Stories of Watershed Impact

May 2023

Our lakes and ponds are public treasures that provide valuable economic, recreational, social, and emotional value to residents and visitors. Now, more than ever, these fragile places are facing their greatest threats from invasive species, watershed development, and climate change. Since 2020, we have already responded to two crises when one of our lakes became infested with an invasive species, then turned green from an algal bloom.

For the past 15 years, the 30 Mile River Watershed Association has led the effort to protect our waters with a watershed management approach that brings people together to work across political, organizational, social, and economic boundaries, implementing a wide variety of programs and initiatives that could not be done by a single group or town alone.

To respond to the growing need, 30 Mile has now embarked on an exciting project: creating a new center for watershed protection. This integrated facility will provide essential space to help the organization grow to fulfill its mission, assuring the quality of our region’s lakes for generations to come.

The need to bring the watershed community together to better understand the value of our waters and commit to watershed protection has never been greater. We are so grateful for your support and look forward to working
with you in the year ahead!

With appreciation,

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We dedicate this report to Dan Onion (1942-2022),
30 Mile’s founding president and vital Board member for twelve years. Dan was instrumental in not only the organization’s creation, but its growth and success. A true leader, loved and respected by his community, Dan left a tremendous legacy and is greatly missed.

Working Together as a Watershed

We amplify our impact by collaborating with our partners.  

The lakes, ponds and streams within the 30 Mile River Watershed are all connected.

Founded in 2008, 30 Mile is a public-private collaboration of seven rural towns, nine lake associations and two land trusts.

Photo by Trisha Cheney

Fighting Invasives

Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to our watershed.

Boat inspectors are our first line of defense.

In 2022, our paid staff and volunteers conducted 2,584 inspections during 1,849 hours! Although it is rare for our inspectors to find an invasive species on a boat or trailer (none were found in 2022), all it takes is one fragment to start an infestation and ruin a lake.

Do your part!

Protect our waters from invasive plants and animals.
  • CLEAN plant debris, mud and algae from all boating and fishing gear and dispose in trash.
  • DRAIN live well, bilge water, and engine water away from waterbody.
  • DRY any gear that comes into contact with water.

Managing a crisis: Invasive milfoil in Androscoggin Lake

Since it was first found in the fall of 2020, 30 Mile has managed the infestation of invasive variable watermilfoil in Androscoggin Lake, in partnership with the Maine DEP and ALIC. This is the first invasive aquatic plant infestation in our watershed. Because invasive milfoil spreads rapidly and threatens all our waters, we must continue working aggressively now to control it.

May-October, our staff survey the infested area (and beyond), marking each individual milfoil plant to be removed by a trained SCUBA diver on our team. In 2021, our first full year of management, we were forced to end early due to the algal bloom, giving plants more time to grow, and in the spring of 2022, we found more milfoil than before. We worked intensely all summer and saw very little regrowth, showing our efforts were working. We continued surveys into October and were able to remove every invasive found; however, milfoil is tenacious, and we expect to find more when we resume the work in May.

ALIC’s “Eyes on the Water” plant patrol volunteers have been surveying the rest of the lake for other infested areas, None have been found.

A New Home for 30 Mile

A regional center for watershed protection

In November 2022, thanks to a generous donor, 30 Mile purchased a building to become our first home in the watershed!

In the heart of Mount Vernon village in a highly visible location that is central to the watershed, the building will provide essential space to help the organization grow to better fulfill our mission working as a community for clean and healthy lakes, ponds, and streams.

An Integrated Facility

The building has great potential, but needs major renovations before we can move in. We have begun the process of transforming it to create a new, integrated facility to serve as a regional center for watershed education, research, protection,  and community engagement.

As the building is renovated, we believe it will also play a major role in revitalizing Mount Vernon Village.

We need your help help to achieve this vision!

Monitoring Lake Health

We collect and analyze scientific data to inform our lake protection strategies.

Water quality monitoring program expands in its seventh season

In 2022, 30 Mile staff monitored water quality in 11 lakes and ponds – expanding our monitoring to Echo Lake! We worked alongside 32 dedicated volunteers who assisted us with both data collection and on-lake transportation. Over 80 sampling events were completed.

Find your lake’s most recent water quality report, and near-live data during the monitoring season:

Making Sense of the Androscoggin Lake Algal Bloom

During our first year monitoring Androscoggin’s water quality in 2021, the lake experienced its second and most severe algal bloom in its history. In 2022, 30 Mile staff and ALIC volunteers carried out an intensified monitoring program on the lake and added monitoring stations in six tributaries and four locations in the Dead River. This monitoring effort will continue in 2023.

To better understand the current dynamics of phosphorus, both in the lake and from the surrounding watershed, we continue to work closely with Maine DEP to analyze collected data, find connections between bloom years and environmental factors, and identify additional data collection needs. This study will help us determine the best strategies to address the problem.

Read the annual water quality reports for Androscoggin and see near-live monitoring data collected throughout the monitoring season.

Supporting Landowners

Soil erosion is the #1 source of pollution to Maine’s lakes.

Our YCC is back in action!

In 2022, our Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program resumed after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Our crew installed 33 best management practices at nine project sites located on five lakes throughout the watershed

Being LakeSmart in the 30 Mile River Watershed

LakeSmart is a statewide education and reward program that helps lakefront homeowners manage their properties in ways that protect water quality. The program is free, non-regulatory, and voluntary.

30 Mile is a regional LakeSmart “HUB” support center, helping our member lake association teams deliver LakeSmart education property-by-property and shore-by-shore to create a conservation ethic across the lake community.

In 2022, these teams and 30 Mile staff completed evaluations for 30 landowners, with 16 of the evaluated properties receiving LakeSmart awards. We are working to expand the program in 2023, adding more lakes to the program.

Peter Goffin & Marsha Clark (right), receiving their LakeSmart award, with Flying Pond LakeSmart coordinator, Cindy Ripley.

“We love Flying Pond and want to do what we can to preserve it for our children and grandchildren. We volunteer whenever we are able to help protect this special place.

Participating in LakeSmart to help maintain the quality of the lake is simple and benefits us all.”

-Peter Goffin & Marsha Clark


Addressing the Problems

By being good stewards of the land, we protect our waters today and for the future.

Androscoggin Lake Watershed Survey Completed!

In May 2022, 30 Mile, with support from ALIC, Maine DEP, the towns of Wayne and Leeds, and local volunteers, conducted a survey of the Androscoggin Lake watershed. Trained volunteers and technical leaders surveyed the developed areas of the watershed, identifying 142 erosion sites that are impacting or have the potential to harm water quality. Our final report provides an overview of survey results and prioritizes next steps, and is designed specifically for landowners in the Androscoggin Lake watershed.

We are planning a watershed survey of Pocasset Lake for the fall of 2023.

Are you a landowner with an erosion site identified during a watershed survey? Contact us for a free site visit and learn how we can help!

Setting the course for the future of Androscoggin Lake

Using information collected during the watershed survey, 30 Mile developed a Watershed-Based Protection Plan for Androscoggin Lake. With assistance from ALIC, Maine DEP, and US EPA, the plan lays out a strategy for watershed mitigation and water quality protection efforts through 2033. This means we are now eligible for federal Clean Water Act funding for the next 10 years to support needed erosion mitigation projects throughout the watershed.

This is just the beginning, and we can’t do it alone! We ALL have an important role in lake protection.

While we continue to study the lake, we need to take steps now to reduce sources of phosphorus throughout the watershed. It will take all landowners doing their part to address erosion and runoff issues on their properties.

Do your part!

  • END EROSION that feeds algae in the lake.
  • BE LAKESMART and learn about practices that you can implement to help water quality.
  • HOST YCC to install conservation practices at a lower cost.
We’re here to help! Contact

Thank You Volunteers

Thank you to our 2022 Volunteers!

Volunteers are a vital part of 30 Mile’s team, generously contributing thousands of hours to make this work possible. You fill key roles across all areas of our work, including boat inspections, water quality monitoring, LakeSmart evaluations, invasive plant surveys, watershed surveys, office support, our Board of Directors, and more.

Donor List & Fundraising Highlights

It takes a whole community
to protect our watershed.

Thank you to our donors!

Thank you to ALL of the generous lake lovers who supported 30 Mile in 2022! Your gifts of all sizes demonstrate your commitment to the lakes, ponds, and streams in our watershed. We are grateful for you and the many ways you show up as a community to help care for these precious waters.

individuals and businesses contributed $148,550 in 2022, across 15 lakes and ponds

In addition, we partnered with the Androscoggin Lake Improvement Corporation (ALIC) to raise $92,000 in 2022 for the Save Androscoggin Campaign.

2022 Financial Report

Photo Credit: Josh Robbins (Banner)