Watershed Planning

Watershed Planning is the Key to Long Term Protection

Watershed planning is an essential part of managing the way a lake functions, and how much phosphorus (and other pollutants) reach the lake.A watershed plan allows us to look at how much phosphorus reaches a lake, what land use is contributing the most phosphorus to a lake, what the watershed will look like at build out (when all available land is developed) and, most importantly, what actions to take to prevent further damage to the lake. Watershed plans give us the tools to keep lakes clean!

A watershed plan typically consists of a watershed survey and septic survey, followed by modelling the loads of the identified sites and all the land uses in the watershed. The end result is a fairly accurate estimate of the pollutant loads entering the lake at the present and in future years. An action plan is then conceived in order to give guidance to everyone involved about what specific actions need to be taken to correct or fix nutrient related problems. In this way, watershed planning serves as an important means for lake associations, local officials, residents, state officials, and non-profit organizations to come together, voice their concerns, and collaborate to solve problems.

As the initial YCC project period was completed the AWWA Board and partners recognized the need to focus efforts to reduce the effects of stormwater runoff on a broader scale. AWWA was awarded a second NH DES Watershed Assistance grant to develop a watershed-based management plan (WBMP) for the headwaters of the Salmon Falls River including Great East Lake, Horn Pond, Lake Ivanhoe, Lovell Lake and Wilson Lake. These grants are funded through Clean Water Act Section 319 funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Action Plan within the “Salmon Falls Headwater Lakes Watershed Management Plan,” (Plan) developed with stakeholder input, helps direct AWWA’s project and outreach efforts.

Partners with AWWA on the Plan development were FB Environmental Associates, the NHDES, the ME Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP), the Towns of Wakefield, NH and Acton, ME, the Great East Lake Improvement Association, the Lovell Lake Association, the Wilson Lake Association, the Horn Pond Association and the Round Pond (Lake Ivanhoe) Association.

The “Salmon Falls Headwater Lakes Watershed Management Plan” was presented in January of 2010 to 40 members of the Wakefield, NH and Acton, ME communities representing selectmen, planning boards, conservation commissions, land trusts, lake associations and concerned citizens. The plan incorporates interests and ideas expressed by many community members as well as water quality data analysis, on-the-ground observations, land-use modeling, ordinance reviews, and recommendations into what will be a useful and relevant tool to protect the waters of Wakefield and Acton over the next 10 years and beyond.

The members of the Province Lake Association have also taken action and were  awarded a NH Watershed Assistance grant  in 2013 to develop a watershed plan for their lake.  The Province Lake Watershed Based Management Plan was presented in July 2014 AWWA will assist them throughout the project as they determine pollution sources, educate their membership and watershed residents about clean lake activities and fix identified pollution problems. For more information on their plan, click here.