AWWA in Augusta

Yesterday I took a trip up to Augusta, Maine. It tends to be pretty hard to get me to drive around to different areas of Maine. I drive enough for work, and I have everything I need in Portland (i.e. a grocery store, restaurants, and a Reny’s to buy Carhartt’s). I guess what I’m trying to say is it takes something pretty important (like returning a pair of worn down shoes to LL Bean) to get me to venture around to other cities in Maine.

Bean Guarentee

Yes they’re ten years old and my dog chewed on them and they lit on fire that time I went camping, but what am I supposed to do? PAY for new boots?!

Yesterday was no different, because the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources took testimony on L.D 1040, a document which, if passed, would create a funding opportunity for YCC’s working in Maine for the benefit of shorelines.

The capitol building was shining in the Spring light, making a wonderful but deceitful view with strong winds and 30 degree temperatures. The inside of the Cross building where the hearing was held was clean and stately, with long hallways and dozens of rooms where Maine’s future is decided.During the hearing, leaders of several Maine YCC’s spoke to the merits of the programs, both environmental and societal.

The capitol building on a clear and inappropriately freezing first day of April

The capitol building on a clear and inappropriately freezing first day of April

AWWA’s own YCC has been in existence since 2006, and in that period has installed 670 erosion control BMP’s on 172 properties. Youth Conservation Corps programs are expensive, especially since ours doesn’t charge for designs or labor. Additionally, we have to continually buy new tools, keep the truck gassed up and running (an uphill battle), and all the other costs of running a YCC.

By the way, if this is sounding like a thinly veiled plea for money, it is. Feel free to go ahead and click that “Donate” button in the top right corner!

L.D 1040 could help alleviate some of the burden of these costs for the 11 YCC’s in Maine, or help to fund the creation of new YCC’s in areas of the state where teens aren’t spending their summers digging holes to save lakes. In addition to the environmental benefits, YCC’s help to turn today’s teenagers into tomorrow’s informed citizens, and even bring some kids into environmental fields. It certainly did for me, which is what I spoke to yesterday. You can find my testimony below.

Sam Wilson YCC Testimony


Posted in YCC

AWWA Hiring for Youth Conservation Corps

The Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance (AWWA) will once again be hiring a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) this summer. The YCC installs erosion control practices such as infiltration stairways, detention basins, and rain gardens on properties surrounding local waterbodies in the border region of Acton, ME and Wakefield, NH. YCC Crew members learn important team working skills, carpentry, native plants, and landscaping and gardening techniques. Applicants ages 15-19 should enjoy working outdoors, be willing to do highly physical labor, and have a desire to help their local environment and community.


All interested applicants should contact Sam Wilson by email at or by phone at (603) 473-2500 if they need a hard copy of the application.

Applications will be due May 1st.

Check out these pictures of past AWWA YCC Crew!

2014-07-15 09.09.31

The 2014 AWWA YCC Crew installs a shoreline buffer.


The 2013 AWWA YCC Crew installs a set of infiltration steps.


The 2012 YCC Crew Poses with a Rubber Razor before installing it.

2014 crew pizza

The 2014 YCC crew enjoys a hard-earned pizza on their lunch break.


A completed YCC site from 2013 on Great East Lake



Posted in YCC

AWWA 2014 Annual Meeting & Project Tour August 15th

2014 Crew 1

Join AWWA to celebrate the terrific work of our youth crew and road project partners! On Friday, August 15 the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance will hold its 2014 Annual Meeting and Project Tour. The brief business meeting will be held at the Province Lake Golf Club off of Route 153 (18 Mountain Road) in Parsonsfield, Maine beginning at 9:30 am. Attendees will then carpool to selected YCC and road project sites around Province Lake. The Youth Conservation Corps crew will describe their work and showcase the effective and attractive erosion control practices they installed at residences along the shore. The tour group will also visit the road project site at the Towle Farm/Bonnyman Road intersection where the Province Lake Association partnered with the UNH Stormwater Center and the Town of Wakefield to fix chronic drainage issues that were sending polluted runoff directly to Province Lake.Towle Farm hole IMG_6046

Registration is requested so we can prepare for carpooling. Please contact AWWA at (603) 473-2500 or to register or with questions.


Here’s to Another Successful AWWA YCC Season

It is hard to believe that just 8 short weeks ago we were kicking off our 8th Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) season.  We had some veteran crew leaders and one returning crew member, but the rest were looking at their first experience with AWWA…

In that time a lot happens and the changes are amazing.  Not only do these six teenagers and two young adult crew leaders go out everyday and transform eroded water front properties into beautiful landscaped areas, but they grow as individuals. Each member of the crew learns new skills, grows stronger with every wheel barrow load, and experiences adversity, both physically and mentally.

This year, our crew set out on June 24th with a lot on their plates.  We had a lot of projects lined up and more coming in everyday in the earlier part of the season.  Although it took some time (as it always does) to bring everyone up to speed and mesh together as a team, within a few weeks the crew was moving through projects at a great rate.

The pushed through the heat of the middle of summer and tackled every task we set before them with enthusiasm and positive attitudes.  As the YCC season neared an end, the crew was working on all cylinders and having a great time doing it.  It was this attitude that allowed us to complete a record 25 projects across 7 lakes in Wakefield, NH and Acton, ME.  On these sites they installed 101 Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce the flow of polluted runoff to the lakes and infiltrate that runoff into the ground where it can be cleaned by the soils.  These BMPs will stop an estimated 57.2 tons of sediment and 48 pounds of phosphorus from entering the lakes annually!

As the Program Manager and Technical Director, I could not be more pleased with the effort of these 8 individuals and the result of their hard work.  Below are a few pictures of the work they did this summer.  Stay tuned for our annual report and more of our work as we move from this great summer to fall!

Great East Lake – Rip rap shoreline, erosion control mulch, rock terraces, native vegetation, and infiltration trench.

Lovell Lake – Waterbars, dripline trench, and erosion control mulch

Great East Lake – Infiltration Steps

Balch Lake – Infiltration Steps, Erosion Control Mulch, and Native Vegetation

Wilson Lake – Rain garden at the Hawk Road Right of Way

2013 YCC Annual Tour

We will be having our annual meeting and YCC tour on Friday August 16th from 9:30-12. We will be meeting at the Acton Town Hall 9:30 to go over some quick business and then leaving for a tour to see a handful of the 101 BMPs that the crew put in this year across 7 lakes.

Included in the tour are two projects on Hawk Road (Wilson Lake), one project on New Bridge Road (Horn Pond), one project on Rafferty Drive (Great East Lake) and one project on Anderson Cove Road (Great East Lake).  Join us to celebrate the protection of our amazing lakes and the hard work these students put into their summer jobs!


The 8th YCC Season Kicks Off

On Monday, the AWWA Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) kicked off its 8th season of erosion control landscaping.  The past 7 seasons have been a great success with the installation of 476 Best Management Practices (BMPs) on 123 properties across 10 lakes.  These projects have stopped 244 tons of sediment and 207 pounds of phosphorus from entering these lakes annually.

This years crew is led by two veteran members of AWWA.  Anthony Stanton has been a part of AWWA since it began in 2006.  This will be Anthony’s 5 season as crew leader.  He is joined this year by a new crew leader, but by no means a rookie.  Jordan Shepherd has been with the program fro 5 years as a crew member and took over for Sam Wilson this year as crew leader.

The crew is a mixture of experiences, but make up one of the youngest aged crews AWWA has had.  Five crew members are 16 years old at the start of the season while one will be 18 at the end of June.  Two members are returning to AWWA from previous seasons and bring a wealth of knowledge about what AWWA does, why we do it, and how to install many of our erosion control features.

We look forward to a great year and stay tuned for updates on the season!

Posted in YCC