Update from the Lake Science Manager – Spring 2017

– Written by Brenda Fekete with photographs by Logan Parker

Wow! Is it really May already? It seems like we were just out cutting holes in the ice to collect winter water profiles. Watching the ice go out at the end of April and listening to the sound of loons on the lakes always reminds us that spring is here and it is time to get sampling! With the recent windy and wet weather and a few boat issues behind us, Logan and I have been sampling on all seven lakes. So far the profiles show typical spring mixing with lots of dissolved oxygen and cold water right to the bottom of the lakes. It is so great to back out on the water!

This year’s team includes nine Colby students. We are pleased to have two students returning from last year’s efforts, and welcome seven new students to the crew. Besides the water quality sampling and data analysis efforts that are so fundamental to our research initiative, one student will be working with Matthew Leahey on an educational program at Camp Tracy on McGrath Pond, and one will be working with Fluid Imaging on the new “CyanoCam”, a FlowCam that is optimized for Cyanobacteria analysis. Please stop us when you see us on the water. We would love to introduce ourselves!


We knew we were sampling in the right spot on Great Pond when our buoy popped up when we opened the hatch!

We are often out on the water by 8 am. As in the past two seasons, we plan to continue our weekly secchi measurements, Insitu water profiles to include temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH analysis, and surface water samples for plankton analysis on all seven lakes. Grab samples for nutrient and elemental analysis will be taken every two meters on a biweekly basis. We be collecting spring sediment samples and plan to get another round of sediment samples in the fall.


In addition to the CyanoCam, new additions to the MLRC wet lab will be equipment to include ChlorophyllA (to compliment our FlowCam work) and color (to compliment our water sample analyses).

The various tanks in the MLRC Gallery and in the Wet Lab are still populated with wildlife collected in the watershed. In addition to the native warm water fish and mudpuppies, Logan has begun working on a new macro-invertebrate tank. He’s collected dragonfly and mayfly nymphs from Mill Stream that will be reared to adulthood and released back outside.

We are currently working with two licensed Colby drone pilots to design protocol that would allow us to update the shoreline maps for each of the seven lakes (last completed in 2011). A second experiment will be to use the drones to locate and assess the movement of metaphyton, and possibly cyanobacteria blooms in late summer. Perfected, this would be a very useful tool to monitor harmful algae blooms (HAB) on our lakes.

The Colby summer interns and our valuable volunteers will continue to monitor Gloeotrichia in all of the lakes, and we are looking forward to becoming involved in the EPA CyanoMonitoring program this year. This program will allow the Belgrade Watershed to be involved in a nationwide CyanoMonitoring effort! We would love to recruit a few more volunteers in the north and south basin of Long Pond and in the North Bay area of Great Pond. If interested, please contact Logan Parker. Please stay tuned for more information about Gloeotrichia monitoring training sessions.

After a bit of a cleanup and redesign, Goldie will be deployed on May 22. Real time data is displayed and explained on the Goldie website.

One of our early spring 2016 projects was to place a Water Quality Test Site buoy at each of the DEP sampling sites on all seven lakes. These buoys required a state permit. Placed at the deepest parts of the lakes, these buoys allow our teams to sample at the exact same site every time on every lake. This results in more consistent data collected from the deepest holes of the lake, thus increasing the accuracy of our results. If you want to know where the deepest part of your lake is … come visit the WQ buoy. However, when visiting, please do not attach your boat to the buoys. Pulling on the buoys will cause the buoys to move from their desired DEP locations. We are currently checking and repositioning the buoys because of movement due to the winter ice.

I would like to, again, thank all of our wonderful volunteers that escorted our students to the sampling sites last season. The students truly enjoy your company and appreciate your help in the sampling process. We would love to ask for your help again during the heavy June through August sampling season. We also welcome any new volunteers that would like to join in the fun!

The weekly secchi measurements, temperature and dissolved oxygen data is presented on the online interactive map. You can also find the present and past weekly data on the MLRC website. Logan has been working all winter to develop a dynamic display that will represent each of the seven lakes in the Belgrade Watershed. This interactive kiosk will function as a library documenting all of the conservation and research efforts in the watershed. Come by this summer to check out this and other updates we’ve made to the Maine Lakes Resource Center gallery over the winter.

If you have any questions or comments about the Belgrade Watershed Water Quality Initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me.

“Pulling together we can save our lakes!”


Scenes from winter sampling. We trekked out on every lake in the watershed to collect samples and winter water profiles.