Exciting Partnerships to Protect Water Quality

The word is out that keeping the lakes healthy must be a high priority for the towns, lake associations and citizens of the Acton and Wakefield communities. GELIA and the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance, town officials, local businesses and regional and state agencies are working together on some exciting programs to ensure that Great East, as well as the other lakes in the region, maintain their high quality waters status for future generations.

GELIA commissioned a study of the sedimentation problem in the Scribner Brook which resulted in a recommendation to replace the existing undersized culvert at Acton Ridge Road with an open-bottom embedded culvert and stormwater drainage improvements along the roadway. This project will greatly reduce the sediment washing off the road into the brook and enhance fish and wildlife passage. AWWA helped the Town of Wakefield apply for a grant to fund the project which will be announced in December. If that proposal is not successful AWWA will continue to work with GELIA and the Town to seek other funding.

Stormwater management regulations in both Acton and Wakefield need some strengthening according to the Salmon Falls Headwater Lakes Watershed Management Plan. In an effort to address that weakness, the Acton and Wakefield planning boards have agreed to work across town and state boundaries to find new strategies to better manage stormwater throughout the communities. The towns were approved for a Community Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) grant from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) to work with a consultant to develop stormwater management recommendations for each town based on existing regulations and community needs. This project will highlight the benefits of best management practices for both the communities and the landowners while building support for the concept that property rights, property responsibilities and natural resource protection are not competing goals but rather common interests.

The AWWA Youth Conservation Corps had another busy season controlling erosion on residential properties. To date they have installed 264 erosion control practices (also called BMPs) at 82 project sites. 18 of those sites are on Great East Lake with 63 BMPs that will prevent over 22 tons of sediment flowing into the lake each year. When you see an AWWA YCC sign in your neighborhood stop in for a tour and get some ideas for your own property. Erosion control not only prevents erosion but looks great too. Many thanks to Raise-A-Dock, Great East Docks and AppleCore Docks for their generous support of this year’s YCC crew.

One project as part of AWWA’s third Watershed Assistance grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services is working with the UNH Stormwater Center to address erosion problems along gravel roads and plans to work with the Maine Department of Environmental Services and York County Soil & Water Conservation District to solve some serious road issues on the Acton side of the lake in 2012.

The lake associations of the area are working closely with AWWA to address recommendations from the watershed plan. Protecting the lakes takes all hands on deck and we are so fortunate to have such willing and able partners at all levels. Big construction projects and improved policies are important but the most essential piece is each individual landowner’s commitment to practicing lake friendly behaviors. Do your part to be a Clean Lake Partner. Visit www.AWwatersheds.org for ideas on how you can make a difference.

About the Watershed Survey

 We are pleased to announce that the Great East Lake 2021 Watershed Report is finished and
available as a PDF link below. Many thanks to Jon Balanoff, the AWWA Executive Director, for
his perseverance in seeing the project through to this point.
We all know that our lake is very clear and clean, but the challenge before us is to keep it that
way for future generations. The survey identified many sites throughout the watershed that
threaten its present condition. Here is a quick summary of the findings:

           -25 sites were identified as having a high impact on water quality
           -97 sites were identified with medium impact
           -101 sites were identified with low impact

Of these 200+ sites, about half of them require no-cost or low-cost remediation. The other half
are more involved, more technically challenging, and will have a greater expense associated with
them. Please keep in mind that AWWA’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is available to assist
with remediation projects and property owners need only pay the cost for materials, not labor.

Letters and emails have been sent to all participating members informing them if erosion issues
were found on their property or not. If issues were found, members were provided with details
of the findings and suggested remediation methods.

If you do not receive a letter or email and would like to inquire about findings on your property
you can send your request to either the GELIA Watershed Committee email or the AWWA email
address listed below to request that information. Please provide your name, the property
owner’s name and the property address in your request.

          watershedsurvey@greateastlake.org
          info@AWwatersheds.org

We urge all property owners to read the report as it’s filled with useful information, helpful
remediation options and best practices for all kinds of issues. We also want to stress the
importance of addressing issues promptly should any be identified on your property.
Thank you again to all those who assisted with this survey and thanks to everyone for helping to
keep our lake as clean, clear and beautiful as we possibly can.