Maine COLA Conference 2010

Table of Contents

Poster 1. Abundance and Species Diversity of Damselflies as an Indicator of Ecosystem Health on the Belgrade Lakes

Poster 2. The Impact of Thermal Structure and Mixing on Nutrient Dynamics and Plankton Abundance in Intermediate Depth Lakes in Maine

Poster 3. The Localized Economy of the Belgrade Lakes Region: Local Unemployment Rate of the Belgrade Lakes Region versus National Levels

Poster 4.  Historic and Future Residential Development in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

Poster 5.  The Impact of Land Use and Land Cover Patterns on Phosphorus Loading in the Belgrade Lakes

Poster 6. Excess Nutrients and an Invasive Macrophyte Threaten Salmon Lake and Mcgrath, Kennebec County, Maine

Poster 7.  Influences Of Land Use Changes On Water Quality In Salmon Lake And Mcgrath Pond

Poster 8. Seasonal vs. Primary Home Development Patterns in Maine: A Sustainable Lake Management Perspective

Poster 9. Informing watershed management by understanding demographic and development patterns

Poster 10. Knowledge to action and lakefront households

Poster 11. Empirically predicting invasive watermilfoil presence in Maine lakes

Poster 12. The Maine Municipal Vernal Pool Mapping and Assessment Project

Poster 13.  Past, Present and Future of Unmanned Aerial Imaging at Colby College

Poster 14. Art in the Belgrades: A Preliminary Look at the History of Visual Art, Literature, and Music in the Belgrade Lakes Region

Poster 15.  Illusory Timelessness: A Geologic and Anthropomorphic History of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

Poster 16.  Summer Camps in the Belgrade Lakes Region:  A Case Study for Social and Environmental History

Poster 1. Abundance and Species Diversity of Damselflies as an Indicator of Ecosystem Health on the Belgrade Lakes
Sarah Flanagan, Andrew Maguire and Patrick McBride, Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, spflanag@colby.edu, amaguire@colby.edu, pmcbride@colby.edu
As one of the more common and easily observable groups of insects, damselflies serve as excellent subjects in ecological studies. Damselflies have a short generation time and lay their eggs on a wide range of aquatic plant species. In many cases, the oviposition sites are structure- and species-specific. When a specific plant species is no longer able to live in a particular aquatic environment, neither can the damselfly. The damselflies’ complex life histories, and varied tolerance for aquatic pollution also make them great biological indicators of environmental fluctuations. Furthermore, damselflies are diurnal and are found near most freshwater habitats in Maine. Though intensive observation is required for identification, the species local to the Belgrade lakes region of Maine are well profiled in the literature, making damselflies ideal indicators of ecological lake health. However, with extensive environmental changes occurring presently throughout the Belgrade lakes region, it is imperative that damselfly ecology is documented to set baseline levels of species abundance and diversity for comparison with measured environmental change. Involving residents of the Belgrade lakes region is critical for developing the study to extensive and appropriate levels. Professor Herb Wilson of Colby College will be implementing the citizen-science project, the Belgrade Lakes Damselfly Survey, later this summer.

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Poster 2. The Impact of Thermal Structure and Mixing on Nutrient Dynamics and Plankton Abundance in Intermediate Depth Lakes in Maine
Josie Thiele, Katherine Murray, Department of Chemistry, Colby College, Waterville Maine 04901, jcthiele@colby.edu, kemurray@colby.edu
This project examined the correlation between thermal structure and Secchi depths in East Pond and North Pond from 2006 to 2009. East Pond and North Pond are both part of the Belgrade Lakes chain in Central Maine.  Due to their differing bathymetry, geography, and physical structure, they experience different thermal structure, which influences nutrient distribution. Thermal data was collected at 10-minute intervals throughout the summers 2006 to 2009 using HOBO sensors placed at one-meter intervals from the bottom to the top of East Pond and North Ponds. Secchi depth data was also collected over the same time period allowing quantification of water clarity.

Plots of high-resolution temperature data show individual mixing events in the lakes. These events are followed 10 to 15 days later with decreased Secchi depth caused by nutrient upwelling supporting algal blooms. This research shows that for intermediate depth lakes, these short scale mixing events have significant impacts on nutrient dynamics and plankton abundance.

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Poster 3. The Localized Economy of the Belgrade Lakes Region: Local Unemployment Rate of the Belgrade Lakes Region versus National Levels
Stephan Cizmar, Science and Technology Studies, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, sjcizmar@colby.edu
This poster will present data on the local economy of the Belgrade Lakes Region. Specifically on how a national macroeconomic factor such as the unemployment rate affects the local unemployment rate of the region. The poster will present a data series over time and directly compare the national and state levels to the region’s unemployment rate. In theory, being that the region is relatively isolated from what is classified as a “major city” the region should show some sort of lag between fluctuations in the national and state levels of unemployment because of the regions business makeup (which consists mostly of local and small businesses) as well as the region’s, with seasonal fluctuations taken out, relatively stable population. The poster will also present a categorized breakdown of the business makeup of the region.

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Poster 4. Historic and Future Residential Development in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed
Ian McCullough ‘10, Sarah E. Hart ‘10, Dan Homeier ‘12, Philip J. Nyhus, and Russell Cole, Environmental Studies Program, Colby College, Waterville, ME 0490, immccull@colby.edu, sehart@colby.edu, dhomeier@colby.edu

A 2008 assessment of town records revealed approximately 6,037 houses in the Belgrade Lakes watershed.  The town of Belgrade contains the most houses with 2,185. The first recorded residential development took place in 1732 in Mt. Vernon. Residential development has increased steadily since 1900 with a considerable period of growth in the 1970s. Development continues today but has slowed since 2007 due to the national economic downturn. Houses have been built throughout the watershed, but density is highest in the southern and eastern portions of the watershed. By 2050, an additional 1,327 houses are expected in the watershed based on projected changes in population and mean persons per household. Sidney and Belgrade are the fastest growing towns in the region due to their proximity to the lakes and local job centers such as Augusta and Waterville. Other towns can expect rapid growth near the shoreline or major roads.

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Poster 5. The Impact of Land Use and Land Cover Patterns on Phosphorus Loading in the Belgrade Lakes
Ian McCullough ‘10, Sarah E. Hart ‘10, Dan Homeier ‘12, Philip J. Nyhus, and Russell Cole, Environmental Studies Program, Colby College, Waterville, ME 0490, immccull@colby.edu, sehart@colby.edu, dhomeier@colby.edu.
Different land use types contribute different amounts of phosphorus into lakes, and this runoff can be estimated by mapping land use type and area. The Belgrade Lakes watershed includes 7 lakes and 46,676 ha in central Maine. Our analysis suggests the watershed is covered mostly by mature forests (73.3%), followed by wetlands (7.9%), residential land (4.7%) and agriculture (5.1%). The highest contributors of phosphorus are agriculture (21.6%), mature forest (18.2%), non-shoreline residential (16.1%), shoreline residential (10.5%), and open fields (10.2%). Agriculture and residential lands are disproportionately large phosphorus contributors, covering less than 10% of the watershed but contributing 48.2% of the phosphorus from land use. Camp roads are also disproportionate contributors, supplying 7.2% of the phosphorus and covering just 0.56% of the watershed. Camp roads and residences are two areas that can be most positively affected by the efforts of landowners. Proper shoreline buffers, updated septic systems and regular road maintenance can all help reduce loading from these sources.

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Poster 6. Excess Nutrients and an Invasive Macrophyte Threaten Salmon Lake andMcGrath Pond, Kennebeck County,Maine
Jessica Balukas, Ian McCullough, Jordan Schoonover, David Firmage, Russell Cole, Tracey Greenwood, Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, jbalukas@colby.edu, immccull@colby.edu, jrschoon@colby.edu
Phosphorus loading and the presence of the invasive aquatic macrophyte Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) threaten the health of Salmon Lake. Salmon Lake is susceptible to algal blooms.  Secchi depth has decreased slightly in recent years.  Mean epicore total phosphorus recorded during summer and fall of 2009 was 13 ppb but concentrations approaching 300 ppb were recorded at the deepest part of the lake in late summer due to anoxic conditions near the bottom sediments. Eurasian watermilfoil was discovered in Salmon Lake in August 2008 growing in the outlet cove to Great Pond, representing only the second known infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil in Maine. Efforts to eliminate the plant from Salmon Lake are ongoing.  Bathymetric data indicate Eurasian watermilfoil could potentially spread to more than 50% of Salmon Lake and all of McGrath Pond. Continued efforts are needed to mitigate future nutrient loading and eliminate Eurasian watermilfoil to preserve water quality.

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Poster 7. The Influence of Land Use Changes on Water Quality in Salmon Lake and McGrath Pond
Amy Holmen, Emma Gildesgame, Katherine Orrick, David Firmage, Russell Cole, and Tracey Greenwood. Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, arholmen@colby.edu, ergildes@colby.edu, kdorrick@colby.edu
Historic and present land use patterns in the Salmon Lake/McGrath Pond watershed were analyzed to determine potential effects on lake water quality. Since 1955/56, non-shoreline residential area increased 143% and now covers 135 ha.  Shoreline residential area also increased 29.5%.  High impact development (commercial and municipal land uses) increased from 2.2 ha to 14.2 ha. Forested land decreased from 71.5% to 65% (71 ha) due to logging and residential development. Agricultural land has decreased 60% (28.1 ha). The largest external contributors to phosphorus loading were shoreline residential septic systems (14.9%), atmospheric input (13.1%), cropland (11.1%), and shoreline development (10.1%). Over half the camp roads in the watershed are in fair (35%) or poor (23%) condition based on our survey, and are likely contributors of phosphorus into the lakes.  Approximately one quarter (26%) of the shoreline buffers were deemed poor.  Twenty-four private boat launches also provide potential avenues for phosphorus loading into these lakes.

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Poster 8. Seasonal vs. Primary Home Development Patterns in Maine: A Sustainable Lake Management Perspective
Daniel J. Kary, Kathleen P. Bell, M.S. Graduate Student, Resource Economics and Policy, School of Economics, University of Maine, daniel.kary@umit.maine.edu, Associate Professor, School of Economics, University of Maine, kathleen.p.bell@umit.maine.edu
Parts of Maine’s rural landscape are currently undergoing a transition from traditional resource-based use to increased residential use. This transition has important implications for the management of Maine lakes due to the uncertain nature of associated ecological, economic, and social impacts. However, the driving factors of this transition are not well understood, and distinctive development patterns are likely to emerge from seasonal and primary home residential growth. The focus of this research is an investigation of seasonal vs. primary home residential patterns at the community level. Pairing U.S. Census population and housing data with data on natural resources, demographics, and economic conditions, we employ spatial and statistical methods to characterize these patterns. By linking this information with lake and watershed data, we gain a richer understanding of landscape change. We hope our investigation of these housing patterns will ultimately inform decision-making concerning the management of the myriad services associated with Maine lakes.

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Poster 9. Informing watershed management by understanding demographic and development patterns
Jennifer Plowde1 and Kathleen P. Bell, Graduate Program in Resource Economics and Policy, School of Economics, University of Maine 5782 Winslow Hall, Orono, ME 04469Cellular Phone: (413) 281- 5066, jennifer.plowden@umit.maine.edu, Kathleen P. Bell, Associate Professor, School of Economics, University of Maine, 5782 Winslow Hall, Room 200, Orono, ME 04469, Phone: (207) 581- 3156, kathleen.p.bell@umit.maine.edu
Uncertainty regarding demographics and development complicates watershed management by making it difficult to anticipate future watershed conditions.  Considerable economic development research focuses on forecasting changes in employment, population, and housing.  Less work has been done to inform management decisions by connecting these forecasts with the study of natural resources.  Our analysis focuses on this research gap and explores variation in forecasts across Maine watersheds.  We employ US Census Bureau data on population and housing to gauge past socio-economic trends and inform future projections.  Integrating such data with economic development forecasts, we generate multiple projections and explore how they affect various watersheds.  Consideration of such forecasts may prompt communities and natural resource managers to reflect on alternative futures.

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Poster 10. Knowledge to action and lakefront households
Ann E. Speers and Kathleen P. Bell, Graduate Program in Ecology and Environmental Science and School of Economics,  5782 Winslow Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Cellular phone: (774) 571-9620, ann.speers@umit.maine.edu, Associate Professor, School of Economics, 5782 Winslow Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, Office phone: (207) 581-3156, kpbell@maine.edu
Outreach and education regarding nonpoint source pollution (NPS) are critical challenges for Maine lake managers. Human behavior is a large factor in NPS pollution, and both biophysical and social scientists recognize the necessity of raising awareness and changing behavior. Our research applies insights from multiple social science disciplines to explore the extent to which knowledge, awareness and attitudes about NPS pollution influence the actions of lakefront households. We make use of Maine’s lake-rich landscape as well as several decades of lake-and watershed- focused education, social marketing and outreach campaigns. An interdisciplinary literature identifies internal values and preferences, situation-specific contexts, and moral and normative concerns as key behavioral antecedents. We are designing a survey instrument to test competing hypotheses over determinants of behavior change. We invite input from COLA members and workshop participants at this initial stage as a way to pre-test our survey instrument and encourage practitioner-informed research.

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Poster 11. Empirically predicting invasive watermilfoil presence in Maine lakes
Ann E. Speers and Kathleen P. Bell, Graduate Program in Ecology and Environmental Science and School of Economics, 5782 Winslow Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, Cellular phone: (774) 571-9620, ann.speers@umit.maine.edu, Associate Professor, School of Economics, 5782 Winslow Hall, University of Maine,  Orono, ME 04469, Office phone: (207) 581-3156, kpbell@maine.edu
Eurasian and variable-leaf watermilfoils are the most common IAPs in Maine, diminishing lake ecosystem health, recreation opportunities and property values.  Targeting limited monitoring, education and remediation resources towards the most at-risk lakes can improve management outcomes.  In 2004, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Maine Natural Areas Program developed a Vulnerability Index ranking Maine lakes’ relative risk of invasive plant infestation.  Our study revisits that Index, drawing on the growing IAP modeling literature to predict the probability of invasive watermilfoil infestation in Maine lakes.  We regress known locations of invasive milfoil presence against volume of use, infestation proximity, colonization potential, watershed land use and annual water quality.  Initial results suggest the most reliable predictors of presence are exposure-based.  Growth-mediating variables impact establishment but may not be consistent presence predictors in Maine.  Our results point to opportunities for regional IAP management to continue prioritizing efforts on lakes with high exposure probability.

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Poster 12. The Maine Municipal Vernal Pool Mapping and Assessment Project
W.R. Supple and C.R. Bevier, Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, wrsupple@colby.edu
Vernal pools form seasonally in the spring or fall in shallow depressions in wooded areas, and make up the primary breeding habitat for several animal species.   Vernal pools are now recognized as significant habitat by the state of Maine, and are protected under the Natural Resource Protection Act (NRPA). The Maine Municipal Vernal Pool Mapping and Assessment Project is an effort to educate landowners on the ecological and hydrological importance of vernal pools, and to register qualifying pools with the state.  A vernal pool is considered significant if it meets biological, hydrological, and ecological criteria defined by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Biological criteria include the presence fairy shrimp, or egg masses from wood frogs, blue-spotted, or spotted salamanders.  Volunteers from 13 partnering towns have been surveying potential vernal pools for evidence of the biological criteria, and we are helping in this effort to conserve this natural resource.

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Poster 13.  Past, Present and Future of Unmanned Aerial Imaging at Colby College
Tucker Gorman, Science and Technology Studies, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, twgorman@colby.edu
In 2009 Colby College STS majors Daniel Opalacz (’10) and Foster Huntington (’10) received a grant from the Goldfarb Center to fund the construction and operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  Instrumented with a digital camera and autopilot for precise navigation, the UAV provided high-resolution aerial images in both proof-of-concept test flights around campus and in research flights at Popham Beach for the geology department. The aircraft clearly demonstrated its capability to provide a variety of academic programs with valuable information that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to gather.  It also served as an effective outreach tool for local schools.  The UAV is currently undergoing design changes to equip it for new missions. It will be used this summer in the Colby EPSCoR project to support research on the biology and history of the Belgrade Lakes region.  The UAV project is open to new students seeking training in its operation so they will be able to propose and fly missions.  This presentation will review past accomplishments of the UAV, discuss present applications, and offer a look to the future of the project.

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Poster 14. Art in the Belgrades: A Preliminary Look at the History of Visual Art, Literature, and Music in the Belgrade Lakes Region
James S. Westhafer, Science and Technology Studies, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, jswestha@colby.edu
This study presents preliminary results of a survey of the history of artistic expression in the Belgrade Lakes region involving the visual arts, published literature, and music.  The research was conducted using interviews and original source materials, since there is little published literature on this subject. Early woodcuts held by the town of Smithfield illustrate farming and craft scenes from the 18th century.  Institutions such as the McMillan School of Fine Arts Vacation School (1920s) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1946) connected artists from away with Maine scenes.  Stage performances dating to the Civil War era in Smithfield and Oakland were also a vibrant and eclectic component of the entertainment scene.  Published books, poems, and essays relating to the Belgrade region constitute a second focus of this study, with the works of Ernest Thompson, E.B. White, and Erskine Caldwell highlighted here.  Music instruction and performance are highlighted in profiles of the New England Music Camp and the folk music of the Gawler Family. Artistic expression in this vacation region is dominated by themes related to the summer months and, with notable exceptions, to serenity and the illusory timelessness of the landscape.

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Poster 15. Illusory Timelessness: A Geologic and Anthropomorphic History of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed
Erin Schnettler, Science and Technology Studies, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, emschnet@colby.edu
The culture of the Belgrade Region seems to be characterized by timelessness. But this timelessness is, in truth, no more than a convincing illusion. Through a geologic history spanning millions of years and a human history spanning a fraction of that, the Belgrade Lakes Watershed has undergone dramatic changes that are still taking place today. This study reviews Belgrade’s geologic history, consisting of plate tectonic activity and glacial advances and retreats that dramatically remodeled the Belgrade landscape. Secondly, the study examines the vegetational history of the region, from the post-glacial development of a mature mixed hardwood forest to its anthropogenic deforestation and subsequent reforestation. Finally, the study surveys industrial and post-industrial impacts on the Belgrade Lakes region, including the maturation of local industries as well as the increasing flux of residents and summer tourists that continue to alter the landscape.

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Poster 16. Summer Camps in the Belgrade Lakes Region: A Case Study for Social and Environmental History
Danielle Sheppard, Science and Technology Studies, Colby College, Waterville, Maine 04901, dcsheppa@colby.edu
Situated in Central Maine, the Belgrade Lakes represent a complex system of relationships among individuals, culture, and environment. Like many lake ecosystems, there is an observable tension between conservation efforts and land use patterns involving both permanent and seasonal inhabitants.  This particular research focuses on youth summer camps in the Belgrade Lakes Region as reflections of both local and non-local interactions with the environment. These sites offer unique insight into social and ecological trends on a scale that extends far beyond Central Maine. Summer camps represent isolation and integration, sustainable use and development, and progress amidst assumed timelessness. While many summer camps have become woven into the fabric of the Belgrade Lakes Region over time, they do not ultimately define the essence of the land, its culture or its people.  Through personal interviews, archival exploration and extensive site visits, this research combines the methodologies of environmental anthropology and the history of science and technology. A temporal investigation of two case studies – Camp Runoia and Pine Island Camp – confronts issues related to religion, disposable income and affluence, wilderness consciousness and land value.

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