Watershed Roundup

September 2023 Newsletter from the 30 Mile River Watershed Association

Photo: Tilton Pond survey for invasive bladderwort

Androscoggin Lake Again Suffers from Algal Bloom

Conditions on Androscoggin Lake have now reached “lake-wide algal bloom” status, with the most recent Secchi Disk Transparency (water clarity) reading taken on 9/7 at just 1.5 meters. The state of Maine defines the threshold for a “lake-wide algal bloom” at 2 meters and a “harmful algal bloom” (or HAB) at 1 meter of water clarity.

The dominant type of algae causing this bloom is a species of cyanobacteria called Dolichospermum. This is the most common bloom-forming species in Maine lakes, and is the same type of cyanobacteria responsible for the blooms in 2021 and 2022. Under certain conditions, this type of cyanobacteria can release toxins that are harmful to animals and humans. The reasons cyanobacteria produce toxins is not well understood, and standard monitoring techniques cannot predict when a bloom has toxins in it. Please refer to this Maine DEP webpage for more information and follow these guidelines:

  • Do not accidentally ingest or drink lake water during a bloom. Well-maintained domestic water treatment systems may make lake water safe to drink by removing bacteria and parasites, but they are not guaranteed to remove algal toxins.
  • If you shower with lake water, keep showers brief because breathing toxins in shower mist could cause health issues.
  • Do not swim, water ski, or boat in areas where algae are visible (e.g., pea soup, floating mats, scum layers, etc.), where water is discolored, or where musty odors are present.
  • Rules of thumb: if you are standing in water chest deep (4-5 feet ) and you can’t see your toes because the water is so green, you should get out; if you are looking into water that is 4-5 feet deep and can’t see the bottom of the lake because the water is so green, you should not to go in. 
  • Because algal scums along the shoreline have the highest concentrations of toxins, do not let children play in water that is discolored, where you see mats of algal material, foam, or where musty odors are present. Do not allow pets or livestock to swim or drink water from these areas.
  • Rinse off with fresh water and soap if available, as soon as practical if exposed to water that has dense algae present. This will reduce skin exposure for humans and pets.

Please be aware that bloom conditions on your shoreline and throughout the open waters of the lake can change from day to day (or even by the hour) depending on the wind. If water clarity declines below 1 meter at our regular monitoring location, then we do not recommend swimming in any areas of the lake. For the most recent water quality updates, please visit our website. Photo: Sarah Lovejoy

September 15th: Photo Contest Deadline

Do you take a lot of photos on the lakes, ponds, and streams that make up the 30 Mile River Watershed? 

Share your favorites with us by September 15th for a chance to win! The categories are: Lovable Loons, Spectacular Scenes, Watershed Wildlife (includes fish too, but not loons), and Winter Wonderland. Learn more and enter here.

New prizes this year! Winners choose from an assortment of new 30 Mile swag.

Photo: Whittier Pond Milky Way by Ned Van Woert, 2022 1st place winner, Spectacular Scenes.

Enter Here

Pocasset Lake Watershed Survey:

September 28, 2023!

Notification letters have now been sent to all landowners in the Pocasset Lake Watershed. REMINDER: If you’d like to attend a brief training session (via Zoom) and participate as a volunteer on the day of the survey, please complete the online volunteer form on our website.

For more information on the watershed survey, click here.

What looks like tapioca in Parker Pond?

Have you seen something that looks like tapioca floating in the lake? It is likely Gloeotrichia echinulata - a.k.a. “Gloeo” (pronounced “glee-oh”) - a type of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that lives suspended in lakes during the summer, sinks to the lakebed in a state of dormancy over the winter, then rises back up into the water column when the water warms in the spring. Unlike other bloom-forming cyanobacteria species that rely on nutrients in the water to fuel growth (like the bloom in Androscoggin Lake), Gloeo rely on lakebed sediments for their nutrient source. For this reason, reports of Gloeo blooms in pristine, low-nutrient lakes in the northeastern US, such as Parker Pond and Echo Lake, have been on the rise in recent years. (Photo: A single Gloeotrichia colony magnified by a microscope, UMaine)

New research has suggested that Gloeo may play a role in declining water quality of otherwise healthy lakes and that Gloeo may be increasing nutrient levels and algae growth within these lakes by moving phosphorus from the sediments at the lake bottom up into the water column, where it can be used by other algae. Anecdotal data indicates an overall increase in Gloeo abundance in recent decades, with the effects of climate change potentially accelerating growth. 30 Mile and volunteer water quality monitors collect Gloeo data on all the lakes in our water quality program. (Photo: Lake Stewards of Maine)

Update on Invasive Bladderwort in Tilton Pond

On September 7th, a team of 12 of us, including two of our staff, three DEP staff, and seven volunteers, conducted a second survey of Tilton Pond in Fayette to determine the scope of the invasive swollen bladderwort infestation. (Please see our post from 8/22 for more about this recent find). 

Unfortunately, we discovered that the infestation is much worse than we initially thought. Although we observed very few plants flowering this time, we found dense underwater growth throughout the entire pond.  With relatively few populations of swollen bladderwort in the state, we do not yet know what its ultimate impacts will be, or how best to manage it. Because Tilton Pond flows to David Pond, our next step will be to survey the inlet of David Pond to see if the bladderwort is present there. (Photo: Toni Pied ( ME DEP) collects bladderwort from the bottom of the pond. )

New Volunteers Trained on Pocasset Lake

On August 23rd, 30 Mile led an aquatic plant workshop for new invasive plant patrol volunteers on Pocasset Lake. Fourteen volunteers got hands-on learning in basic plant identification, how to distinguish between natives and invasives, and what to look for when surveying. THANK YOU to all who participated and to Richardsons’ Beach for hosting us. We look forward to continuing to work with Pocasset and all our lake associations next summer. Annual invasive plant surveys are critical to fighting invasive species in our lakes. If you are interested in becoming a plant patrol volunteer, please visit our volunteer webpage.

Celebrating Seasonal Staff

We have wrapped up another great summer with our seasonal staff - 9 total - all vital to delivering our programs that fulfill our mission to work as a community for clean and healthy lakes, ponds, and streams in our watershed.

THANK YOU for your hard work and the positive impact you made in our watershed, and the communities and water within it!

Frank Chin, Courtesy Boat Inspector Coordinator

Katie Cilley,

YCC Crew

Tom Davis,

Courtesy Boat Inspector

Lina Martinez,

Courtesy Boat Inspector

Iris Petrin, Courtesy Boat Inspector, Milfoil Survey Team

Grant Regan-Loomis, Courtesy Boat Inspector, Milfoil Survey Team, YCC Crew

Moriah Reusch, Courtesy Boat Inspector, YCC Crew

Brynne Robbins,

Milfoil Survey Team

Ryker Sampsom,

Courtesy Boat Inspector

New Documentary on Invasive Plants in Maine

Variable Leaf Milfoil (VLM), the same invasive aquatic plant species that is in Androscoggin Lake, was discovered in Big Lake in the Downeast Region of Maine in 2019. Check out the “Battle for Big Lake” documentary produced by Steve Underwood, Lake Stewards of Maine volunteer and videographer, to better understand the detrimental impacts of an invasive aquatic species, along with the hard work that is being done to help combat the infestation.

Pull the drain plug: It’s the law!

The bill requiring boats to be drained before entering waterbodies is now law! This important bill passed by the Maine Legislature safeguards against microscopic invasives like zebra mussels. The law mandates that boaters drain their boats prior to entering and when preparing to leave launch sites. Learn more from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife here(Photo: Maine DIFW)

Support 30 Mile! Your gift today will make a difference in protecting our lakes from phosphorus pollution, invasive species, and other threats. Find the giving level that works for you.

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