|Date: November 18, 1999
Contact: David Firmage
Phone: (207) 872-3319
Colby Researchers to Present Findings in East Pond Study
Results from a semester-long study of East Ponds water quality problems will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, at Colby College in Waterville. The program will be in the basement auditorium (Rm. 1) of the Olin Science Center. It is open to the public and should last about two hours.
East Pond has experienced significant algal blooms the past two years, and last spring the East Pond Association approached David Firmage, the Clara C. Piper Professor of Environmental Sciences, requesting Colbys help in studying the problem and recommending solutions. Firmage directed the project, which involved three full-time student workers during the summer months and 16 seniors during the fall semester. The Colby study shows the lake to be high in nutrients that cause algal growth. The students will report causes for concern and will discuss various techniques of lake remediation that could be considered.
In recent years students in the upper-level biology and environmental science course "Problems in Environmental Science" have studied all of the lakes in the Belgrade chain, as well as China Lake and Pattees Pond. Each year they present their findings to the public and provide a formal report to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.), the lake association and other interested parties.
The D.E.P. and local lake associations, in their efforts to protect and improve lake water quality, have come to depend on the students data, D.E.P. officials said. 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. Follow-up activities funded by lake associations in the past have enabled students to help complete some of the recommendations to decrease phosphorus runoff. Phosphorus that enters the lakes becomes a nutrient for algal growth, which reduces water quality.