Maine COLA Conference 2012

“The Value of Our Lakes”: 42nd Annual Maine Lakes Conference

Poster Session, Diamond Atrium, June 23, 2012


1) Modeling Resilience and Adaptation in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

2) Buffering Shoreline Development in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

3) Impact of Shoreline Development in the Belgrade Lakes

4) Influence of Shoreline Development on the Riparian and Littoral Habitat in Great Pond

5) Anthropogenic Influence on Lake Levels in the Belgrade Lakes, Maine Watershed: A GIS Application.

6) Land Between the Lakes: Virtual Geologic Field Guides to the Kennebec Highlands, Central Maine.

7) Cruising Great Pond and Dredging for Sediments: Determining Natural and Anthropogenic Impacts on the Lake.

8) Sense of Place: Affection to Action

9 and 10) A Statistical Abstract for the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

 

Modeling Resilience and Adaptation in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed.

Becky Forgrave, Dan Chiniara, The Belgrades SSI team at Colby, BRCA, BLA, MLRC, and many others, rkforgra@colby.edu, djchinia@colby.edu,  http://web.colby.edu/epscor/participants/, http://www.belgradelakes.org/,  http://belgradelakesassociation.org/, http://www.mainelakesresourcecenter.org/

The Belgrade Lakes Sustainability project is an interdisciplinary research program investigating impact of landscape and lake-ecosystem changes with the development of central Maine. The Belgrade Lakes region is being used as a model because it provides a unique laboratory to investigate the complex dynamics among environmental, biogeochemical, and socio-economic systems.  Our work is organized along three themes: 1. Physical studies of fundamental lake biogeochemistry, social science studies of human values and sense of place, and economic analysis of the value of a watershed; 2. Testing and dissemination of solutions to promote sustainability of the lake ecosystems (LakeSmart); and 3. Education and outreach to stakeholders and the broader Belgrade Lakes community. All of this work is supported by a dynamic group of fourteen undergraduate students working with Colby faculty and the conservation group partners.   The overarching goal of this work is to provide field-tested actions to improve lake water quality in the Belgrades and other lake systems in Maine.

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Buffering Shoreline Development in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

Emily Arsenault ’14, Colin Cummings ’14, Monica Davis ’13, Marianne Ferguson ’14, Drew Mealor ’14, Corey Reichler ’13, Cathy Bevier, and F. Russell Cole, Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Program, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, erarsena@colby.edu, cjcummin@colby.edu, mjdavis@colby.edu, mhfergus@colby.edu, asmealor@colby.edu, cereichl@colby.edu, crbevier@colby.edu, frcole@colby.edu.

Buffers reduce the impact of shoreline development on lakes and help protect lake health by reducing nutrient and sediment loading. An effective buffer is wide with many layers of vegetation, which decrease erosion potential and allow water to be absorbed by the soil. A natural, environmentally-friendly buffer on a shoreline property will help protect the lake and will hopefully serve as a model for others to emulate. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection formed the LakeSmart program, in which properties are surveyed and then certified if they meet lake-friendly criteria as one way to raise awareness of importance of buffer strips. North Pond residents have developed their own initiative called “Are You Buff Enough?” The success of programs like these is often affected by zoning regulations, installation costs, and lack of citizen engagement. Creating resident awareness of the importance of shoreline buffers and motivating action are critical to protecting lake health.

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Impact of Shoreline Development in the Belgrade Lakes

Emily Arsenault ‘14, Colin Cummings ‘14, Monica Davis ‘13, Marianne Ferguson ‘14, Drew Mealor ‘14, Corey Reichler ’13, F. Russell Cole and Cathy Bevier, Environmental Studies Program and Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, erarsena@colby.edu, cjcummin@colby.edu, mjdavis@colby.edu, mhfergus@colby.edu, asmealor@colby.edu, cereichl@colby.edu, crbevier@colby.edu, frcole@colby.edu.

Lakeshore development can negatively affect water quality and the ecology of lake habitats. This summer we are continuing assessments of shoreline habitats in the Belgrade Lakes, both in the riparian zone and in the near shore littoral zone.  In the riparian zone characteristics such as land cover composition, complexity and disturbance, buffer effectiveness, and canopy cover are being measured. In the littoral zone characteristics being studied include sediment composition, macrophyte abundance, macroinvertebrate diversity, and periphyton abundance. These measurements will allow us to compare sites with different development patterns, from highly developed, un-buffered shorelines to undeveloped shoreline. Our results will strengthen our understanding and ability to manage the impact of shoreline development, as well as help to develop better educational strategies to ensure the future health of the Belgrade Lakes.

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Influence of Shoreline Development on the Riparian and Littoral Habitat in Great Pond

Peter Smithy ’12, Johanna Salay ’12, Sylvia Doyle ’12, Than Moore ’12, William Supple ’12, Molly Susla ’13, F. Russell Cole, Herb Wilson and Cathy Bevier, Environmental Studies Program and Department of Biology, Colby College Waterville, ME 04901, crbevier@colby.edu, frcole@colby.edu.

Shoreline development can negatively affect water quality, shore habitat, structure, and biological diversity. The objective of our study was to investigate the impact of shoreline development on the littoral and riparian habitats of Great Pond. Developed and undeveloped sites along the shoreline were identified and surveys conducted to compare sediment composition, woody debris type and abundance, shoreline tree density and canopy cover, and macroinvertebrate community composition. Undeveloped sites had greater tree cover and more woody debris than developed sites, which contributed to higher species diversity. Undeveloped sites were heavily covered by cobble but developed sites were covered with sand or gravel. Average mass of accumulated periphyton at developed sites was more than double that at undeveloped sites. This summer we are expanding this research to include North Pond and East Pond. Through this research we hope to develop a better understanding of the effects of shoreline development on lake health

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Anthropogenic Influence on Lake Levels in the Belgrade Lakes, Maine Watershed: A GIS Application.

Bruce F. Rueger and Mallory C. Young, Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, bfrueger@colby.edu, mcyoung@colby.edu.

The Belgrade Lakes watershed includes six interconnected lakes representing an important water, energy and recreational resource in central Maine. Over the past 150 years the watershed has been modified by dam construction for water control and hydropower.  GIS software was used on watershed and dam data for assessment and documentation of anthropogenic impacts.

Data from the Maine Emergency Management Agency included construction dates, length, structural height and hydraulic height. Bathymetrical maps were created using field data and fishing maps and soil survey data. Using hydraulic height values for each dam to recreate the original geographic extent, changes in lake volume (1.0 x 107 to 1.4 x 107 m3) and surface area (12-43%) were determined. Adding the dates of dam construction, changes in aerial extent of the lakes in the watershed were mapped in a historical context.

Data indicate that changes in lake volume and area occurred prior to 1892, based on comparison with the oldest topographic maps available. Results of this investigation provide a historical context and an important foundation for long-term hydrogeochemical and geochemical investigations of this watershed.

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Land Between the Lakes: Virtual Geologic Field Guides to the Kennebec Highlands, Central Maine.

Brian J. Morgan, Bruce F. Rueger, Colby College, Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, bjmorgan@colby.edu, bfrueger@colby.edu, and Melvin Croft, Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, 171 Main St, P.O. Box 250, Belgrade Lakes, ME 04918

The Kennebec Highlands represent the largest public land area in the region, and are utilized for recreational activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and mountain biking. Researching the five popular hiking trails to produce virtual field guides of the area to give the public background knowledge before and during hiking the trails was our primary goal. We plan to make the product accessible in multiple formats, available in virtual and hard copy format.

Google Earth and arcGIS were utilized to create a user-friendly application that can be downloaded and accessed at the users convenience. Each of the trails was initially tracked using a GPS unit. These tracks were then converted to .kmz files and applied to Google Earth. Geotagged photos taken along the trails camera enhance the tracks and create placemarks in Google Earth. Bedrock and surficial geology GIS data were uploaded to allow transfer to Google Earth as layers. A generic topographic map of the area was also uploaded.

The resultant Google Earth application provides many different layers that can be turned on or off depending on the viewer’s interests. Placemarks along the hiking trails can be accessed with pictures and descriptions of geologic features that can be seen along the trail will pop up. Along with the layers, a short geologic history of central Maine, are included to help illustrate how these mountains and features came to exist.

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Cruising Great Pond and Dredging for Sediments: Determining Natural and Anthropogenic Impacts on the Lake.

Clara, G. Bicher., Sara E. George, and Bruce Rueger, Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, cgbicher@colby.edu, segeorge@colby.edu, bfrueger@colby.edu.

Great Pond is the largest lake in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed of central Maine, and receives most of its water from East Pond and North Pond through Great Meadow Stream, as well as the surrounding upland areas and groundwater.  On average, it takes about two years for water to flow through this lake.

To evaluate natural and anthropogenic changes in the lake environment, 64 samples of bottom sediment have been collected.  The sediments will be analyzed for grain-size distribution and a sediment map of the lake bottom will be created.  This map will be used to determine sediment sources and areas of higher erosion.  Samples will be analyzed for CHNO content to determine the vegetational source of the sediment and will be compared with previous research on East Pond sediments.  Sediments will be analyzed for phosphorous content to determine the anthropogenic impact on the system.

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Sense of Place: Affection to Action

Nick Kondiles, Science Technology and Society Program, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 04901, nmkondil@colby.edu.

Sense of place is the quality that allows a location to take on personal significance and even ultimate meaning. As the human mind takes in the physical characteristics of a location, intangible qualities develop and a place gains personal value. As this interaction continues overtime, the place is internalized in our minds and we develop affection for it. However, a sense of place is far more than the personification of land. This human-place bond serves as the foundation of community where friendships, businesses, families, and traditions all flourish. When people truly get in touch with their sense of place, they will rediscover the affection they have for the places they hold most dear. The revival of this affection will fuel a conservationist passion for land-lovers. It is as Aldo Leopold explains, “When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect”.

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A Statistical Abstract for the Belgrade Lakes Watershed

Nick Papanastassiou, Caitlin Vorlicek and Michael Donihue, Department of Economics, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, njpapana@colby.edu, cmvorlic@colby.edu, mrdonihu@colby.edu.

While most statistical abstracts are defined according to geo-political boundaries, this abstract is defined according to the boundaries of a physical land form, the Belgrade Lakes Watershed, which includes seven interconnected lakes and contains, or touches, the boundaries of thirteen different towns. This abstract is intended to inform residents of the Watershed about the environment in which they live and relies on GIS software to clip data collected from the US

Census Bureau and match it to the specific region defined by the watershed. Additionally, maps created using GIS help to tell a story about the people and economic activity within the landform, both across the different lakes in the Watershed and across time. Preliminary findings include a 3% decrease in the population of the Watershed from 2000 to 2010, compared to a 4% increase in the overall Maine population over that time period. The 373 employers across 19 different industries within the Watershed show interesting data patterns as well. This research is part of a broader EPSCoR project examining the health and sustainability of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed.

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