Summary - Great Pond Watershed Report
Colby College - Problems in Environmental Science (Biology 493) - 1998
The biggest threat to Great Pond is cultural eutrophication.
This is caused by the input of phosphorus and nitrogen
in the watershed accelerated by development and other
activities, especially along the shores of the lake.
All of the towns in the Great Pond Watershed are experiencing
a steady increase in population leading to an increase
in development. While this study shows that Great
Pond is not in immediate danger of severe cultural
eutrophication, there are signs of degrading quality.
It is important to implement preventative measures
in order to mitigate a future decline in water quality.
The Colby Environmental Assessment Team has produced
a set of guidelines that will aid in the long-term
preservation of the water quality of Great Pond.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has
monitored Great Pond at the mid-pond and Hoyt Island
sites (Characterization Sites 1 and 2) since 1974.
In order to obtain more comprehensive analyses of
the water quality of Great Pond additional water testing
should be conducted. We recommend that:
* the number of Characterization Sites be increased
to include the following:
-North Bay (Site 3)
-Pine Island (Site 4)
-Hatch Cove (Site 5)
* phosphorus and transparency testing be conducted at
least three times a year, to account for seasonal changes:
-during the summer months
-in the fall.
* surface and epicore samples be tested for phosphorus
* dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles are taken
on approximately the same date each year at Characterization
Sites 1 and 2.
This report has established that the water quality of
Great Pond is most threatened by development activities
along the perimeter of the lake. Residences on the
shoreline have a potentially large impact on the water
quality of the lake because of their proximity to the
shoreline. Development in the form of driveways and
roads makes the land more impervious to runoff, allowing
it to travel more quickly to the lake water. Lack
of properly maintained buffer strips and rip-rap have
similar effects. Measures can be taken by the township,
the community, and individual residents of the area
to mitigate these effects.
* reduce development on agricultural land and promote
the progression from transitional to old-growth forests
within the watershed
* encourage sustainable forestry practices and avoid
logging near lake shorelines and on steep slopes
* preserve large tracts of mature forest
* conduct regular surveys of the road condition to keep
up maintenance of road trouble spots
* eliminate berms and avoid the formation of potholes
and drainage paths across road surfaces
* keep culverts clean and functional, making certain
that ditches are well-vegetated and ensuring that water
is diverted into a buffered area before entering the
* limit the development of new roads where possible,
especially near the lake
* limit industrial development near lake shorelines
* continue to enforce zoning laws concerning the development
of new homes on shoreline property
* encourage the streamlining of the buffer zone and
rip-rap permit processes through the Maine Department
of Environmental Protection
* special precautions should be taken prior to development
by preventing severe runoff with silt or hay fences
surrounding the construction area
* consider a 30 percent ruling which would trade zoning
lenience for better buffer strip and rip-rap quality
* plant native trees and shrubs over the entire length
of the shoreline in order to improve inadequate buffer
* encourage lake associations or private landowner groups
to raise money to implement maintenance and
upgrading of roads
* focus on road and buffer strip improvement in Pinkhams
* avoid future development in Pinkhams Cove and other
areas with low development suitability
* maintain/create buffer zones of a desired depth from
shore of 75 ft by replanting trees and hedges
* decrease the use of lawn fertilizers
* encourage natural plant growth on residential plots
rather than excessive landscaping
Septic System Recommendations
Septic systems, though hidden from view, can have a
dramatic effect upon the water quality of the nearby
lake through the leaching of phosphorus, nitrogen and
microorganisms. Great Pond is surrounded by a significant
number of residences that require the use of septic
systems. While the individual septic systems do not
pose a significant threat to Great Pond, it is the
aggregate number of systems that can cause problems.
In order to preserve the water quality of Great Pond,
measures need to be taken to lessen such an impact
on the lake water.
* continue the replacement of pre-1974 septic systems
regardless of their functioning status
* encourage the use of the MDEP grant program and Kennebec
Valley Action Program low interest loan programs for
the replacement of septic systems
* establish a maintenance inspection schedule to ensure
that problems are detected as early as possible
* continue regulating the switch from seasonal to year-round
septic system use
* continue to enforce compliance with septic system
regulations and put a stringent standard on the type
system used for new and old tanks
One of the best ways to improve the future water quality
of Great Pond is to inform residents of the watershed
about the impact of their daily activities on the water
quality of Great Pond. The general public may not
be fully aware of the relationship between land use,
development, and water quality.
* encourage the availability of this report to the following:
-residents of the Great Pond Watershed
-Belgrade Lake Association
* Belgrade, Rome and Smithfield school systems could
incorporate lake education into their curriculum and
possibly involve local schoolchildren in the monitoring
of the lake and its surrounding watershed.
* pamphlet production and media attention may be another
source of information for the residents of the area,
promoted by efforts of the Lake Association.
* town officials, in conjunction with the Maine Department
of Environmental Protection, could hold workshop sessions
to educate residents of towns within the watershed
on what defines effective roads and buffer strips.
Overall, the Colby Environmental Assessment Team has
come to the conclusion that Great Pond has good water
quality in comparison to other Belgrade Lakes, though
it is not the best. The threat of accelerated eutrophication
from development within the watershed cannot be underestimated.
It is important to take proper measures to preserve
this invaluable resource.