The State of Webber Pond

Summary & Recommendations

Problems in Environmental Science Class

Colby College

 

This summary is provided at the time of the public presentation given at the Vassalboro town office December 5, 2002.  A full report of the study will be published and distributed in the spring of 2003.

Executive Summary

The Colby Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) investigated the water quality of Webber Pond in Vassalboro, Maine from June through December 2002.  CEAT analyzed several factors that contribute to water quality, including physical and chemical measurements, land use patterns, and the impact of residential and commercial development.  All of these measurements were compared and used to compute models, which enabled CEAT to discover the sources of pollution most threatening to the current and future water quality of Webber Pond.  These data were also compared to those collected in previous years to gain a historical perspective.  Water quality is affected by the accumulation of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, due to surface runoff, erosion, and internal nutrient loading.  When concentrations of phosphorus reach threshold levels, a lake can experience algal blooms that decrease the aesthetic, recreational, ecological, and economic value of the lake. 

 

A brief summary of CEAT findings in the Webber Pond watershed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reducing the amount of nutrients entering Webber Pond is necessary for successful remediation.  Properly maintaining roads, preventing shoreline erosion, and modifying or banning products containing phosphorus will help reduce the amount of nutrients entering Webber Pond.  The reduction of internal loading of phosphorus is also important.   Presently, this is addressed through the yearly drawdown.  However, there are several other possible techniques, including phosphorus inactivation and hypolimentic withdrawal that should be considered.  Additional action must be taken to improve water quality for the residents who recreationally use Webber Pond and to protect the native flora and fauna within Webber Pond.

 

 


 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The primary problem facing Webber Pond is cultural eutrophication.  Increased development along the shore accelerates the loading of phosphorus and nitrogen into Webber Pond.  Additionally, the excess phosphorus in the sediment of Webber Pond is recycled through the water column and made available for plant growth by internal loading.  Remediation efforts aimed to limit the quantities of available nutrients must address both of these nutrient sources.  The Maine DEP classifies Webber Pond as eutrophic.  Although water quality has not seen a serious decline in recent years, it remains relatively poor.  The implementation of preventative measures is essential to improve the water quality of Webber Pond.  CEAT has developed several recommendations relevant to this improvement.

 

Monitoring Suggestions

 

Periodic water monitoring is necessary in developing an overview of the water quality at Webber Pond and in locating specific problem sites.  We recommend:

 

            This study reviewed several remediation techniques used in other watersheds and the feasibility of implementing these in Webber Pond.  We recommend:

 

Remediation suggestions

 

Development Control

 

We believe that Webber Ponds water quality is largely impacted by the development occurring along its shores.  Residences contribute to a deteriorated lake health due to their proximity to the main body of water.  The construction of roads and driveways elevates the proportion of impermeable surfaces that surround the lake, and poorly maintained roads can contribute even higher levels of nutrients.  The problems of development and roads are confounded when they are not separated from the lake by a sufficient buffer, and in areas that lack sufficient riprap.  Changes in each of these areas would greatly improve Webber Ponds health, and can occur through regulatory measures, community measures, and residential measures.   We recommend the following measures:

 

Regulatory Measures

 

  Agriculture

      Increasing the number of farms that implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) with the Maine Department of Agriculture (MDA). 

      The MDA monitoring these farms more closely.

 

  Forestry

      Observing town-zoning regulations, particularly in areas with elevated erosion potential such as steep slopes.

 

  Roads

 

  Residential

 

  Cleared Land

 

Nutrient Control

 

The phosphorus loading model predicted that at least 25 percent of the phosphorus in Webber Pond was due to internal nutrient recycling, making it the greatest contributor.  Even if the amount of incoming phosphorus to Webber Pond is limited, phosphorus levels will remain high and still sustain algal blooms.  To reduce internal phosphorus we recommend:

      Continuing the yearly gradual drawdown.  The plan should follow the monitoring suggestions by Maine DEP.  Gradual drawdown should commence before Labor Day, after a severe algal bloom.  Boards should be removed every few days afterwards and all boards should be pulled after Labor Day.

      Investigating the possibility of using the nutrient rich water from hypolimnetic withdrawal for irrigation of Natanis Golf Course.  The golf course could use a longer intake pipe, that would drain water even after drawdown occurred.  Nutrients would be removed from Webber Pond, and the golf course would gain water and nutrients for the holes closest to Webber Pond.

      Investigating the possibility of phosphorus inactivation through the addition of alum.

 

Macrophyte Control

 

The introduction of invasive aquatic plants in lakes has become a serious problem throughout the United States.  Although they have not yet been introduced to Webber Pond, residents should be engaged in vigilance and education efforts to ensure that they are not introduced in the future.  Populations of invasive plants such as Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) can be transported by tiny plant fragments, which make their establishment difficult to prevent.  In addition, the introduction of these non-natives is commonly the result of transfer from recreational boats.  This is a problem for Webber Pond because it has a public boat ramp, which would allows boats carrying plant pieces from other lakes to introduce them into Webber Pond.  Educating residents and others who use the boat ramp about the dangers of depositing plant fragments into the lake may reduce the risk that nuisance non-native plant infestations may occur in Webber Pond.  Also, the implications of increased native macrophytic growth should also be described to and preventative measures should be taken by the Webber Pond Alliance as well as by Webber Pond residents. We recommend the following:

 

Non-natives

 

Excess Native Macrophytic Growth

 

Education suggestions

 

The residents around Webber Pond have the greatest ability to improve the water quality of Webber Pond.  Many of the sources of nutrients, such as roads and runoff due to improper buffer strips, are under their private control.  Residents must be educated regarding how their daily lifestyle affects the water quality of Webber Pond, and about the simple remediation projects they can undertake to benefit the future of Webber Pond.  We recommend:


 

Problem Roads

All of the specific problem areas were found on unpaved camp roads.  These roads present the greatest risk in terms of erosion of sediment and leaching of nutrients from the road surface.  With one exception, all problem areas were found on roads leading directly to Webber Pond, areas where proper drainage and water diversion devices are crucial.  These problem areas are concentrated in areas of residential development.  Intensive use and problems of increased runoff from driveways and lawns can augment the normal rates of erosion and nutrient loading.  Each problem area found has been listed alphabetically by road name. Descriptions of the problem and solutions are listed to aid in the remediation of the affected areas. 

 

Alfred Road culvert damage

Location:  0.1 miles off Town Farm Road

Problem:          Culvert exposed to road surface, pipe is corroding and worn

Remediation:  Need to rebuild road to cover culvert, possible need to replace culvert in                                                 future

 

Jones Road severe erosion

            Location:  0.5 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Erosion evident down the center of road in the direction of Webber Pond

Remediation:   Surface needs work ruts need to be filled, and berm removed

Ditching necessary just before problem area

Crowning would also help to divert water flow

 

Jones Road severe erosion

            Location:  0.4 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Erosion evident and the presence of a berm noted

Remediation:   Surface needs work ruts need to be filled and berm removed

Some ditching necessary        

Crowning to divert water flow                

 

McQuarrie Road severe erosion

            Location:  0.4 miles off Hannaford Hill Road

Problem:          Portion of road washed out, water runs straight down the road

Remediation:   Crowning to divert water flow

Proper ditch construction needed

 

No Name Road (off Fairway Drive) culvert damage

Location:  0.1 miles off Fairway Drive

Problem:          Plastic culvert is exposed and crushed

Remediation:   New culvert pipe needed as well the rebuilding of road to cover culvert

 

Perley Road culvert blockage

            Location:  0.1 miles off Saucier Road

Problem:          Culvert blocked by sediments and organic material

Remediation:   Clearing of debris needed to restore water flow

 

Pleasant Point Road diversion blockage, ditch required

            Location:  0.1 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Diversions present but full of sediments, no ditches present

Remediation:   Clear diversions of debris

Proper ditch construction needed

 

Pleasant Point Road culvert blockage

            Location: 0.2 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Culvert blocked by sediments and organic debris

Remediation:   Clearing of debris needed to restore water flow

 

Pleasant Point Road culvert blockage

            Location: 0.2 miles off Cross Hill road

Problem:          Culvert blocked by sediments and organic material

Remediation:   Clearing of debris needed to restore water flow

Proper ditch construction needed on both sided of culvert

 

Pleasant Point Road culvert blockage

            Location:  0.25 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Culvert damaged, blocked by sediments and organic material

Remediation:   Clearing of debris needed to restore water flow

Repair culvert pipe

 

Pomerleau Road berm present

            Location:  0.1 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Berms present along side of road

Remediation:   Berm removal and the construction of proper ditches needed to divert water flow

 

Pooler Drive severe erosion

            Location:  0.1 miles off Taber Hill Road

Problem:          Severe erosion present in combination with steep slopes

Remediation:   Crowning would help to divert water flow

 

Saucier Road culvert blockage

            Location:  0.1 miles off Cross Hill Road

Problem:          Ditch and culvert blocked by sediments and organic material

Remediation:   Clearing of debris needed to restore water flow

 

Shaefer Lane crown absent

            Location:  0.1 miles off Pleasant Point Road

Problem:          Surface needs work road needs grading, proper crown construction

Remediation:   Diversion needed to channel water from a 4X4 trail