header-photo

2013 Legislative Alerts from the Maine Congress of Lake Associations (COLA)

Dear Friends of Maine Lakes,

This is the first in a series of Legislative Alerts from the Maine Congress of Lake Associations to inform you about 2013 actions affecting lakes in the Maine State Legislature. We provide this service to assist lake users and stewards make their views known about bills that could impact their lives and the well-being of their communities.

Today's note is a brief summary of 4 bills of interest. You will hear from us again when these initiatives are scheduled for a hearing. The general fund bond issue (#1 below) is a major focus for us this year.

An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Ensure Clean Water and Safe Communities
This bill creates a fund to preserve Maine’s high quality water resources. The Fund would be used to conserve land such as lake watersheds, aquifer recharge areas and forested headwaters and to improve man-made structures such as stream crossings, roads and culverts. Increasing pressure on lake ecosystems from climate change and development, coupled with budget cuts and agency downsizing make this vital measure one that all of us should actively support. Stay tuned and tell your friends!

LD 730: An Act to Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs
Expanding the ban of lead sinkers to include the sale and use of lead sinkers up to 1 oz. and lead jigs up to 2.5 inches will reduce mortality and improve survival for Maine’s loons. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of loon death in Maine (97 lead poisonings out of 352 loon deaths have been documented since 1987 by Tufts University) Expected in Committee in late March.

LD 640: An Act to Exempt All-Terrain Vehicle Trail Maintenance from Storm Water Management Requirements
This bill extends to ATV trails the same statewide exemption from soil erosion precautions enjoyed by those who develop, construct and maintain snowmobile trails. Land use determines water quality. The snowmobile exemption already permits harm to Maine waters. It makes no sense to extend the application of a bad law on the grounds of equal treatment.

LD 674: An Act to Clarify the Natural Resources Protection Act
Here comes another Takings Bill! Not only that, but the clarification involved will drastically reduce setbacks for high and moderate value inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat (to 75') and vernal pools (75'). The Takings involves reimbursing landowners for the loss in property value caused by the setback. Takings inevitably inhibit land use regulation, and land use determines water quality.

Please share this with interested friends.

Best regards,
Maggie Shannon, Executive Director
Maine Congress of Lake Associations
http://www.mainecola.org/

For Information about Maine Lakes

The website Mr. Lakefront provides information and articles on Maine lakes, including Big Clemons Pond and Little Clemons Pond. Note that the website is a realtor's blog. Mention of it here is in no way an endorsement of the realtor or his website. Thanks to Richard Hunt for this information.

Do High Mercury Levels Pose a Possible Threat to the Future of Maine's Loons?

A March 2012 Bangor Daily News "Maine Outdoors" article and video present information on and biologist analysis of this topic. Thanks to Jeanne Smith for the link to this information.

Richard Hunt shares the following excerpts from a December 5, 2011 Maine Congress of Lake Associations (COLA) note.

Webmaster note: Please be aware of these issues and what’s going on with regard to them. How these issues resolve may have a direct impact on the Clemons Pond shoreline and residents.

“Water Issues Maine COLA Is Watching 
“Although the State Legislature adjourned months ago, several important issues are still in play and will soon require [members’] attention.
“Shoreland Zoning: The stakeholders group charged with simplifying the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance has nearly concluded its work. So far, all water quality protections have been passed on by the diverse group, including setbacks and clearing standards within 100 and 250 feet of the high water mark.
“Wading Bird and Waterfowl Habitat (IWWH): At this time it looks as if the 250 foot protective setback for moderate value habitat for inland wading bird and waterfowl may be seriously weakened. Protection of high value habitat for these birds will remain, but development in areas of moderate value will most likely be allowed under a Permit by Rule from the Department of Environmental Protection. More on this next week.
Land Use Regulation Commission: A recent memo from Commissioner Beardsley of the Department of Conservation indicates that LURC will be replaced by the Maine Land Use Commission. MLUC will retain the regional authority LURC had but significant changes are in the works.  We'll keep you posted.

“New bills will begin to appear in January, but we need to be watching events starting now.”
Maggie Shannon, Executive Director, Maine COLA

Clemons Pond Environmental Information


Monitoring the Pond Results

Victor Lerish and Nancy Serrell have been volunteering to monitor the quality of the water in Clemons Pond for many years and have provided the following results for our review. We all share ownership in maintaining the health of the pond so we can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

Water Quality Information submitted by Victor Lerish

2012 Water Quality Report 2010 Water Quality Report 2009 Water Quality Report 2009 Data Sheet 2

Additional Historical Data

2008 Data 2007 Data 2006 Data 2005 Data

Environmental Links

Maine Volunteer Lakes Monitoring Program  http://www.mainevlmp.org/

This is the program that we directly submit our water quality testing results to. Through their website you can go to “On line tools” to search for info. Re. Clemons Pond as well as other ponds or lakes throughout the state. Under “Resources and Publications” you can view their quarterly newsletter as well as the the annual “Maine Lakes Summary Report” comparing water quality data from all monitored ponds and lakes in Maine. If you have any interest in learning more about invasive plants and would like to become an invasive plant patroller for Clemons Pond go to the “Volunteer” section of the website and sign up for one of their training courses. In addition Little Clemons is currently not being monitored for water quality or invasives providing another volunteer opportunity.

PEARL  http://pearl.maine.edu/default.htm

This is an interactive website with a huge database relating to water quality. If you check it out the midas (id.) number for Clemons Pond is 3174.

George Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research at Univ. of Maine, Orono
http://www.umaine.edu/waterresearch/about_us/index.htm

Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection  http://www.maine.gov/dep/index.shtml

There is a wealth of information on this website especially on the “Homeowners” page found in the education section of the website. There you can find among other things guides to dealing with stormwater runoff, septic systems and well water safety as well as camp road maintenance, best conservation practices, shoreland zoning regulations, improving plant buffers in the shoreline zone and use of phosphorus free fertilizers.

 

A Message from the Pond Association

In light of a recent increase in power boating activity on the pond, Richard Hunt takes a moment to remind Clemons Pond residents and vistors of the long history of respect for each other, safety on the pond, and our common focus on protection of the shoreline.

Click HERE to read his note and view a map of the pond showing the 200-foot setback comprising what the State of Maine defines as the "Water Safety Zone."

For additional information, here is a link to the Maine State Boating Rules and Laws



Protecting Clemons Pond


Our pond is a fragile ecosystem. What we do in the area around the pond, particularly the Shoreland Zone around the pond can impact the water quality of the pond and the life within it. The Shoreland Zone is land within 250-feet of a pond or a wetland, and within 75-feet of a stream (e.g. 10-Mile Brook). We should all do what we can to help protect that ecosystem. To help us understand what we can do, the Maine Congress of Lake Associations (COLA) has several web-pages – we provide direct links to some of them.
The State of Maine has also passed laws and Agencies have created rules to provide guidance to Towns and people who live near ponds, rivers, streams, and wetlands. They have produced “A Handbook for Shoreland Owners” which gives an overview of the Shoreland Zoning Act and related laws, agencies, and publications.

The Town of Hiram has, as a result of State Laws and Rules, created a conforming Shoreland Zoning Ordinance that provides for some local guidance and control of development around water bodies.

  • Landscaping:

    Limit the cutting of Trees and Brush, particularly within 100-ft of the pond. Try to keep a well distributed stand of trees that provide a uniform canopy; don’t remove vegetation less than 3-feet in height or ground cover; you may prune branches on the lower 1/3 of trees. Beyond the 100-ft buffer, clearing should not exceed 25% of the total lot area. Consider “A Lakers Dozen” which includes such ideas as: limit lawn sizes and use fertilizers with no phosphorus – and as little of that as you can. Make your path to the pond no more than 6-feet wide and winding one so that rain runs off to the side of the path instead of down into the pond – i.e. no cleared line of site (See Section 15 (P)(2)(a) in the Hiram Shoreland Zoning Ordinance).
  • In the Pond:

    Docks – should be temporary (i.e. in the winter no more than 7-months of the year) and made of materials that will no put harmful chemicals in the pond (e.g. no pressure treated wood) The Natural Resource Protection Act (NRPA) applies for an “activity” in or near the pond. An “activity" is (A) dredging, bulldozing, removing or displacing soil, sand, vegetation or other materials; (B) draining or otherwise dewatering; (C) filling, including adding sand or other material to a sand dune; or (D) any construction, repair or alteration of any permanent structure.”
    For many of these activities, a simple “Permit by Rule” notification can be made. For larger projects, a formal application and review process has to be used. The one page “Permit by Rule Notification Form” can be used to notify the DEP at their Portland office of what you want to do for such projects as a) shoreline stabilization using vegetation or riprap along eroded shorelines; b) clearing, below the waterline, a 10-foot wide (parallel to the shore) area of vegetation and/or rocks to make access for swimming. Rocks are to be distributed randomly under the water; vegetation is to be removed from the water.
  • Roads and Driveways:

    Design, build and maintain roads and driveways so that runoff does not go into the pond. See “Camp Roads” for a book discussing why and how.