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RE: Cutting Operation/Soil Erosion on the South Shore

 

Dear DPLOA Members,

 

I talked with the Linneus Planning Board’s Tim Cady at length about the above captioned matter.  He indicated he has a good forestry background, he happens to be a surveyor, and he has gone out to study the situation.  His take is the cutting operation is being done properly, but he agrees there is a plume of silt, even after the cutting has stopped, dumping into the lake.  I talked with David Crane, another Planning Board member, about this same issue and also called board member  Herbie Sewell who was a classmate of mine in high school.  Forester George Harris  indicated he has monitored the cutting operation, and the tree growth program the woodlots are in that coordinates certain  required cutting practices.  Harris indicates the cutting is being done in compliance with conservation statutes.  It has become apparent that we don’t want to take away property rights of the land owner behind the lots that border the lake, but we need a protective zone to have some teeth to control when a cutting is done and how it is done and to beef up the minimum state standards for this region.  It’s not done from a militant standpoint … it’s done from a protective, trying to keep silt from the lake  position.  Just putting bales of straw or black plastic isn’t going to do it.  There is such a runoff that is further complicated with how dry it’s been and then the major deluge of water that we suddenly had that created so much extra silt. After the dry fall, air borne silt and dust have found their way into the lake we all love and cherish.

 

I have  talked with the DEP’s Nick Archer at great length and suggested let’s have a meeting with all of the different entities so we can get the facts, we can get a solution and we can avoid a lot of the emotion and finger pointing.  The effort is not to make a 60-minutes spin out of this but to get more funding from DEP to address the problems we’ve had right along above and beyond the cutting operation.  The road on the South Shore was designed for seasonal camp usage back in 1959 when all but the handful of camps on the little lake’s south shore used the beginning of the road.  The extra activity as everybody has more than one car  and are  using their cottages more than a few times a year has created pressure on our lake.  The removal of trees along the shoreline and along brooks is not helping.  Poor existing and new driveways / parking areas are causing more runoff in development that has been allowed on a per case basis by various past code enforcement entities.  Gabe Goodwin is the new Code Enforcement Officer. There’s a hope that the lake building codes / permits and enforcement will be consistent and uniform if we can work with Gabe to help protect the lake. The key is not to be so overly restrictive that no improvements can be made to existing  problem areas.  The meeting that I propose will include Gabe, the DEP, the three  town planning boards of Linneus, New Limerick and Oakfield,  the Forest Service, the Conservation Department and the EPA, if necessary for discussion, solutions and long term protection of the lake.  The Malisset Indians are concerned about the headwaters of the Meduxnekeag where they have  put a lot of money into cleaning up the river down stream.  They could be a player to help us protect this resource and to partner with USDA’s soil conservation to obtain more government funding to tackle the outstanding problem areas of the lake.  I can invite wood harvester Michael Lane too to get his input and cooperation in a solution for keeping silt out of the lake.  I look out from my family’s lake home and see the white stripes on the hillside and know every time it rains, there is water racing,  picking up silt along the way to the lake below along the south shore.  Smelting like it was years ago was just starting to make a come back.  As a group, we have to address run off from harvesting, the existing road deficiencies and to pin point what funding can do to help stop the plumes. Plumes choke the fish and cause the vegetation to grow in front of your property where ever it be located on this 1000 acre lake.

 

Just letting you know what is going on behind the scenes, and we’re here for any phone calls or concerns that you have.  I’m still living at Drews, and  walk down to the dam like lots of folks do. Three weeks ago there wasn’t any water going across it.  Now we have lots of rainfall, and the dry conditions of the fall caused an airborne erosion in addition to the runoff that we’re now seeing.  The white stripes on the side of the mountain from cutting disturb me, but all of your local officials are indicating to me that the cutting is being done correctly.  They point out a lot of the problems are from land owner’s driveways, the road being used beyond what it was designed for, steep inclines, poor building designs and other factors.  I will let you know when this meeting is going to take place and have made the overture to try and keep the lines of communication open. DEP’s Nick Archer says after the first of the year but I think waiting is what there has been too much of to date as the harvesting went on and piece meal, individuals made calls, experienced frustration and a helplessness to protect the lake.  Standing around is not something Northern Mainer’s are used to doing when they see damage to a resource or their private property being done and concerns going on deaf ears.  In the meantime, you have received contact names and numbers.  I encourage you to get educated, get involved and let your feelings be known. 

 

It is not pleasant to see a giant plume of dirt and mud in any of the coves of the lake, and I don’t want the association to feel that nothing is being done.  Larry Holmes had posted images that he had, and I’m trying to get the ones from George Harris that he has collected from trips out every time it rained to document and monitor cutting and the watershed problem areas.  Larry’s images  can be found at www.picasaweb.google.com/larryholmes43.  One of the problems on the South Shore is lot 109 that shows a culvert going right into the lake causing silt and sand to have an easy entry according to forester Harris..  It is problems like this we need your help to identify so we can go to the DEP for the second round of financing to fix them.  It won’t help the cutting operation, but it’s something we need to do anyway for phase two of efforts to keep Drews Lake clean. We will study earlier watershed studies volunteers did around the lake in the early stages of helping soil conservation determine where DEP funding would help problem areas.

 

 I will check with the Congress of Lakes Association, which we are a member, to find out what beefed up ordinances we can come up with to protect the zone behind your camp lots that don’t take away property rights but have stricter rules on how to administer a cutting operation.  We have lots of work to do to protect any against further cutting ten years from now, and more development as greater number of year rounders pop up around both shores of this beautiful lake.  Tana McNutt and Jimmy Ritchie keep track of water quality/clarity and back in May could get 6.8 meter readings on the disc but in July the numbers for visibility/particulates dropped to 4.3 meter output. The association appreciates the time volunteers like these put into being good stewards of the lake.

 

Andy Mooers

President DLPOA

207 532 6573

info@mooersrealty.com

 

 

 

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