Reading Anne Argast’s report in the fall newsletter, you might assume that the excellent water quality she observed this past summer means that there is little need to be concerned about Cold Stream Pond. After all, our lake is one of the clearest in Maine. There are several reasons for our good fortune—Cold Stream Pond is deep, there is very little urban development or agriculture in the relatively small watershed that feeds water into the lake, and new construction near the shore must follow Maine DEP and local shoreland zoning guidelines.
In the absence of human activities, “oligothrophic” lakes like Cold Stream Pond can stay clear and clean for thousands of years. However, cutting trees, constructing roads, and building structures can greatly accelerate a waterbody’s progress towards toward a state of “eutrphocation”. Eutrophic lakes are characterized by lots of nutrients which encourage algae to bloom and rooted aquatic vegetation to flourish. This results in a loss of water clarity, and changes the sorts of fish and other aquatic species that survive there.
Camp roads are a major source of nutrient-laden sediment that has the potential to run into the lake. Recognizing this source of pollution, the CSCOA has been making matching grants available to camp road associations for projects that help keep sediment out of Cold Stream Pond. For whatever reasons, however, no applications for this funding have been received in recent years.
As reported in the spring 2022 newsletter, the CSCOA Board contracted with Josh Platt of Maine Environmental Solutions (MES) to evaluate all camp roads around Cold Stream Pond and prioritize projects that would best protect lake water quality. In July, Tom Quirk, Laurie Fenwood, and Jim Fenwood accompanied Josh for two days. We invited road association representatives and other camp owners to join us and heard from several individuals about their concerns and perspectives.
The report from MES states that most roads around Cold Stream Pond are in fairly good condition. There is an ongoing need for grading and addition of gravel to maintain a proper crown. Ditches, turn-outs, and broad-based dips must be maintained and culverts need to be replaced when they deteriorate. Road associations and the Town of Enfield have expended considerable funds over time to maintain camp roads in ways that protect the lake from polluted run-off.
The full report can be found here. The report identifies high, medium, and low priority work that is needed to help keep sediment out of Cold Stream Pond, while keeping roads safe to drive. Eight high priority projects were identified. These projects are in all three towns—Enfield, Lincoln, and Lowell. Six sites were proposed for funding by the CSCOA. Additional projects identified as potential priorities were tagged for funding using the annual Town of Enfield water quality protection grant that is administered by the CSCOA.
At the last meeting of the CSCOA Board, the expenditure of up to $10,000 in CSCOA funds was authorized for the completion of high priority projects. Two of the projects, both involving culvert replacement, will be matched by road association or landowner funding.
Some of this work has already been completed. If fall weather allows, more will be in place before the snow flies. Thanks to generous contributions from CSCOA members, future funding should be available as additional priorities arise.