Sunrise on Keoka Lake

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In This Issue

  1. Save the Date: Annual Joint Lakes Conference on Friday June 21st
  2. Winter Reading: A Guide to Healthy Lakes Using Lakeshore Landscaping
  3. Winter Listening: Ice levels on the Great Lakes reach record lows
  4. Legislative Preview and How To: Thursday, January 18th at 6 p.m. via Zoom
  5. Look Out For Loons: 2024 Season Trainings
  6. Join us at the Water and Sustainability Conference on March 28th in Augusta

Annual Joint Lakes Conference

Friday, June 21st, in Auburn

Maine Lakes is excited to be hosting a second joint conference with our colleagues from Lake Stewards of Maine. We believe we can bring the best experience to our members, supporters, and lake advocates when we join forces with an organization that shares so many of our clean lakes values as well as shared members and supporters. This year’s conference will be on Friday, June 21st at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. The day will be focused on the many values of Maine’s lakes, including economical, biological, and ecological perspectives. We are especially excited to share that our keynote speakers will be Adam Daignault, Associate Professor of Forest Policy and Economics, and Melissa Genoter, graduating senior, from UMaine Orono who have both worked on a recent project looking at the economic value of Maine’s Great Ponds.

Look for registration links, lists of speakers, and more in upcoming enews issues!

Winter Reading:

A Guide to Healthy Lakes

Using Lakeshore Landscaping

Cover illustration by Holly Greenleaf

A Guide to Healthy Lakes Using Lakeshore Landscaping:

Design Templates and Easy-to-Use Planting Plans From the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds

If you, like me, spend significant time each winter contemplating your garden– asking questions like what kinds of plants should be added, which native plants might do best, or which plants pair best together - AND you spend many of your long winter evenings with a big mug of hot tea and a pile of interesting reading material, I suggest checking out A Guide to Healthy Lakes Using Lakeshore Landscaping Shoreline from our colleagues over at the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds. Shoreline plantings that create wide, deep,. layered vegetated buffers are crucial to maintaining and improving water quality, flood resiliency, and aquatic and lakeshore ecosystems. Clean water and healthy ecosystems enhance our recreational experiences, provide fish and wildlife habitat, reduce costs for drinking water systems, and protect lake property values. And it’s not just homes along the lakeshore. Homeowners upstream from lakeshores can also help protect lakes by reducing runoff through lush vegetative buffers. 

Beautifully illustrated by Holly Greenleaf, the guide walks through why buffers are important and steps to assess moisture, soil condition, and ground preparation. Most of the guide is made up of landscape plans for many yard scenarios, including my favorites, “Edible Beach Eden” (p. 20) and “Pollinator Meadow Garden” (p. 22). You are guaranteed to come away with ideas to consider for your yard and garden no matter where you live or what your level of expertise may be. Reading through this guide is sure to brighten the darkest of winter evenings as you look ahead to longer, warmer days and ponder how you can build better buffers to keep your lake clean!

Winter Listen:

Ice levels on Great Lakes reach record lows

Ice safety recommendations from our colleagues at Lakes Environmental Association

This piece on NPR kept me in my car today long after I had reached my destination. I had just been thinking (after the dump of snow followed by heavy rains the last three days) about the perils of Maine lake ice this season, and how the lack of sustained cold temperatures have left lake ice spotty and thin.

In fact, a friend from Monson just shared that the lake ice near her was just an inch thick, which is incredibly thin for this time of year that far north. in addition to the loss of recreational activities like ice fishing, the lack of ice changes lake ecology in ways we don’t yet completely understand. Which is what brought me to sit in my car and listen to this NPR report about ice on the Great Lakes being one of the lowest on records in 2024.

I’ll leave you with some good news, though. There have been similar lows in Januarys past that were followed by sustained cold that brought Great Lakes ice coverage back to close to normal levels. Let’s hope, for the ice skaters and hockey players and ice anglers among us that that is also possible for us here in Maine.

Stay safe out there, and always check ice thickness before venturing out!

Legislative Preview and How To:

Thursday, January 18th at 6 p.m. via Zoom

Join Maine Lakes Executive Director Susan Gallo and Lakes Environmental Association’s Colin Holme via Zoom to hear about lake bills coming before the legislature in 2024, and the many ways you can get involved and make a difference. We’ll walk through the state’s updated process for submitting testimony on-line, ways to find your senators and representatives (and the committees they serve), and how to see the latest news on bills as they move through the legislative process. Registration is required by free. Registration here.

Introduction to Look Out For Loons

2024 Zoom Sessions

Image from Maine Audubon photo collection

Join a virtual gathering with Maine Lakes “Look Out for Loons” staff and other loon restoration project partners to hear more about what how you can join a growing team of volunteers who are working to decrease disturbance to nesting loons, and increase their success, by sharing information, actions, and advice to lake users and visitors. You’ll learn about what the program has done in the last year, and the many different options for getting involved. You can become a loon expert and help us all “Look Out for Loons”. Registration free but required. Click on the dates below to register.

Wednesday, April 10, 12-1 pm

Thursday, April 10, 5-6 pm

Hope to see you there! Note that for anyone who joined LOFL in 2023, watch your email for an invitation to a volunteer check in and update. And THANK YOU for all you are doing for loons!

Join Maine Lakes at the

Water and Sustainability Conference

March 28th in Augusta

Maine Lakes is a sponsor of the Water and Sustainability Conference, held at the Augusta Civic Center on March 29th. We would love to see you there! Staff will be presenting in several different sessions, including a session on biodiverse yards and a session where we’ll highlight Maine Lake Talk, our Slack communication channel. We’ll share a more detailed schedule of speakers as soon as it is finalized. In the meantime, check out the conference website, and the list of concurrent sessions. If you are interested in clean water and a sustainable future, this is a great conference to join. Hope to see you there! 

Look for our next newsletter in February!

Click here if you need to renew your membership or would like to donate to Maine Lakes

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Thank you for your support!