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Colby Researchers To Present Findings in Threemile Pond Study on Dec. 4
A semester-long study by Colby student researchers of Threemile Pond and of the environmental factors that influence the lake's water quality will be presented on Thursday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Vassalboro town office. The program is open to the public and should last about one and a half hours.
Colby students will report that water quality measurements revealed causes for concern for both future water quality and fisheries. Recommendations for improving water quality will be presented. The Colby study will complement an extensive study completed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) in September 2003. In recent years students in the upper-level biology and environmental science course "Problems in Environmental Science" have studied many of the lakes in the region, including Webber 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 in their efforts to protect and improve lake water quality have come to depend on the students' data, MDEP officials say. Past research groups from Colby have recommended changes in land use within the watersheds to try to reduce the amount of phosphorus that runs off land into the lakes. Phosphorus that enters the lakes becomes a nutrient for algae growth, which degrades water quality. In the past, follow-up activities funded by lake associations have enabled students to help implement some of the recommendations to abate phosphorus runoff.
Colby biology professors David Firmage and F. Russell Cole oversee the lakes research conducted by senior biology: environmental science majors. This year 14 Colby seniors participated in the research project.
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