Going LakeSmart

This summer Colby College decided to make our Outing Club Cabin LakeSmart. Here is the process we went through including the LakeSmart screening and completing the changes necessary in order to receive a LakeSmart Award. Note, this process is slightly different for us than the typical homeowner since we are doing this through the college.

The LakeSmart Screening

On June 1st as a part of the LakeSmart Screener training process, Barbara Welch from Maine DEP, Maggie Shannon from the Maine Congress of Lakes Association, and several Colby students performed a screening of the Colby Outing Club property. The property was evaluated based on a rubric which looks at four main categories (1) Driveway and Parking Areas, (2) Structures and Septic System, (3) Yard, Recreation Area and Footpaths, and (4) Shorefront and Beach Area. Once the property was screened, a site evaluation and recommendations were compiled and e-mailed to the person overseeing this project (typically this information would be sent to the property owners). Our evaluation  and recommendations can be viewed here.

Meeting With Clark, the Conservation Corp Director

After receiving our evaluation and recommendation actions for improvement, we decided to meet with Clark Freeman, the director of the Conservation Corp. Clark was able to walk the property with us to provide advice and detailed descriptions of suggested improvements for the property. In our case these improvements included: an open box culvert in the driveway, an infiltration ditch in front of the porch, installing rip-rap along unstable sections of the shoreline, and increasing the buffer. The Conservation Corp is available to assist in the installations for free if you provide the materials. However we decided to do the improvements as part of Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip, that is, a group of incoming freshman would be involved in completing the installations as part of their orientation to Colby. With the help of Clark and the Maine DEP Conservation Practices for Homeowners, we came up with a detailed plan for the improvements which can be viewed here.

DEP Permits

Clark informed us that we need two DEP permits in order to legally install the infiltration ditch and the rip rap section. We found the rules and requirements to obtain the permit through the Maine DEP website under the Permits, Laws and Rules section. For our specific case, Clark directed us specifically to Chapter 305 Section 2 under DEP Rules. Our submission can be viewed here.

Buffer Plants

Next we took a trip to Fieldstone Gardens for a consultation regarding the landscaping of the buffer. Fieldstone Gardens and Native Notions are aware of the LakeSmart program and the importance of using native plants. Similarly Maine DEP provides a list of native plants under Conservation Practices for Homeowners. After our consultation, we decided to plant 12 bayberry bushes and 6 highbush blueberry bushes.

Site Plan and Budget

Once we had a general idea of the improvements we wanted to make, we were able to construct a preliminary site plan with detailed instructions and a preliminary budget. We presented the site plan to the director of the Physical Plant Department (PPD) on July 25th. This meeting was quickly followed up on July 29th with another meeting at the Outing Club Cabin in which the director of PPD gave us specific recommendations. From this second meeting we were able to augment our improvement plans and construct a final site plan with detailed instructions. The detailed instructions were created using the DEP datasheets found under Conservation Practices for Homeowners. Lastly, a final budget was constructed.


The improvements were implemented by Colby freshman as part of their freshman orientation experience. We had two groups of freshman who worked on the project. The first group consisted of 8 freshman and 2 senior leaders who spent half of the day on Thursday, September 1st as part of their C2it. We also greatly appreciated the additional help of three BRCA Conservation Corp members. In just a few hours, this hardworking group completed moving the fire pit, spreading 15 cubic yards of mulch, planting 12 bayberry bushes, 6 blueberry bushes, and 10 ground cover plants. They also moved and burned a pile of rotting wood, and started digging the trench in front of the Outing Club Cabin porch for the infiltration ditch.


The next day, Friday, September 2nd, another group of freshman arrived in the morning to start their Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip (COOT). This group consisted of 8 freshman and 3 leaders. During the next two days, all of the planned improvements were implemented on the property.  This included a rip rap section, an infiltration ditch, two rubber razor blades and one open top culvert in the driveway. Each of the rubber razor blades and the box culvert also had small plunge pools to catch the excess water flow.

Before and After Pictures




Buffer Zone










Infiltration Ditch










Rip Rap






LakeSmart Award!

On Friday, September 23, Maggie Shannon did a final evaluation on the Outing Club Cabin. After her inspection she recommended it for a LakeSmart Award.   Her recommendation was approved by DEP  in June, 2012.   The Colby Outing Club cabin has received the coveted Lake Smart Award.


Additional Details:

In September 2012 forty Colby first year students spent two days maintaining the COC property.   Over eight tons of new much was added to the shoreline buffer area, the shoreline rip rap was repaired, and drainage ditches and infiltration trenches were cleared of debris.   Maintaing a property to LakeSmart standards does require annual maintenance by the landowner.