakes Environmental Association’s Maine Lake Science Center, 51 Willett Road, Bridgton


Soil erosion is not only a source of nonpoint source pollution, but it can also threaten structures and other development along waterbodies. Historically, there was a single approach to shoreline erosion: fill the shoreline with rock or riprap without regard to the ecological functions of the shoreline. While this approach can be successful in solving the erosion problem when done correctly, we now know it creates other problems for waterbodies and wildlife.

Shoreline erosion can be tied to several factors, and finding an appropriate solution requires an understanding of each reason behind the erosion. In this class, participants will be exposed to the factors leading to shoreline erosion, how land use and behavior affect shorelines, state permitting standards related to shoreline stabilization, the importance of vegetation and other natural processes in stabilization of shorelines, and how to minimize impacts to the water on shoreline projects.

For more information and to register, click here.

2024 Lakes Conference:

Value and Legacy of Maine Lakes

We’ve had a slight glitch in our plan to hold the 2024 lakes conference at the Central Maine Community College on June 21st. The conference committee is working hard to confirm another location, hopefully for that same date.

Look for updates with speakers and a schedule in the next newsletter!

Reminder: Water and Sustainability Conference and Maine Lakes Presentations

Water and Sustainability Conference, Augusta, March 28th, 8:30-4:00

The Maine Sustainability & Water Conference provides an annual forum where professionals, researchers, consultants, citizens, students, regulators, and planners gather to exchange information and present new findings on sustainability and water resource issues in Maine. We are thrilled that there will be six presentations this year affiliated with Maine Lakes members, staff, board members and project partners. And through a true scheduling miracle, you can see them all!

Click the links for each topic below, and click here to register, or here for more information about the conference. Hope to see you there!

Session 5: Communication in Conserving Maine's Lakes, Streams and Rivers

Protecting Cross Lake – Unique in Many Respects, Presenter: Cheryl St. Peter (Friends of Cross Lake, Maine Lakes board member), 8:30AM-8:55AM 

Prototyping a new way for on-the-ground communication across the state, Presenters: Susan Gallo (Maine Lakes) and Amy Bonsall (Lake Wesserunsett Association) 9:00AM-9:25AM

The greatest threat to our Pond is the belief that someone else will save it, Presenter: John Eliasberg (Georges Pond Association and LakeSmart volunteer), 9:30AM-9:55AM

Session 1: Improving & Conserving Biodiversity Yard by Yard

LakeSmart: 20 Years of Neighbor-to-Neighbor Marketing for Lake-Friendly Yards, Presenter: Caroline Murray (Maine Lakes), 1:35PM-2:00PM 

Session 10: Maine lake resilience and response to regional and climate stressors

Assessing need and feasibility of bacterial monitoring at freshwater beaches in Maine, Presenter: Margo Kenyon (Colby student and Maine Lakes intern, Summer 2023) 2:15PM-2:30PM  

Valuing the Economic Benefits of Maine’s Lakes and Great Ponds in the 21st Century, Presenter: Jianheng Zhao (University of Maine, a project started with seed funding from Maine Lakes and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund), 3:40PM-4:00PM 

Look for our next newsletter in March!

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Thank you for your support!