The Conservation Partners:
The Belgrade Lakes Association was officially formed in 1908 by volunteers who were concerned with fishing, safety and proper behavior on Great Pond and Long Pond. These concerns continue today and are addressed, along with many new challenges to the lakes, by a strong and healthy association of volunteers that is proactive, recognizes a problem or an opportunity for lake health, plans and organizes a project focused on it, funds the result, adopts it as part of BLA’s mission or passes it on to a conservation group best organized to use it. The Maine Lakes Resource Center grew out of the BLA’s Docks to Doorways initiative and is a fine example of the BLA’s forward thinking ideas.
The Maine Lakes Resource Center (MLRC) serves as a research laboratory, field station, conference space, and teaching resource for the Environmental Science Programs of Colby College in the Belgrade Lakes region. The Environmental Science programs provide research and teaching resources in support of the MLRC mission through the National Science Foundation funded Sustainable Science project, part of a statewide sustainability science initiative. A multidisciplinary team of Colby faculty representing the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geology, and the Environmental Studies and Science, Technology, and Society Programs work through the MRLC to engage citizens, lake associations, the Department of Environmental Protection, and others in studying and protecting local lakes. Colby also provides a cadre of environmental interns who work throughout the academic year and during the summer to help support MRLC projects. The interns gain valuable practical experience as they work to promote sustainable lake practices. Students learn about the interplay of environmental research to understand lake problems and the importance of educating the citizens to shape policy and sustainable lake practices.
The Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) conserves the lands, water quality, and natural heritage of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed. Our land trust includes land preservation through land acquisition and stewardship. Our lake trust includes the Milfoil program (invasive plants), the Conservation Corps program, and the Watershed program. We work closely with the 5 lake associations of the Belgrade Lakes area to improve water quality and combat invasive plants. Educational programs, including hikes, canoe and kayak paddles, skiing, and snow shoeing are run throughout the year to introduce residents and visitors to the beauty and wonders of the Belgrade Lakes region. We are a 501 (c) non profit that relies on membership dues and contributions to advance our mission.
The Maine Lakes Society is the only statewide, nonprofit [501(c) 3] membership organization dedicated to the protection of Maine lakes through science, education and policy. Founded in 1970, Maine Lakes works with individuals, lake associations, state agencies, schools, colleges, other nonprofits, youth camps, businesses and civic organizations to communicate lake science, promote stewardship of water resources, and encourage wise land use policy. Maine Lakes has over 100 lake association members which it supports by providing capacity-building resources, on-site presentations, Courtesy Boat Inspection workshops, an on-call answering service and advocacy for lake protection.
The Maine Lakes Society draws upon the knowledge of experts to provide objective, scientific testimony in support of policies that protect lake water quality, watershed integrity, and biodiversity. E-news alerts to over 900 individuals as well as the Maine Lakes’ newsletter, For the Sake of Maine Lakes, and web postings keep lake users and activists informed about administrative and legislative issues affecting water quality.
The Maine Lakes Society is committed to supporting LakeSmart, a homeowner reward program encouraging lake friendly landscaping, in partnership with LakeSmart’s sponsor, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Together, DEP and COLA have concluded a successful test of volunteers to speed LakeSmart adoption by property owners. With our partners Colby College, the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance and the Maine Lakes Resource Center, Maine Lakes introduced LakeSmart implementation and analysis to Colby College’s study of Resilience and Change in the Belgrade Watershed, with support from Maine’s Sustainability Science Initiative (SSI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Each lake’s ecosystem is unique but, since all the lakes are connected, the quality of the water in one lake impacts the others.
Friends of Messalonskee
President: Mike Willey.
Also called Snow Pond, Messalonskee is heavily infested with variable milfoil, and the south end boat ramp has been closed for 4 years due to the danger of carrying milfoil to other lakes in the chain. This lake is critical habitat for the least tern, a bird that has only one other known breeding area in the state.
“Fortunately, the Friends of Messalonskee, a nonprofit volunteer organization, is dedicated to the preservation of Snow Pond. Its purpose is to educate the public and promote the responsible use of the lake through organizing, conducting and supporting projects, programs, and activities. These include supporting wildlife preservation, informing the public of the results of water quality monitoring, teaching and promoting the practices which protect the water quality of the lake ecosystem, and encouraging safe recreational use of the lake”.
The East Pond Association
President: Rob Jones.
“The East Pond Association is an incredibly active and enthusiastic volunteer membership of a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of East Pond. This lake is a 1,800 acre spring-fed lake located in the towns of Oakland and Smithfield in Maine. The purpose of the East Pond Association is to inform and educate interested parties in the ways they can help to protect and improve the water quality of the lake by controlling erosion and run-off and minimizing developmental impact.
The East Pond Association is also partnered in innovative water quality improvement studies and pilot projects through Colby College, the University of Maine, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department”.
The North Pond Association
President: Rick Watson.
“The purpose of the North Pond Association is to support and conduct social, educational, and stewardship efforts to benefit the natural environment of North Pond and Little Pond. Over the last 30 years, the association’s responsibilities have grown to include testing the lake water, marking hazards, and providing funding for courtesy boat inspections to prevent the introduction of invasive plant species like milfoil into this beautiful lake”.
McGrath Pond/Salmon Lake Association (MPSLA)
President: David Hallee.
At the moment, McGrath is a model for the shoreland zoning laws that were instituted in 1989. The algae blooms have improved since then and although it is “at risk” for development, it’s one of the quieter sites in the watershed.
Even though it is attached to McGrath Pond, Salmon Lakes has a higher pH, making algae blooms a greater problem. It has a slower flushing rate and some old camps with small buffers.
“The purpose of the McGrath Pond/Salmon Lake Association is to preserve and protect the natural character, enhance the water quality, and promote responsible use of these lakes for the benefit of all. They are a dedicated group of volunteers committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing our lakes”.