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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