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The Maine Department of Environmental Protection‘s (MDEP) placement of Belgrade’s Long Pond on the impaired lakes list prompted a semester-long Colby research study of Long Pond North and its watershed. Colby students will present their findings at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 7, at the Center for All Seasons gymnasium, located south of Belgrade Lakes Village on Route 27. The presentation is open to the public and should last about 90 minutes.

Students will report on the current water quality of the lake and environmental factors that influence it. In addition, students will make recommendations for maintaining water quality and discuss the nature of the watershed and land-use patterns, past and present.

In recent years, students in the upper-level biology and environmental science course Problems in Environmental Science have studied many lakes in central Maine, including Great Pond, East Pond, Togus Pond, and China Lake. Each year, they present their findings to the public and provide a formal report to the MDEP, town officials, lake associations, and other interested parties.

The MDEP and local lake associations have come to depend on the students’ data in their efforts to protect and improve lake water quality, MDEP officials said. Past research groups from Colby have recommended changes to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the lakes from overland runoff and sediment release. Lake associations have funded follow-up activities to help implement recommendations to abate phosphorus runoff, which leads to algal growth and degrades water quality.

Professors David Firmage and Danielle Garneau oversaw the lakes research conducted by senior Biology: Environmental Science majors. This year, eight Colby seniors participated in the research project.