Troubling Outbreak in Highland Lake

posted Jun 11, 2017, 9:56 AM by Joseph Bickard   [ updated Jun 20, 2017, 4:33 PM ]

Troubling Outbreak in Highland Lake

June, 2017

Many of you may have noticed that over the past three summers for three to four weeks during July and August, Highland Lake has experienced a sudden change in water clarity.  The culprit has been identified as a form of bacteria.   Although this bacteria is  microscopic, it grows in such large populations that it drastically reduces water clarity.  When the outbreak ends, water clarity returns to normal. 


In order to safeguard the lake and the emotional and financial investments we have in it, we must consider this situation as a serious warning sign of potential trouble ahead.  Since our annual blooms are not a natural occurrence, we must attempt to identify the reasons for this recurring phenomenon.  


Based on the increasing concern about what is going on in Highland Lake and its watershed, the Highland Lake Association applied for and was awarded a $4,000 grant from the Town of Windham. The Association has committed an additional $2,000 from its general fund to study this issue. Funds will be devoted to a project named, Discovery and Highland Lake Recovery with two primary objectives:


1.     To identify what is causing the outbreak of bacteria, and to learn why it is recurring. 

2.     To engage Highland Lake residents in a cooperative effort to finance the study, share its findings, and take corrective action.

A group of Highland Lake Association board members and watershed residents will oversee the Discovery and Highland Lake Recovery Project.  In addition, this phenomenon is being studied extensively by water quality monitors at Highland Lake.  Highland Lake is one of the most studied lakes in Southern Maine.

As information is discovered regarding the outbreak, it will be made available to the Highland Lake watershed community via various media outlets, including the Highland Lake Association web  site.   

The project will be the primary focus of the HLA Annual meeting scheduled for July 20, 2017.

We invite your participation in this ongoing project.  For more information, go to the Highland Lake Association web site:  Questions and comments?  Contact  Rosie Hartzler, co chair of the DHLR project.     Donate to the DHLR project.   Go to the “Donations” section of the Highland Lake Website to donate using PayPal.  You may also write a check to: Highland Lake Association and mail to:   Highland Lake Association,  P.O. Box 1684,  Windham, ME   04062

And Thank You ! !