Second flooding event threatens lakes

December 21, 2023

The flooding in May seemed like an extremely rare event. However, this week, our watershed experienced the second major flooding event this year, larger and perhaps more damaging than the May storm. 

When this much rainfall occurs within such a short timeframe, especially when the ground is frozen or saturated, rising water quickly overwhelms existing infrastructure (stream and river crossings, ditches, and culverts), leading to not only enormous repair costs, but also huge levels of polluted runoff ending up in our waters. The two photos above show an overwhelmed culvert on a tributary at the north end of Parker Pond on December 18th.  

30 Mile provides technical support to towns, road associations, and individual landowners to address problems like thisOur largest project to date was in the Town of Chesterville on the Sandy River Road, where we partnered with the town, the DEP, and the Parker Pond Association to replace a large culvert at the outlet of David Pond (inlet of Parker), rebuild a section of the road, and install many runoff diverters on the steep hills on both sides of the stream. During both of this year’s large rain events, we have seen this work hold up and do exactly as it was intended – prevent polluted runoff from entering the stream and lake.

In 2024, we will make our work improving roads an even higher priority. One means of supporting this work is Maine’s Community Resiliency Partnership. This program provides opportunities to apply for grants to help our communities face these and other impacts of climate change. To participate, a municipality must enroll in the partnership. Three of our communities (Chesterville, Mount Vernon, and Vienna) have already joined, and three more are now aware of this opportunity. We urge all residents (year-round and seasonal) to learn more and encourage your town leadership to take advantage of opportunities to fund more resilient roads, stream crossings, culverts, and other critical infrastructure, which not only impact the health of our lakes and streams, but the safety of our community members and the already stretched budgets of our small rural towns. 30 Mile will continue to assist towns in completing the work necessary to apply for this and other grant funding to support watershed remediation efforts.

To read more about how we prepare ourselves for these events, please see our May newsletter article.

An overwhelmed culvert on Tower Road during the December 18th storm

This article was included in 30 Mile’s December 2023 newsletter. To view the full newsletter, click here.

Photo Credit: Josh Robbins (Banner)