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!
AWWA’s approach to watershed planning follows the US Environmental Protection Agency’s nine element format (a-i) which qualifies the plan to receive government grants to help implement the recommendations.
This comprehensive and collaborative process results in an effective tool for lake associations, local officials, residents, state officials, and nonprofit organizations to protect their water resources. With the generous support of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, AWWA and its partners have successfully put into practice many of the recommended action items.
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 NH DES Watershed Assistance grant to develop a watershed-based management plan (WBMP) for the high-quality 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 (SFHLWMP), developed with stakeholder input, helps direct AWWA’s project and outreach efforts.
Partners with AWWA on the SFHLWMP 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 SFHLWMP 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.
For more information download the Salmon Falls Headwater Lakes Watershed Management Plan Executive Summary or the full Salmon Falls Headwater Lakes Watershed Management Plan.
In 2012, directors of the Province Lake Association was awarded a grant to develop a watershed plan for their impaired lake. The goal of the process was to figure out why the lake was experiencing frequent cyanobacteria blooms and what could be done to remedy the problem. The “Province Lake Watershed Management Plan” was presented to a full house at the Province Lake Golf Course in July 2014. The plan identified several areas that need attention to bring the lake back to health including septic systems, shoreline best management practices (BMPs), roads, municipal ordinances and land conservation, recreation/boating, and water quality monitoring.
For more information download the Province Lake Watershed Management Plan Executive Summary or the full Province Lake Watershed Management Plan.
Watershed Plan Implementation Projects
Both Maine DEP and NH DES require USEPA approved Watershed Management Plans before they will accept grant proposals for their implementation funds. AWWA has been awarded grants from both states to implement recommendations from both the Salmon Falls Headwater Lakes Watershed Management Plan and the Province Lake Watershed Management Plan. In NH funding for these projects is provided in part by a Watershed Assistance Grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services with Clean Water Act Section 319 funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In Maine, funding for these projects is provided in part by a Watershed Assistance Grant from the ME Department of Environmental Protection with Clean Water Act Section 319 funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All of these funds must be matched by local contributions of cash, labor and in-kind donations.
The four NHDES grants to support work in the Salmon Falls watershed include development of the watershed plan, Youth Conservation Corps for residential erosion control, engineering for road management plans and construction, watershed surveys, outreach and community presentations and water quality monitoring support.
The three Maine DEP grants to support work in the Salmon Falls watershed include YCC work, engineering and construction for five private gravel roads in the Great East Lake and Wilson Lake watersheds, septic surveys and outreach activities designed to enhance knowledge about road and septic system functionality.
The three NHDES grants to support work in the Province Lake watershed include development of the watershed plan, engineering and construction for private and public roads, watershed and septic surveys, septic upgrades cost-share program, residential stormwater management projects, golf course outreach and erosion control, beach clean-ups and outreach materials, and support for water quality monitoring.