Latest News About Highland Lake

Secchi Observations for 2019

posted Oct 18, 2019, 8:06 AM by Joseph Bickard

The attached plot shows all the Secchi observations for Highland Lake for 2019, from a little after ice-out, to the end of August.

Note Tom B., John W. and I made the first observations, then Karen W., Paige Mallory, and Alayna McNally began on June 3, then David N. started observing nearly every day on July 1. With few exceptions, Paige and Alayna had the shallowest observations. 

Compared to 2018, this year's observations had somewhat a plateau mid June through mid July, and since then tracked rather closely to 2018, including the steep improvement during August.


Click to enlarge.


Plant Survey at Highland Lake

posted Sep 4, 2019, 12:22 PM by Joseph Bickard

Plant Survey at Highland Lake


Field work for the lake plant survey for Highland Lake was completed on July 19. Dennis Roberge of Lake Stewards of Maine Invasive Plant Patrol, Prof. Karen Wilson's students Paige Mallory, Sarah, and Alayna, assisted. It took nearly 100 people hours over eleven days. We found none of the notorious invasive lake plants such as Eurasian water-milfoil or Hydrilla, but we did note for the first time Nightshade (Bittersweet) (scientific name Solanum dulcamara) intruding into the stream channel water at the north end of the lake. I understand from local gardeners that it is widespread in the wild. Over a quarter century time, I have identified nearly one hundred different species. Until I finish the data analysis, probably late this winter, I won't know the species count for this year, and more importantly, what changes happen over time.

Keith Williams

July 23, 2019

(Photo of Eurasion Milfiol – so

HLA Annual Meeting - July 18, 2019

posted Aug 4, 2019, 12:37 PM by Joseph Bickard   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 12:43 PM ]

HLA Annual Meeting Minutes                 : 

July 18, 6:00 - 7:30

Cornerstone Church

 

1.     Welcome- Rosie Hartzler

2.     Dr. Karen Wilson, USM Professor and Program Manager for Water Quality Sampling Regimen at Highland Lake gave an update on the water quality work being done on Highland Lake.  (see attached power point presentation)  

·      Pursuing the primary question – What caused the bloom in 2014 – 17?  We studied the heck out of the lake in 2018 and then the bloom did not occur.  Body of evidence indicates that it is a complex set of factors contributing to the bloom:  weather, nutrients, picocynobacteria, alewives, human activity.  

·      Primary learnings from 2018 testing:  (results still coming in) 

Secchi Disk readings from 11 sites on the lake indicated that water clarity is pretty much the same over the entire lake.

Total Phosphorus readings (volume of TP)  increased at the upper depths of the lake during the middle of the summer (July 24, 2018),   then dropped quickly back to normal (around 10-12  ppb.) 

The big question remains: Where did the extra phosphorus come from and where did it go after the bloom?

·      The dominant form of cyanobacteria is not toxic.

·      In the spring during the clear water phase many zooplankton present…. They start to disappear during the summer.. many reasons ( they get eaten, life cycle ends).

·      What is being observed already from 2019 sampling?

This year has been wetter and colder than 2018 summer

Alewife arrival was later, but due to increased water levels, adults were able to leave the lake over the lip of the dam.  Alewife count was about 35,000 – less than the 65,000 in 2018. 

Water temps at bottom of the lake actually warmer now than in 2018.  Impact of a lot of wind and rain. 

Water clarity measuring around 4 meters (STD) for past few weeks..

Lower levels of Dissolved Oxygen at bottom of the lake.

Total phosphorus is higher in June 2019, actually higher than at any time last year.   – may be related to a rainy spring leading to more run off from erosion

Sampling the sediments as potential way to discover where excess phosphorus may be coming from. 

 

3.     Watershed Based Management Plan. (WBMP) – Wendy Garland  and Heather Huntt

(See attached power point presentation) 

We must limit the amount of phosphorus going into the lake!

How do we keep phosphorus from the lake? Need to continually be vigilant in regards to potential erosion from water shed properties, mal functioning septic systems, camp road erosion ending up in the lake.  . 

Technical Assistance Committee tasked to develop a  WBMP that we can follow over the next 10-20 years.

 

A Range of Watershed assessments are included in the plan: 

·      Watershed Survey – The final Report is available at http://www.highlandlakemaine.org/latest-news-about-highland-lake/2018highlandlakewatershedsurvey

·      Septic system survey…. Presently being done by towns of Falmouth and Windham

·      Stream crossings

·      Impervious surfaces analysis – related to the septic system review

·      Outreach to small farming operations in the area

·      Assessment of other possible pollution sources

 

Watershed Based Management Plan – key components

·      Fix problem sites identified in the Watershed Survey – 129 identified sites

·      Reduce septic system impacts

·      Maintain/upgrade roads and implement best management practices

·      Maintain ongoing support from towns, road associations, lake association

·      Implement Water quality monitoring per status of the lake

 

Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) looking for feedback from watershed residents and towns of Falmouth and Windham.  The goal of the TAC plan is to submit a plan to the DEP by December, 2019

 

4.              BOD slate for 2019 – 2020 –presented by Tom Verlee

List of persons to be approved:

                        Cathy Costa

                        Tim Hawkins

                        John MacKinnon

                        Kim White

                        Keith Williams

                        Jolaine Ricci   

                        Kevin McElearney

 

Motion made  and seconded to accept the above persons.  Unanimously approved.

 

5.              Chantal Scott  recognized for her contributions to the HLA board for over 10 years.


6.              Watershed Grant Implementation Committee – Kevin McElearney

The HLA received two grants from the Towns of Windham and Falmouth , $13,500 and $10,000 respectively .  These are match grants to be utilized to mitigate erosion sites as noted in the 2018 Watershed Survey. ( see attached powerpoint presentation)

 Methodology used by the committee:

·      Communication with watershed residents regarding the grant opportunities

·      Education – A Buffer workshop held in June

·      Support to homeowners regarding how to best remediate erosion problems

·      Sponsorship

 

The HLA implemented a grants from Town of Windham during the 2018  season. 

This season, the HLA is again taking responsibility to implement grant funding in     Highland Lake Watershed. 

9 applications for grant funding approved so far this summer

60% of money still available. More applications are being processed

In a tally of all sites identified in the Watershed Survey, 15 sites completed, 6 of which were high impact sites

 

7.              Ordinance updates – Dennis Brown

            (see attached presentation)

·      Maximum Phosphorus amount allowed  from building project limited to .020 lbs/ acre/ year

·      Mandatory 3rd party review of all projects that come before the Planning Board

 

8.              Finances – Dennis Brown

 

9.              Fundraising – Dennis Brown


 

Meeting preceded by barbecue in lower level of the church;   barbecue hosted and totally funded by Cornerstone Church members and led by Ben and Vicki Adler, pastoral team. 

Business meeting held in sanctuary of the Cornerstone Church 

Buffer Blitz Workshop

posted Jun 25, 2019, 1:54 PM by Joseph Bickard

On Thursday, June 13, as the rain poured down, an engaged crowd  participated in the Buffer Blitz Workshop sponsored by the Highland Lake Association  (HLA) at the Cornerstone Church from 5 – 7 pm .   The workshop was all about empowering  homeowners to implement best practices in caring for their properties, because what goes on in the watershed properties implicitly impacts water quality in the lake. Discussion was lively during and after  a set of presentations.

 John Maclaine Non Point Source Training Center Coodinator,  Department of Environmental Protection,  led off the evening with a presentation, “Why buffers matter”   He emphasized the importance of residents doing everything that they can to restore their property to what it might have been prior to development.  Planting various types of vegetation in order to create varying levels of a canopy is an ongoing project .

Chris Brewer, Project Admininstrator at Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District encouraged folks to think about implementing “Lake Smart Practices “ on their property.  His presentation included audience participation in an exercise where folks evaluated properties as “Good, Bad or Ugly” according to how that property reflected lake smart practices. 

Then Chris Hanson, Director of the Code Enforcement Office in Windham interacted with the audience on a  number of topics ranging from “What are the rules about cutting trees in the shoreland zone?” to “Can I dig a hole to plant one item along the shoreline?”  Chris encouraged folks to see the Code Enforcement office as a resource.  “If you have a question, come see us.  Some projects require permitting, and some do not.  Use our office as a resource.”

In the final presentation of evening,  Kevin McElearney, resident on the Pride Farm Road and member of the Grant Implementation Committee presented  the process by which  residents could apply for grant money in order to assist them in mitigating erosion sites that were identified in the Watershed Survey.  Residents in the Highland Lake watershed had received letters notifying them of the erosion issues on their property.  If a resident needed assistance, financial or technical, the HLA wanted to help. 

The evening included a lot of pertinent information and also provided the opportunity for residents to interact with landscapers, municipal officials,  HLA representatives, and local agencies, regarding  questions about the best way to correct erosion issues. 

John Maclaine and Chris Brewer presentations are below. 

ALEWIFE FISH COUNT 2019

posted May 11, 2019, 4:46 PM by Joseph Bickard   [ updated May 11, 2019, 4:47 PM ]

...... AN EMAIL FROM BEN LIBBY......

Thank you for your interest in being a part of this years' alewife fish count!
You and I and will be spending the next month or so taking turns to count river herring (alewives) as they make their way from the ocean into Highland Lake to spawn. 

In addition to giving you the information about our project, I'd like to use this email to introduce myself! My name is Ben Libby and I am interning with the University of Southern Maine and the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, who have joined together to help get our community involved with aquatic ecosystem monitoring. I am an Environmental Science major at USM and this past semester, I have been studying water quality at Mill Brook. I'm excited to meet all of you and make this program as fun and successful as possible!

For those of you who have not done this sort of thing before, you and I will meet for a small individual training session prior to your first scheduled count time. You can reach me through email, at intern@prlt.org, or cell phone (207-894-8286). If I don't answer a phone call, please feel free to leave a voicemail or a text message and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

If you'd like to be a volunteer, please fill out some basic info here!

After filling out your info,  click here to set up a time slot! Note that you are signing up for a 3 hour time slot, however, each person has to count for ONLY 30 MINUTES within the time that you signed up for!


Best,

Ben Libby 
University of Southern Maine
Environmental Science & Policy 
(207)-894-8286

2018 HIGHLAND LAKE WATERSHED SURVEY

posted Mar 31, 2019, 2:55 PM by Joseph Bickard   [ updated Mar 31, 2019, 2:57 PM ]

The 2018 Highland Lake watershed survey is available here.

WATERSHED SURVEY 2018

posted Feb 24, 2019, 9:57 AM by Joseph Bickard   [ updated Feb 24, 2019, 9:58 AM ]

What is going on with the results of the Watershed Survey?

Residents in the Highland Lake Watershed may be wondering what the next steps are following the Watershed Survey that occurred in May 2018. 

This is quite a process that we as a community are engaging in.  This process involves multiple agencies, multiple funding mechanisms, multiple challenges, and multiple levels of decision-making.

The goal of this article is to inform you, the public, regarding the process that is ongoing following the Watershed Survey, and how that process will impact not only residents in the Highland Lake Watershed, but also the Towns of Windham and Falmouth.   

2018 Watershed Survey Findings

Just to review, following the survey in May and quality control of all results, a spread sheet was created that listed the 129 identified Erosion Sites. The pie chart here depicts the Erosion Sites by impact on the lake:

 


 

65 sites–Low Impact;   40 sites-Medium Impact;   24 sites–High Impact

 

These sites were categorized by the impact / priority status assigned to a site according to the specific land use:

 

                                                IMPACT / PRIORITY

Land Use                  High   Medium        Low                Grant Total

 

Residential                     4            17               42                           63

Private Road                 10          11                  6                           27

Boat Access                    3             3                  3                             9

Driveway                         1             1                  5                             7

Trail / Path                      1             2                  4                             7

Construction site           0             3                  0                             3

Town Road                      2             1                  1                             4

Beach Access                  2             2                  4                             8

Stream Crossing             1             0                  0                             1

_____________________________________________________

GRAND TOTAL               24         40                 65                          129

In October 2018, letters were mailed to residents and representatives of private road associations with information about the site that had been identified on their property or private road, with suggestions for repairing the erosion site.  

As noted above, the largest number of identified sites were classified as Low Impact, and therefore most likely would not require a high cost to repair the erosion issue. The Highland Lake Association is available to follow-up with landowners and representatives of road associations in the Spring of 2019 with advice to repair low impact sites.

When a site is deemed of Medium or High Impact, there may be circumstances where the homeowner or the road association will need financial assistance to repair the erosion site.


Next Steps to Address Identified Erosion Issue Sites

This is where the process gets interesting, as there is a variety of funding sources for repairing erosion sites.  One of the misconceptions that folks may have is that following the Watershed Survey, Highland Lake can expect to receive money from the EPA and DEP to remediate problematic erosion sites.  While it is true, that the likelihood that the HLA will be eligible for funding to remediate issues at Highland Lake, it is going to take a significant amount time to apply for this funding.  Funding may not be “on line” to remediate erosion sites at Highland Lake before the 2021 season. 

This undoubtedly will come as a rude surprise!  Why do we have to wait so long?  And what do we do in the interim?  There are issues that need to be corrected in the watershed sooner rather than later.  How are we going to meet this need?

So here is an attempt to explain why it requires so much time to apply for and become eligible for government money.  Below is a flow chart that represents how the process works from the time that the Watershed Survey was conducted to the projected time when the Highland Lake Association would be eligible for 319 funding to be utilized in the mitigation of erosion sites in the Highland Lake Watershed. 

This process includes a lot of moving parts, as it is a collaborative effort by the Highland Lake Association (HLA), Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation istrict (CCSWCD), Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP), Highland Lake Leadership Team (HLLT), and the Towns of Windham and Falmouth. 


MAY 2018 

 
Highland Lake Watershed Survey Conducted


MAY 2018

 


With Town funding, CCSWCD wrote a grant proposal to MDEP and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a Watershed Management Plan that will serve as the basis for applying for funds to repair erosion sites identified in the Highland Lake Watershed Survey.


DECEMBER 2018

 


CCSWCD awarded grant funding to work with a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to develop an updated Highland Lake Watershed Management Plan. Funding provided partially by EPA under Section 604(b) of the Clean Water Act. The Technical Advisory Committee includes representatives from MDEP, HLA, and the Towns of Windham and Falmouth.


DECEMBER 2018 - DECEMBER 2019 

 


TAC to focus on action items to serve as basis for watershed plan. Some of these include:

·      Septic Survey

·      Watershed Survey Final Report (1/2019)

·      Ordinance Updates

·      Phosphorous Loading Modeling

·      Community Outreach / Public Involvement

·      Survey of BMPs Previously Installed throughout Watershed




SPRING 2020

 


Once an updated Highland Watershed Management Plan has been completed and approved, CCSWCD to apply for EPA/MDEP Section 319 Clean Water Act grant funds to address erosion sites identified throughout the Highland Lake Watershed.




January 2021 

 


Earliest potential date for EPA/MDEP grant funds to become available to address Highland Lake’s erosion sites. 

 

2018 Watershed Projects

So, the question remains:  Given that grant funding from the EPA will not come “on line” until the 2021 season, what are our options?

One source for funding in 2018 came from the Town of Windham.  The HLA was awarded a $10,000 Watershed Protection Grant from the Town of Windham.  With cash match from two participating road associations, two high priority sites that had been identified in the Watershed Survey were repaired:  The Swan Road ROW and a portion of Highland Shore Road. 

Swan Road ROW



Highland Shore Road

Then there is the myriad of additional residential and road sites that await remediation.

Since the projected funding from the EPA will not be coming online until 2021, the HLA will be seeking funding from sources like the Town of Windham to be utilized as match money when applied to the mitigation of residential and road sites within the Highland Lake Watershed during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. 

 

At this point HLA is collaborating with several agencies to develop the Watershed Management Plan. Your input as well as questions and suggestions are welcome.  Please feel free to contact any member of the Technical Advisory Committee:

 

Heather Huntt, Project Coordinator, CCSWCD, hhuntt@cumberlandswcd.org

Rosie Hartzler, President, HLA  rosie.works.maine@gmail.com

Kim White, V. Pres of HLA  KimWhite590@gmail.com

Gretchen Anderson, Town of Windham, gaanderson@windhammaine.us

Wendy Garland, DEP,  wendy.garland@maine.gov

Jeff Dennis, DEP, Jeff.Dennis@maine.gov

Kimberly Darling, Town of Falmouth, KDarling@falmouthme.org 

Rosie Hartzler's Powerpoint presentation to the Windham Town Council on Dec 18.

posted Dec 20, 2018, 1:56 PM by Joseph Bickard   [ updated Dec 20, 2018, 2:15 PM ]

Rosie Hartzler's Powerpoint presentation to the Windham Town Council on Dec 18.   An update on the implementation of the WATERSHED PROTECTION GRANT.

October Update on Water Quality at Highland Lake

posted Dec 20, 2018, 1:26 PM by Joseph Bickard

October Update on Water Quality at Highland Lake
Dr. Karen Wilson and Rosie Hartzler

You may be wondering, What was the result of the testing this summer? Some of you may have heard that the bloom did not occur to the extent that it has occurred in the past. What is the verdict on Highland Lake? This report is not a set of conclusions, but an update on what we know at this point.

It was a summer of extensive and in-depth testing.

Karen Wilson (USM), Jeff Dennis, (DEP), Linda Bacon (DEP), and Keith Williams (HLA) collaborated on the development and implementation of a testing program that included 2 interns plus a cadre of volunteers from the HLA.

The goal of this summer’s testing program was to identify the cause (s) of the bloom.

Three hypotheses were explored:
1. Is Phosphorus a major contributor to the bloom?
2. Is there something occurring in the Food Web dynamics that is driving the bloom?
3. Is climate change contributing to the bloom?
4. Or is it some combination of all 3?


This update will focus on a discussion of the following items:

1. How the testing was conducted.

2. What has been discovered so far and what it means:

        a. Secchi Disk readings
        b. How was the bloom different this year?
        c. Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature readings and what clues they might provide in figuring out why the bloom                     occurs in HL.
        d. What about the impact of the alewives?
        e. Low Lake Levels
        f. Green cotton candy like substance appearing in shallow water – metaphyton in HL and what it means
        g. Phosphorus – what is going on?
        h. Toxicity (or not) of cyanobacteria
        i. Bathymetry (re. calculation of depths in HL)



1. How the testing was conducted:
Description of the full sampling program and why it was devised the way that it was

Measurements

Objective

Picocyanobacteria (Pcy) Bloom Toxicity

Assess potential toxicity of the Pcy bloom

Limnology: Secchi depth/transparency

Defines "bloom“

Limnology: dissolved oxygen/ temperature

Quantifies water column structure (temp) and biological activity (DO) by depth

Total Phosphorus (TP)

To evaluate the role of TP in controlling & supporting bloom:  understanding how and when TP moves vertically in the water column, how mass of TP changes over time and how these relate to onset and crash of the Pcy bloom

Algal pigments (chlorophyll, phycocyanin &, if possible, phycoerythrin)

Epilimnetic core allows comparison to previous years; other depths help track movement of algal community within and above the metalimnion

Water column Aluminum, Iron & TP interactions

Rule out possibility that Al and/or Fe are involved with accumulation of P in epilimnion

Pcy taxonomy: eDNA

Characterize the taxonomic composition of the picocyanobacteria

Food web interactions: eDNA

Measure change over time in DNA signals of smaller organisms in the food web

Zooplankton

Species composition and size distribution

Adult alewife migration

Size and timing of the spawning alewife run affects the size and growth of the YOY alewife population and, indirectly, the impact on the trophic web.

Juvenile alewife growth, abundance & habitat use

Characterize the relationship of juvenile alewife to other food web parts, measure timing of population and individual growth, changes in prey items over time, and lake habitat use

Shallow sediment Aluminum, Iron & Phosphorus content

Assess the potential for phosphorus release from sediments that come in contact with the metalimnetic dissolved oxygen minima

Bathymetry

More accurately track changes in phosphorus mass over time and estimate the extent of sediment in contact with the metalimnetic DO minima.

2. What has been discovered so far:

a. Secchi Disk readings

One question researchers wanted to answer: Was the water clarity the same at all points on Highland Lake? Following a “Secchi Blitz” where a group of HLA volunteers took daily readings at 13  designated sites on HL from mid-July through the end of August, accumulating over 340 Secchi disk readings, it was confirmed that water clarity was uniform all over Highland Lake in 2018. 

Why does this matter?

One reason is that when the bloom occurred during the summers of 2014 – 2017, researchers wondered if the intensity of the bloom (when water clarity was obstructed by the presence of the picocyanobacteria) was different in the deep areas of the lake from what was occurring in shallower parts of the lake. 

Our 2018 data suggest that the bloom is uniformly distributed. Another question researchers wanted to know was how well secchi disk depth readings (a measure of water clarity) track chlorophyll measurements in the lake. Chlorophyll is the pigment used by algae cells to photosynthesize so we use it as a measure of the number of algae in the lake. 

Turns out water clarity measurements and chlorophyll measurements were strongly related in 2018, strengthening our assumption that it is algae (in this case picocyanobacteria) that is reducing water quality. 

See chart below of how Secchi Disk Readings correlate with Chlorophyll readings go to link for this chart .




See plot below of nearly 400 Secchi readings that were made on Highland Lake this year, going through the end of September.  Submitted by Keith Williams



b. How was the bloom different this year? 

 Why didn’t the water get as cloudy as it did in 2017?

Obviously the scientists were surprised by this, as were everyone else. There are a lot of questions about what did happen. Did the bloom occur, but possibly at a deeper level in the lake? In other words, water clarity did drop to a level of about 3 meters,  and then almost immediately began to improve.

c. Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature readings and what clues they might provide.

Karen Wilson and Jeff Dennis think the unusual pattern of the lake’s dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles might provide some explanations as more samples are analyzed this fall. 

Highland Lake, like most other lakes in Maine, experiences stratification, which basically means the separation of lakes into three layers: Epilimnion: the well-mixed warm top layer, Metalimnion (or thermocline): the middle layer, where temperature changes sometime dramatically from top to bottom, and the Hypolimnion: the bottom layer, isolated from the top of the lake. 

Many more productive lakes experience a loss of oxygen in the hypolimnion, but in Highland Lake, the lowest oxygen levels are actually in the metalimnion, and recover somewhat in the hypolimnion. 

Depth-specific measurements of nutrients, chlorophyll, and environmental DNA (all still being analyzed) should help determine if that oxygen minima in the metalimnion is related to the picocyanobacteria bloom. Stay tuned!






d. What about the impact of the alewives?

Alewives - Volunteers observing incoming alewife at the top of the fish ladder, count a record number of adult alewives (estimated at 65,000) migrating into HL this spring to spawn. 

One hypothesis was that alewife eat the zooplankton that eat the algae in the lake – more alewife might result in more algae (causing the bloom of years past). 

We now have three years with alewife numbers around 40,000 and blooms, one year with alewife numbers around 6,000 and a bloom, and now one year with record high numbers and no bloom.

As of September 27th, juvenile alewife were still in the lake, although there are fewer of them and those that remain have grown considerably since this summer. Most if not all should leave as lake levels rise and flows down Mill Brook make their migration to the estuary easier.



Zooplankton, eaten by larval and juvenile fish of all species, were sampled bi-weekly or weekly throughout the summer. Zooplankton are the primary food of juvenile alewives. 

Zooplankton samples have not yet been counted, but one interesting result from this summer is that there appears to be more zooplankton in the water column at night than during the day. In many lakes, larger zooplankton typically spend the daylight hours in the dark bottom waters of the lake, and then migrate to the surface waters to feed at night to avoid being eaten by fish during the day – and this appears to be happening in Highland Lake. Water samples will be analyzed for environmental DNA to help identify zooplankton in the lake.

e. Low Lake Levels

This summer was unusually hot and humid with a record number of days where the dew point reached 70. Rainfall during June and July was low, yet rainfall in August was above average. Usually more rain leads to more runoff which leads to increased levels of phosphorus in the lake leading to algal blooms.

There is no evidence yet to indicate that lower than usual lake levels contributed to the fact that we did not have the typical bloom.

The Highland Lake Association is very concerned about the reported lower than usual lake levels this summer. We are committed to figuring out to best way to regulate lake levels, in the effort to allow enough water flow to enable the alewives to efficiently leave the lake, but also to maintain water levels sufficient for home owners to dock boats safely.


f. Green cotton candy like substance appearing in shallow water – metaphyton in HL and what it means

Metaphyton, a type of algae that looks like cotton candy showed up intermittently in the shallower areas of the lake during July and August. "This is nothing new", reports Keith Williams. "There are multiple types of metaphyton and they come and go in Highland Lake".

Picture of metaphyton taken at a dock on the west side of the lake at the south end of the lake in mid-September.




g. Phosphorus – what is going on?

What did the data tell us about phosphorus levels in HL? Results of phosphorus sampling revealed some very interesting data.




This chart shows during the 2018 season, Phosphorus readings spiked during and after the worst secchi readings. However, this year we learned that phosphorus levels appear to be highest in the metalimnion – the same area of the lake with low oxygen levels. Again, we think this is connected to the bloom, but waiting for more data to make further conclusions.

Levels of Phosphorus, averaging above 10 ppb in Highland Lake have created concern among residents. These data led the Highland Lake Association to initiate two ordinance changes in the Town of Windham: (1) Any development must demonstrate that it will mitigate potential phosphorus at a level of 0.020 lb / acre / year. (2) A developer is no longer allowed to “pay to pollute “ – in other words, a developer used to be able to pay a stormwater compensation fee in lieu of mitigating potential phosphorus that might be generated by a development.


h. Toxicity (or not) of cyanobacteria

Another concern that folks have is whether the picocyanobacteria is toxic. Samples of the cyanobacteria have been sent to a specialty lab at UNH and the results are pending

 i. Bathymetry (re-calculation of depths in HL)

The Bathymetry project was completed. This project focused on re-calculating the depths of the water in all sections of Highland Lake. We were able to complete this project due to the generosity of Lakes Environmental Association who allowed the HLA to borrow the necessary equipment.

See map below:




SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

1. After one season of the most intensive and comprehensive water quality sampling program ever at Highland Lake it is important to remember that one year does not a trend make. However, considerable progress was made understanding how Highland Lake “works,” putting us far ahead of where we were last year, and allowing us to fine tune our hypotheses and efforts.

2. A more complete picture of what occurred in Highland Lake this summer will be forthcoming – and this is going to test your patience – but given the way that labs process samples, these results should be available in November or December.

3. The Highland Lake Leadership Team is discussing the possibility of holding a Highland Lake Public Forum in early 2019. Stay tuned.

4. For more information, contact Rosie Hartzler, President Highland Lake Association. Rosie.works.maine@gmail.com

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