Illegal Bass Stocking in Kimball Pond

Illegal bass stocking threatens brook trout population!

May 5, 2013

Protecting Minnehonk Lake from Polluted Runoff

June, 2012

By the 4th and 5th graders of Mt. Vernon Elementary School
Mount Vernon Community Newsletter

To see more photos of the project click on the photo above

MOUNT VERNON – On Friday, May 11th, all of the 4th and 5th graders from Mt. Vernon Elementary School got to go down behind the Mt. Vernon Country Store to help build a buffer to protect Minnehonk from polluted stormwater runoff. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wanted our school to work with them as partners to prevent erosion in our town. “We want to help the community by planting plants to stop dirt from going into the lake,” said Saige. We planted bushes and shrubs to help “drive pollution out before going into the water,” said Cathy. We also got to play a cool water habitat game, write and read poetry and explore for macro-invertebrates (water bugs). There were adults from our community helping because they are also interested in keeping our water clean. It was so fun!

There was a station where we got to look for water bugs near the inlet with Peter Patenaude from DEP. We needed to learn what else lives in the water. That was fun. “Somebody caught a mudpuppy,” said Jeremy. Lidie Robbins from the 30 Mile River Watershed Association had us play a fun running game that taught us about water habitat for fish and how they need all these conditions to live. “In the game, I died every time,” said Caleb. Our teachers and parents joined in the game too. It was a blast.

Another station was where we planted lots of different plants behind Matt Dunn’s store with the help of Adrien Polky from 30 Mile River Watershed Association. “Some of the plants are blueberry bushes,” reports Nicole. We got to thank Matt for letting us do this project on his land and he got in our group picture at the buffer location. “The whole project was fun because we caught critters, dug holes, wrote poetry, played games and saw loons. I timed how long they stayed under water,” said Cole.

This project was funded by a Watershed Protection Grant the school received from the DEP this year and was conducted in partnership with the 30 Mile River Watershed Association, which works to protect and preserve Minnehonk and other lakes in Mt. Vernon and throughout the watershed.

To see photos of the day click here

Students’ poetry from the day:

Minnehonk Lake
Calm drifty
Loons live there too
–By Cole

Clear as glass
Smooth as silk,
Gentle as can be,
Not the ocean, not the sea,
But just a lake,
It’s right where I want
To Be
–By Quinn

Rush the buses to the lake
Get together to help us make
A buffer for Minnehonk
Let’s hope we don’t get bonked
‘Cause Isaac’s on the other end
Of the shovel in his dirty hands.
–By Sally

A Team Effort to Protect the 30 Mile River Watershed

February 8, 2012

By Barry Matulaitis
Livermore Falls Advertiser

 FAYETTE – In Fayette and other towns in the 30 Mile River Watershed, the 30 Mile River Watershed Association (30MRWA) has been active since 2008 helping conserve, improve, and protect the rivers, streams, and ponds within the watershed.
The Association’s work focuses on preventing the introduction of invasive species, improving water quality, and promoting responsible and environmentally friendly enjoyment of the water bodies. The 30 Mile River Watershed is a 200-square mile rural region northwest of Augusta encompassing more than 20 lakes and ponds, most forming a chain. The chain runs from Kimball Pond south to Androscoggin Lake, and includes some of the more pristine lakes in Central Maine.

The 30MRWA formed to help the region’s small towns and lake associations protect these natural areas by providing a unified response to the shared threats. It is a public-private collaboration of nine lake associations, six towns, and two local conservation organizations that pool resources to enhance their individual efforts.

“A big priority continues to be preventing the introduction of invasive aquatic plants in our lakes, through both our Courtesy Boat Inspection program and the Invasive Plant Patrol program, where trained volunteers survey the lakes for invasive plant infestations,” said Executive Director Lidie Robbins. “Currently, there are no known infestations in any of our lakes, but the invasives are very nearby in neighboring watersheds. Although both of those programs are successful, there is plenty of room for expansion to improve our chances or both preventing the introduction of invasives and catching any invasives early.”

At a recent Fayette Selectmen’s meeting, 30MRWA representatives gave an overview of how the Association’s presence has benefited area waterways and some of their future goals. This year, they hope to bring back the Youth Conservation Corps program that started in 2010 to directly address problems with erosion and polluted runoff that are damaging water quality, and also to help educate the public about their role in protecting these lakes through the management of their own property.

A total of 21 percent of the 30 Mile River Watershed is in Fayette. Town Manager Mark Robinson said that, as far as anyone can tell, no invasive plant species exist in the town’s water bodies.

“They’re darned hard to get rid of and very expensive to get rid of,” he said. “Very quickly, it can become a very expensive ordeal. If we’re preventing these things by having the 30 Mile River Watershed Association, then the $3,000 we contribute through excise tax is a drop in the bucket.”

The Association’s funding comes “from a mix of sources,” said Robbins, including grants, individual contributions, and its coalition members (lake associations, towns, and conservation organizations). In 2011, the total income was $85,790, and the funding breakdown was as follows:
-In-kind: $2,628
-Coalition members: $14,052
-Contributions: $17,007
-Grants: $52,095

The 30MRWA employs local youth in its Courtesy Boat Inspection program in addition to the Youth Conservation Corps. It also partners with the Mt. Vernon and Fayette elementary schools to help implement Watershed Protection Grants the Association received from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“Through this program, fourth and fifth grade students will be involved in service projects in the watershed that will protect water quality,” said Robbins. “The Mt. Vernon project entails planting a vegetated buffer along Minnehonk Lake to help prevent the flow of polluted runoff into the lake. The Fayette project involves a woods trail between the school and a stream that flows directly into Echo Lake. The trail improvements will prevent erosion and protect the water quality of Echo Lake.”

Robbins added that erosion results in more phosphorus ending up in the lake, which hurts water quality.


Grant Received

August 2011 

Executive Director Lidie Robbins with Roxanne Quimby and 30 MRWA Board Member Dan Meyer

Executive Director Lidie Robbins with Roxanne Quimby and 30 MRWA Board Member Dan Meyer

In August we received a $35,000 grant from the Quimby Family Foundation for general operating support to strengthen our core programs, such as courtesy boat inspections, invasive plant patrols, educational outreach, and erosion control projects. This grant has allowed us to hire additional staff to focus in-part on raising community awareness of the threats to our lakes.