Town funding supports the lake conservation work in the Belgrade Lakes region. The Town’s support is critical to the success of erosion control and invasive plant (milfoil) prevention programs, and is used to leverage funding from other sources, including the state. Lake shorefront properties represent over 50% of the property tax base in Belgrade. An investment in lakes is an investment in keeping taxes low and in maintaining local jobs. Clean lakes support the economic infrastructure of our region.
With respect to invasive plants (milfoil prevention and removal), here are the highlights from 2019:
- 7 Lakes Alliance conducted 10,033 courtesy boat inspections between May and September 2019 at five public boat launches and one private launch in the Belgrade area lakes. Of those inspections, 3,111 were at Long Pond and 3,839 at Great Pond. Since 2003, BRCA’s CBI program has performed approximately 15% of all boat inspections in Maine. CBIs help prevent the spread of invasive plants into all of the lakes. In 2019, CBIs removed invasive plant fragments from boats entering East Pond.
- Working with the Belgrade Lakes Association, 7 Lakes Alliance removed 33,435 gallons of variable milfoil from Great Pond and Great Meadow Stream. This number has steadily decreased since 2012, when 50,000 gallons were removed, due to our aggressive efforts.
- 52 miles of shoreline on Great and Long ponds were “adopted” through the Adopt-A-Shoreline program, and at-risk areas of both lakes were surveyed.
- In 2019, we employed 20 CBIs. A mix of high school and college students, and local community members had rewarding summer jobs learning about lake ecology, the value of Maine’s lakes, and the risk of invasive plants.
- Total milfoil program expenses amounted to $220,000. Funds were received from lake associations, towns, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and private donors. Volunteers also contributed over 1,600 hours of volunteer time to this effort.
With respect to 2019 erosion control programs (to prevent algae blooms and improve water quality), BRCA’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC):
- Has, since 1996, completed 1,600 projects, the largest such program in Maine.
- Employs high school and college-aged young people. In 2018, 12 were hired and completed 119 erosion control projects within the Belgrade Lakes watershed.
- In 2019, the YCC budget was $125,350. Funding was provided by homeowners, towns, lake associations, private donors and businesses, and Maine DEP.
7 Lakes Alliance