Watershed Roundup
February 2021 Newsletter from the 30 Mile River Watershed Association
Photo: January Ice on Parker Pond by Jim Anderberg
In Memory of George Smith
By Tom Ward, 30 Mile Board Member

George A. Smith (1948-2021) loved the 30 Mile River Watershed. It’s true that George loved all of “the great state of Maine”, as he would often say it. He loved the North Woods, Lubec, Campobello Island (even if it’s in New Brunswick), the Big Bend of Texas, Patagonia in Arizona. The truth is, there weren’t too many places George couldn’t bring himself to like.
 
But George and his wife Linda lived for 42 years in the 30 Mile River Watershed. It gained a special place in his heart, as it does for so many of us. George especially loved the waters around his brick Cape home: Minnehonk Lake, Hopkins Pond, and Hopkins Stream. He could tell stories about them for hours and he did.
 
George liked to remind folks about the brickworks, which used to operate next to Hopkins Stream where you can still find bricks scattered about; the nearby cultivated cranberry plantations which produce wild cranberries now; and the Wabanaki woman who used to camp by the stream in summertime and who might have been the last of the Kennebec tribe.
 
But George was much more than a talker. He was a doer. George took action when it was necessary and prompted others to do the same. After he helped Jane Naliboff rescue a lead-poisoned loon drifting on Minnehonk Lake, George began to advocate for the ban of sales of lead sinkers and jigs and he became a spokesperson for the “Maine Fish Lead-Free” campaign.
 
George was also active in trying to protect vernal pools and wetlands. He worked to get objectives for their protection into the Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Mount Vernon, adopted in 2019. And he put his money where his mouth was, donating what is now the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area between Route 41 and Hopkins Stream.
 
But for many of us, George was much more than a protector of this place. He was a mentor. He helped us navigate the shoals and eddies of state and town politics, merging environmental advocacy with respect for the hunting and fishing traditions of rural communities. George loved the great outdoors and, as he would say, “its critters”. He also loved the people of Maine. And so many of us loved him.
 
He will be greatly missed. 
 
George died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on Friday, February 12, 2021. Read his obituary, here.

Photo credit: Portland Press Herald, February 13, 2021
Upcoming Events
Maine Lakes will be hosting its Maine Lakes Conference speakers in a FREE “Wednesday Webinars” series running the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, February through June at 4 PM. 

Next up: What Kind of Lake is That? on February 17th. For more information and to register, click here.
We want to hear from you!
As we gear up to launch our new website and plan our programs and events for the upcoming season, we are looking for your input to help us better serve you and our community of lake lovers.

Please click here to complete our short survey (5 mins or less) by February 28th. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
A Battle for the Future of Androscoggin Lake
Last September, the invasive plant, variable water-milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) was found in Androscoggin Lake by a volunteer Invasive Plant Patroller. In response, a coalition of local, regional, and statewide partners leapt into action.

The coalition included 30 Mile, the Androscoggin Lake Improvement Corporation, Lake Stewards of Maine, the Department of Environmental Protection, and a dedicated team of volunteer Invasive Plant Patrollers.

This video captures the majesty of the imperiled lake and the actions we are taking to save it. 

Stay tuned this spring and summer for how you can get involved in our efforts to protect ALL our lakes from invasive aquatic plants.
Support Our Efforts to Pass Key Legislation
LD 184: An Act to minimize the propagation of invasive aquatic plants

This bill would require boaters to remove drain plugs, and empty live wells and bilge tanks when leaving a waterbody, helping to prevent the spread of invasive species through standing water. In addition to plants, species of most concern are Zebra mussels and spiny water fleas, which can survive for a long time in standing water. 

30 Mile and our partners statewide strongly support passing this bill and we encourage you, as someone who cares about our lakes, to help us advocate. 

Here’s how you can help: The public hearing was February 10th and the bill will now be taken up in a work session by the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. If your state representative or senator is a member of this committee, we encourage you to send them a personal message requesting their support of this bill. Residents of Fayette, Mt. Vernon, New Sharon, and Vienna: Senator Russell Black is on this committee (Russell.Black@legislature.maine.gov).

Click here for a fact sheet about the bill.
Welcome 30 Mile's New Staff Member
Lori Putnam, Communications and Development Director

I have lived in Mount Vernon many years, the last seven on Minnehonk Lake. I have strong ties to this community, having been a long-time educator at Maranacook High School, eventually as its principal. Mount Vernon, like many small towns in this area, is an idyllic place to live and grow with its thriving community and beautiful surroundings.

Recently, I worked at Kents Hill School as the Associate Director of Advancement. It was there that I grew to understand the importance of philanthropy more fully and the rewards of engaging others to become a part of something meaningful. It was also at that time I discovered the 30 Mile River Watershed Association through a co-worker who was on the Board. One conversation with Lidie, the Executive Director, compelled me to want to be involved. I served on the Board for a couple of years until my hectic schedule made that commitment challenging. However, I have continued to stay involved as a member of the Development Committee, working with an amazing team of lake lovers.

Although I have always appreciated Maine’s beautiful lakes, it was not until I became involved with 30 Mile that I came to understand just how fragile our lakes are. They are precious gifts and I am honored to now be working with 30 Mile in a more official capacity for a cause that is important to me: preserving and protecting our lakes.
A mystery Samaritan has been out early in the morning maintaining a skating rink on Minnehonk Lake. To that person, thank you for giving us another way to get outdoors, socialize safely, and enjoy the lake.
Fixing a Big Problem in a Small Town
Culvert Project Complete on the Sandy River Road

After years of planning, the culvert replacement project on the Sandy River Road at the outlet of David Pond where it flows into Parker Pond was completed in November. This stream crossing had been a chronic problem for many years and was identified in 2011 during 30 Mile’s Parker Pond Watershed Survey as being one of the biggest erosion threats to Parker Pond’s water quality. The road sat atop the 200+ year-old remains of the saw and grist mill, with a 3-foot culvert embedded in it. There were many concerns about this site including 1) water quality impacts due to the eroding banks and crumbling roadway; 2) barrier for fish passage 3) insufficient culvert size to handle high flows, making a washout or total failure likely, and 4) public safety.

Through two DEP grant programs*, 30 Mile was awarded $175K to help fund the $329K project. The Town of Chesterville funded the remaining cost. 30 Mile managed the project. 

Before and After photos:
The new open bottom aluminum culvert spans 22 feet, is 38 feet long, and will handle 100-year peak flows. It will benefit Parker Pond’s water quality, improve habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, ensure public safety and provide a much-improved road for the town. Connected to this project, a second project on the Sandy River Road was completed last fall with support of additional grant funding awarded to 30 Mile from the DEP. The road on both sides of the culvert now has new ditches, rock check dams, rip-rapped plunge pools, and a new paved and crowned road surface, all best practices to help manage the high levels of water flowing down both hills to the stream. By getting the water off the road and allowing it to infiltrate, the pollution flowing into Parker Pond has been greatly reduced to protect water quality.

*$95,000 grant provided by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for Stream Crossing Public Infrastructure Improvements Projects. $80,000 grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The funding is administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with EPA
Become a Watershed Warrior
Join our growing group of monthly contributors by becoming a Watershed Warrior. This dependable support is vital to keep our programs thriving throughout the year, helping us better achieve our mission.

For more information on all the ways to support 30 Mile, visit our website.

Photo by Michael O'Malley
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