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Watershed Survey Committee

Committee Members: Co - Chairs: Kim White & Rosie Hartzler; Chantal Scott, Donna Pennoyer, John MacKinnon, Keith Williams, Kimberly Darling, Peter Simonson, Gretchen Anderson, Heather True, John MacClaine

Charge: To organize, coordinate and implement the May 19th , 2018 Highland Lake Watershed Survey.

Watershed Survey at Highland Lake

On May 19, 2018, the HLA will conduct a watershed survey on all properties located in the Highland Lake Watershed area. The reason for this survey is the need to determine if there are places in the watershed that are contributing non-point source pollution, the conduit for phosphorus, into Highland Lake. It is important to know that this survey is not for enforcement purposes. This is to inform and motivate all watershed residents to do their part in reducing phosphorus in HL.

You may have heard that phosphorus levels in HL have increased in recent years. Scientists believe that increased phosphorus is the primary driver of the recently observed picocyanobacteria bloom in our lake. While there may be other contributors to this bloom, it is absolutely mandatory that we, the watershed community get a handle on how to reduce phosphorus levels in HL. In order to do this, the water shed survey is a requisite first step.

A Steering Committee (that includes HLA board members and members of the community ), chaired by Kim White and Rosie Hartzler is focused on organizing the detailed implementation of this survey. Heather True, (CCSWCD), and John Maclaine, (DEP) will provide oversight of the survey.

Funding for the survey will be divided equally between the HLA, and the Towns of Windham and Falmouth.

Volunteers are needed for the day of the survey, please contact Chantal Scott at chantal.altavista@gmail.com if you are interested . This is an excellent opportunity for you to engage for a day with the HLA, in learning more about how this watershed is contributing to phosphorus levels in the lake.

What’s all the buzz about the Watershed Survey at Highland Lake?

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?

Watershed Survey Committee Minutes

  • Highland Lake Watershed Survey Committee Meeting Minutes April 12, 2018 Highland Lake Watershed Survey Committee Meeting Minutes April 12, 2018   Members present:  Gretchen Anderson, Kimberly Darling, Rosie Hartzler, John MacKinnon, John Maclaine (DEP), Donna Pennoyer, Peter Simonson, Chantal Scott, Keith ...
    Posted May 10, 2018, 9:07 AM by Joseph Bickard
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