The Highland Lake Association (HLA) is a registered 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, started in 1989. Our organization is staffed by volunteers from around the lake and is supported by our member dues. Our mission is to preserve, enhance, and protect the natural resources of Highland Lake and its watershed. The HLA has established itself as a leader in watershed education and water quality monitoring.  Protecting water quality remains our top priority. The HLA Water Quality Committee monitors lake water quality using recognized standard methods, including analysis of natural and invasive plant species and coordinates additional testing, education, and personnel as warranted. We collaborate with our local partners, the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Towns of Windham, Falmouth and Westbrook as well as USM, UNH and the DEP to improve and maintain the water quality of Highland Lake for the benefit of the residents, the Towns and future generations. The first summer camps appeared around 1900 on Highland Lake, a lake less than 12 miles from Portland, Maine. There are now more than 500 residences around the lake shore and more than 1000 within the watershed. The area around the dam (Duck Pond corner) served as the industrial center to residential settlement dating back to the late 1700s. The site served as a rag mill as well as a lumber mill. HLA is proud to maintain the lake’s history and dedication to pure enjoyment in pure water! 
HLA welcomes residents along the shoreline and beyond to join in our efforts to keep Highland Lake at its best! 


Thank you to Julia Ellsworth for allowing us to use some of her beautiful photographs, of the northern side of Highland Lake, throughout our website.

Highland Lake Watershed Survey

When is the survey?

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, the Highland Lake Association will be conducting an updated survey of the Highland Lake Watershed.  Such a survey has not been conducted at Highland Lake since 1999.

Why is this so important? 

As you probably have heard or observed, Highland Lake has been experiencing a bloom for the past 4 summers.  Scientists have determined that one of the major contributors to the bloom is too many nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) in the lake. 

Where do these nutrients come from?

In a watershed, eventually everything ends up in the lake.  In the 1999 survey, it was learned that there was a lot of erosion from the private roads around Highland Lake.  This erosion produced too many nutrients in the lake and led to algae blooms. Now here we are almost 18 years later, and we need to figure out if there are particular areas in the HL water shed that are contributing an excess amount of nutrients into the lake. The purpose of the Survey is to identify those sites.   

Is the survey about enforcement?

The short answer is ‘No.”  Because the HLA focuses on advocacy and education, it is the goal of the HLA to cultivate good will with all water shed residents during the survey.  We want to sow the seeds of collaboration and collective action to work together to do what needs to be done to reduce run off into Highland Lake

Who will do the survey?

The Survey will be coordinated by a joint effort of the HLA Watershed Steering Committee, Cumberland  County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Department of Environmental Protection.  In addition, many HL residents have already volunteered for this one day effort to survey the water shed. 


Do you as a property owner have to participate in the survey?

In April, all residents will receive a letter outlining the details of the survey, the advantages of participating in the survey, and the option to not participate.  We hope though that because of your implicit interest in the preservation and protection of the lake, that you will elect to participate in this important survey.

How will I learn the results?

After May 19, the Steering Committee will be working diligently to deliver a set of preliminary results as soon as possible. Homeowners will receive follow up letters with recommendations for how they can improve their property.  In addition, recommendations will be given regarding upgrades to private roads.

The goal will be to update every one regarding the results of the survey at the HLA Annual Meeting on July 19, 2018.

What is the goal of the survey?

The overall goal is to coordinate efforts among all residents to implement strategies that collectively will reduce the flow of nutrients into the lake. If we can reduce nutrients, we can reduce the blooms.


What’s not to love about improving Highland Lake?

HLA is excited to announce the launch of our new Facebook page.  Join us on Facebook and get to know your lakeside community.  Post a photo, make a comment, keep in touch with your neighbors. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/highlandlakemaine.org/

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Alewife Counters Needed

You may have heard of the spring alewife run in Mill Brook, but here’s your chance to see it up close and personal. Alewife are migratory fish that make their way from the ocean into the Presumpscot River and Mill Brook so they can reproduce in Highland Lake before returning to the sea. Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is once again partnering with the University of Southern Maine in the annual migratory fish count-- coordinated by the University of Southern Maine. Volunteers will count fish at the Highland/Mill Brook Dam as they migrate upstream, from mid May to mid June. It is a simple and exciting way to volunteer and experience an exciting natural phenomenon. No experience is needed and a short training will be provided. The time commitment is also short, as count slots are just 30 minutes long. Sign up to volunteer here.

In past years the fish have arrived around May 15 and stopped coming upstream around June 20. PRLT is looking for one volunteer per 3 hour time slot ,to count fish leaving the fish ladder for 30 minutes. Counting occurs between 7 am and 7 pm, 7 days a week. Time slots are taken on a first come – first served basis.

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