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A semester-long study of Webber Pond and the environmental factors that influence the lake’s water quality will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Vassalboro town office. It is open to the public and should last about one and a half hours.
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 currently being undertaken by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
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. Each year they present their findings to the public and provide a formal report to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.), town officials, 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 implement some of the recommendations to abate phosphorus runoff. (Phosphorus that enters the lakes becomes a nutrient for algae growth, which degrades water quality.)
Professors David Firmage and F. Russell Cole oversee the lakes research conducted by senior Biology:Environmental Science majors. This year eight Colby seniors participated in the research project.