42 enthusiastic lake residents, representing 8 lake associations, joined in the fun at the AWWA Clean Lakes Campaign Kickoff on Saturday, June 11 at the Wakefield Opera House. Participants included members of the Belleau Lake Property Owners Association, Balch Lake Improvement Association, Great East Lake Improvement Association, Horn Pond Association, Pine River Pond Association, Province Lake Association and Wilson Lake Association.
The morning began with a panel presentation focused on the connections between how we use the land and water quality. LaMarr Clannon of Maine NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) gave an overview of nonpoint source pollution, Bob Craycraft of the UNH Lakes Lay Monitoring Program talked about measuring water quality, Andy Tolman of the Maine Center for Disease Control explained the relationship between land use activities and safe drinking water, Keith Fletcher of the Moose Mountains Regional Greenways illustrated the necessity for preserving open space and forest land and Sally Soule of the NH Dept. of Environmental Services Watersheds Assistance Section wrapped it up with a discussion about invasive aquatic plants and state shoreland regulations. The audience expressed many insightful questions and concerns.
In a change of pace, the group split into three teams to play the Watershed Game, developed by Northland NEMO and facilitated by AWWA Program Manager Dustin Johnson, Sally Soule, and NH DES Watershed Outreach Coordinator. The Watershed Game is an interactive tool that helps individuals understand the connection between land use and water quality. Participants learn how a variety of land uses impact water and natural resources, increase their knowledge of best management practices (BMPs), and learn how their choices can prevent adverse impacts. Participants apply plans, practices, and policies that help them achieve a water quality goal for a stream, lake, or river. The game provided an opportunity for lively discussion and friendly competition and gave members of different lake associations a chance to share stories and strategies.
After partaking in a delicious lunch graciously provided by the Lovell Lake Food Center, Hannaford’s in Rochester and AWWA volunteers the group settled in with their own lake association members to preview the Clean Lakes Campaign Toolkit. The toolkit contains helpful information designed to help the lake associations strengthen their ability to protect water quality and keep the beautiful lakes of the region clean and healthy for generations to come. AWWA is asking each association to pledge to take on at least one Clean Lakes Campaign project by the end of summer 2012. AWWA will bring the group back together at that point to share what worked, what didn’t and what lays ahead.
To wrap it up, a representative from each association shared a bit about what their association is doing, what they hope to do and some challenges they are facing. It was a wonderfully informative day and each attendee went away with new information to share and an understanding of the importance of action to protect the region’s precious water resources.
Great door prizes were given as a reward for sharing a June Saturday morning. Thanks to our generous donors:
Constantino Real Estate
Crabby Bear Restaurant
Free Range Fish
One Earth Natural Food Store
Poor People’s Pub
Province Lake Golf Club
Willy’s Ale House
As an added benefit to the event, a few weeks later at the Great East Lake Improvement Association Annual Meeting, 67 lake association members signed the “Shrink Your Phospohorus Footprint” pledge! It’s just the beginning of a friendly competition between lake associations to see who can get a highter percentage of members to pledge. Lot’s of fun in watershed world!