Category: Looking at Lakes and Ponds

Sweet sound of summer on the pond Few sounds convey unadulterated wildness like a loons’ voice, floating over the water. Their trilling calls are a highlight of the summer soundscape on our lakes and ponds. Common loons are spring and summertime residents on these inland freshwater bodies. They spend the winter in coastal areas, and move inland in the spring for the breeding season. Males generally arrive first, to establish their territories, and the females return several weeks later. They construct their nests in the spring, building their nests right at the water’s edge – sometimes even on low mounds …

The call of the loon Read More »

Those of you living on or near a lake shore may have observed that lakes are freezing later in the season and thawing earlier than they did in the past. These changes in ice cover can impact the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of lakes and ponds.

The timing of ice cover on lakes in the winter, and its disappearance in the spring, are important indicators of climate change and have implications for summer water conditions (…)

The good, the bad, and the ugly Cyanobacteria have been getting a lot of press recently, reflecting concern about the risk of exposure to these potentially dangerous bacteria. Fortunately, to date, we have not detected any cyanobacteria in Pemaquid, Bristol Mills or Biscay ponds, where we initiated monitoring this summer. Cyanobacteria are so named for their striking color, which also led to their common (though misleading) name, blue-green algae. Though they are microscopic and typically unicellular, they can sometimes grow into large colonies and form thick mats that are visible to the naked eye. They are also the oldest known …

What’s the scoop on cyanobacteria? Read More »

National Water Quality Month is dedicated to making the most of the relatively small amount of fresh water we have, because having clean water is vital to our individual health, our collective agricultural needs, and the needs of our environment.

Several Coastal Rivers volunteers gathered at Pemaquid Beach recently for a training with the Maine Healthy Beaches Program. This training will prepare them to take weekly water samples at three favorite local swim beaches, all summer long, to help make sure the beaches are safe for swimming.

As the weather and water get colder and many of our citizen science programs come to an end for the season, I start sifting through all the data we’ve collected over the summer months and reflecting on all we accomplished. Every year, I am filled with gratitude for our volunteers who labor in the name of protecting our lands and waters. I think it’s safe to say they do this out of love.

What else would drive these folks to plunge their hands into October-chilled sea water to take nitrogen samples? Or face down the occasional leech to wade – much less swim – in Biscay Pond to search for invasive plants? Or pick their way around patches of poison ivy to document shoreline erosion caused by increasing storm events? Or stare through a microscope for three or four hours at a stretch, as our phytoplankton monitoring volunteers do? (…)

Our volunteers are what make our work possible. We couldn’t do nearly as much as we do in land conservation, water quality monitoring, and education without the many passionate people who give their time.

In this recorded program Coastal Rivers staff run through the variety of volunteer opportunities available and how to sign up. There is a job for every interest, whether it’s monitoring water quality, stewardship, handy-work, hospitality, nature education, or photography!

One of the most important things every property owner can do is to have a great buffer between your home and lawn and any stream, lake, pond, estuary, or ocean. Join Sarah Gladu for slides, video and conversation about how to create a great buffer.

Carolyn Shubert, Land and Water Stewardship Manager, was recognized recently by Maine Lakes for her work as a champion for water quality in the Pemaquid River system.

An ounce of prevention Aquatic invasive plants are very good at spreading from one fresh water body to another by “hitchhiking” on boats and trailers. And they are considered “invasive” for a reason. Just a small piece of milfoil, for example, can spread throughout an entire lake or pond. Once these plants are established, they are almost impossible to remove. They spread rapidly and form dense mats near the surface of the water, blocking sunlight, crowding out native plants, and creating poor habitat for fish, diving birds, and other forms of wildlife. Not to mention getting in the way of …

Combatting invasives through Courtesy Boat Inspections Read More »