Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Maine Water Conference 2010 - March 17

The Maine Water Conference 2010 will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on March 17, 2010. The call for abstracts has been issued - see the MWC site for more details about sessions and plenary speakers. MLCI will be there - hope to see you too!

Monday, October 26, 2009


October 20, 2009
Contact Catherine Schmitt (catherine.schmitt@umit.maine.edu)

ORONO - Recognizing the need for a centralized, neutral source of climate information specific to Maine, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant today announced the launch of Maine Climate News at http://extension.umaine.edu/maineclimatenews. Produced in partnership with Maine State Climatologist George Jacobson, the site is intended to be a portal to local climate change science and research at the University of Maine and beyond, as well as a resource for news and climate-related activities throughout the state.

"Climate change is a complex and dynamic issue, and it can be overwhelming. While much of our focus is on coastal climate change impacts, the information on the new site is also intended to provide useful information from our state climatologist to a broad audience," said project leader Esperanza Stancioff, a climate change educator with UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant.
The site provides visitors with access to climate scientists, including Jacobson of UMaine's Climate Change Institute, who is also the designated State Climatologist for Maine. State climatologists bring their scientific expertise and climate resources to serve the citizens of their states with specific and first-hand support. Jacobson’s role is to interpret and analyze data from NOAA and the Northeast Regional Climate Center. In addition, Shaleen Jain, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Maine, is providing scientific content and oversight to the news outlet.

The site will be updated quarterly with new features and articles.
"We hope that people who live, work, and vacation in Maine will use this resource and provide feedback and suggestions for stories they’d like us to publish," said Stancioff.

Visit Maine Climate News at http://extension.umaine.edu/maineclimatenews

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Foliage Over Nahmakanta Lake

Former MLCI Educator and current Board Member Rex Turner thought he'd share a photo from a 9/28/09 day in the field. The view shown here is from Nesuntabunt Mt. on the Appalachian Trail, at an outcropping overlooking Nahmakanta Lake, a pristine 986 acre lake in the heart of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands' Nahmakanta Public Land Unit. Facebook users can see more photos here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hydrilla found in Damariscotta Lake

Unfortunately, invasive Hydrilla was just found in Damariscotta Lake here in Maine.

The plant was found by a volunteer monitor who participated in training to help monitor his lake.

You can read the DEP's press release regarding this infestation here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From the president's desk

MLCI board president Bill Ferdinand has sent along the following interesting article, of interest to the lake community. See the whole story here.

The story describes the battle against invasives as just that - a war. It details some of the methods that are used to combat the weeds, bugs, and other critters and green things that aren't native to Maine lakes - and that are taking over in some places. A key weapon in the battle is volunteer monitoring and education efforts that help boaters understand why they need to check their boats before launching. Just a small piece of some invasive plants can infest an entire lake. Says a DEP environmental specialist quoted in the piece,
"It's not a huge stretch of the imagination to assume someone came in with that on a boat prop or attached to a trailer," Gregory said. "It's incredibly easy for that to happen."

This year the front line is a lake in the Belgrade Lakes - MLCI's new
neighborhood. The story of that pond's 'last resort' treatment is detailed
in the story. It's definitely worth a read.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's not a lake, but...

The Penobscot watershed has many, many lakes and ponds within its boundary. In fact, the Penobscot is the largest watershed in Maine, covering over 1/3 of the state. The second annual Penobscot Riverfest happened Saturday on the waterfront in Bangor. The story is front-page news in today's Bangor Daily - read all about it here.

The watershed includes some highly developed lakes, ringed by camps, and some of the most remote lakes in the eastern US, like the nearly impossible to find Pamola and Klondike ponds in Baxter State Park. The river incoporates the 'signature' of all the various activities happening within the watershed - from human-driven change to natural processes.

The BDN article recalls times when the river was so obviously polluted that it stank. Our environmental issues now are not so obvious, perhaps, but equally deleterious. The same issues of point-source versus non-point-source pollution affect Maine's lakes, and since the water all flows downhill, eventually ends up reflected in the signature of one of these large rivers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maine press release: Fertilizers and Lakes Don't Mix

Here's an interesting piece about lakes & phosphorus. Former MLCI board member Laura Wilson - an expert on the topic - is quoted in the story.

Fertilizers and Lakes Don't Mix
May 15th, 2009
William Laflamme (207) 287-7726 william.n.laflamme@maine.gov

(AUGUSTA)- Maine's new law is both effective and efficient at protecting clean water. The law passed last year, prompted by the problems phosphorus causes in lakes and streams, requires all retailers who sell lawn fertilizers to post a sign discouraging the use of phosphorus lawn products unless reseeding or starting a new lawn. The law has reduced the amount of phosphorus fertilizers used in Maine and the amount that washes off into Maine waters.

These conclusions are based on data from compliance checks by the Department of Environmental Protection staff during the summer of 2008. Eighty-seven percent of surveyed stores had signs posted. In addition, most retailers (97%) carried at least one type of phosphorus free (P-free) fertilizer and many of the large retailers were carrying all P-free products with the exception of Starter fertilizer (which contains some phosphorus to help start new lawns).

Maine soils generally have plenty of phosphorus so it is a waste of time and money to apply more unless a soil test says it is needed. The extra phosphorus runs off with the next rain to fertilize our waters creating nuisance algal blooms. "Most lawns don't need phosphorus, according to University of Maine Cooperative Extension's Laura Wilson. "About 90% of the lawns that were tested for phosphorus had plenty in their soil," notes Wilson.

Research shows that a healthy lawn can be achieved with fewer lawn chemicals. If a lawn is 10 or more years old, grass clippings, a natural fertilizer for the budget minded, provide enough nutrients in the soil to grow a healthy lawn, so additional fertilizer is not needed. Younger lawns may need some nitrogen, but phosphorus is not needed. "If a lawn doesn't need fertilizer and phosphorus in particular, don't apply any," says Wilson. "Homeowners waste time and money applying fertilizers -- and may harm local waters."

If homeowners need to add fertilizer, the new law has not increased consumer cost. In a comparison of similar lawn fertilizer products in two neighboring states, the cost of P-free lawn fertilizer was found to be the same as lawn fertilizer which contains maintenance levels of phosphorus.

For more information, visit MaineDEP.com on the web.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Book your boat trips now!

The MLCI calendar for field season 2009 is beginning to fill up. If your school, camp, lake association, or other group is interested in booking a trip, you can always give us a call - or you can try our new Trip request form - which is a fill-in pdf - and fax, email, or mail it to us to get more information or begin booking a trip.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 Maine Lakes Conference announced

Maine COLA (Congress of Lake Associations) is announcing the 2009 Maine Lakes Conference, to be held on June 20 in Standish, Maine.

Some highlights:

  • Famed eco-photographers Gerry and Marcy Monkman will kick off the 2009 Maine Lakes Conference with a presentation of their recent work;
  • Sessions on land ownership, development, and land use;
  • Hands-on workshop on exploring lakes with kids;
  • Practical sessions exploring use of BMPs and ways to grow your lake association.
Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a demonstration of MLCI's floating classroom, the Melinda Ann, in the late afternoon.

Check the COLA web site frequently for more information and updates.

Maine lakes key in fishless lakes research

The New York Times just published an article about UMaine research on fishless lakes - refuges for wildlife that otherwise would be fish food. Read all about this interesting topic - Maine's unique resource, fishless lakes, here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2008 lakes report released

Maine VLMP (that's the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program) has released their 2008 report, which you can find here.

Interested in learning more about what's in your lake? Have your lake association or group contact MLCI to find out about scheduling a summer boat program. See the contact information below...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Facebook and blogger and reader, oh my!

MLCI is now on facebook. You can find us by searching for "Maine Lakes". Become a fan!

We're just getting started with our enhanced web resources, so look for more updates and details on each of our web outlets as we ramp up for this summer's busy field season.

Speaking of summer field season, don't forget to contact us if your club, group, organization, or summer camp is looking for a unique, lake-based trip this summer. Our programs are great for adults and kids. The schedule is beginning to fill out, so get in touch soon!

Contact our Lake Science Educator, Phil Mulville at pmulville@mlci.org or call us at 207-495-2222 for further details.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New MLCI Calendar!

Look over there. Yes, to the right of this post. There's a new Google Calendar that will include MLCI events and programs. If you click on an event (a blue bubble on a given day), a note will appear and give you more details about the event.

Stay tuned for our calendar to become populated with events, now that spring has sprung.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Going, going...gone?

It's ice-out season - finally, after a long winter. The US Geological Survey has studied ice-out timing for many lakes across New England and they have a site where you can click a lake to see its historical record of ice out dates, here. Today is Julian Day 89 of 2009; how is a lake in your area doing compared to the historical record?

Who cares about ice out? Well, it turns out that the timing of spring melt tells us a lot about changes in the environment. USGS researchers based here in Maine report that the timing of spring melt has been a bit earlier over the past 150 years (summary here). The researchers suggest that earlier ice-out is an indicator of climate change, inferring that increased air temperature is responsible for earlier melt. A hundred and fifty years. Now that's some pretty long-term monitoring - which is just what we need to find out more about the subtle changes in the environment that can add up to patterns we can see.

Maine lakes have been around for a long, long time and they provide us with lots of information about long-term changes. A UMaine scientist was part of a recent paper that noted how information about lake sediments and water level data make lakes "Sentinels of Change" worldwide.

What's your local sentinel doing right now? Is the ice around the margins disappearing? Is mud season here already?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting to know the new office

Many of the MLCI board members got to see the new office yesterday. It's located on Maine St. in Belgrade Lakes, and has a view of one of the lakes. Here's a sneak peek of the street view, before we moved in (stay tuned for further developments):

Really, though, MLCI's 'office' is the Melinda Ann - the boat where much of the programming goes on. Whether exploring the lake bottom with our remote-controlled submarine or collecting water and benthic samples from the lake, MLCI's boat program offers students a new window into the health of the lake they love to use for swimming, boating, and fishing. Our program introduces students to the basics of lake science, watershed ecology, and issues affecting water quality.

For more information about the boat program or to get on the schedule, contact our Lake Science Educator, Phil Mulville at pmulville@mlci.org or call us at 207-495-2222 for further details.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MLCI's new office

MLCI's operations have moved to a new office in Belgrade Village. Belgrade Village is a great little town, nestled in an area rich with lakes, streams, and wetlands. According to the official community website, there are five lakes, but PEARL includes a few more that are nearby. The lakes range from big ones like Great Pond (8500 acres) to little, unnamed ponds of only an acre or so.

Unfortunately, one of the lakes (as of 2007) had a documented infestation of variable milfoil, an invasive aquatic plant. You can see a map of such infestations here. Some of the activities MLCI has conducted related to aquatic invasives are documented on the Students' Portal. Nobleboro Central School did a neat project figuring out how much of their local lake might be covered if Eurasian milfoil were to invade.

Stay tuned to hear more about MLCI's programs as the spring season gets into full swing.