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PO. Box 303
Dover-Foxcroft, ME
04426-0303

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2024-06-19

Register for the Plant Paddle on August 6

Lake Stewards of Maine Lake Stewards of Maine (LSM), together with Sebec Lake Association will host a Plant Paddle workshop on August 6 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Pre-registration is required for all guests. Please sign up by visiting the Lake Stewards of Maine website registration page.

In this outdoor, on-water class, guests will learn how to survey for suspicious aquatic plants.This useful program will cover basic botany, plant structure, and life cycles for a variety of common plants. Guests will learn how to use LSM's Quick Key to determine whether plants are suspicious of being invasive, discover which aquatic invasive plants are infesting Maine lakes, and learn how to monitor lakes and how to report findings by becoming an invasive plant patrol (IPP) volunteer. This class is required for those seeking Tier 1 certification through LSM. This class is free to all. Guests may bring their own small, shallow draft craft (canoe, kayak, row boat). Should guests wish to attend but do not have their own watercraft, appropriate arrangements can be made. Pre-registration is required for all guests. Please sign up by visiting the Lake Stewards of Maine website registration page. 

Upon registration, all guests will receive information on workshop details and location. Lake Stewards of Maine is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which works to protect Maine lakes and to promote lake stewardship through widespread citizen participation in the gathering and dissemination of credible scientific information pertaining to lake health. For more information, please contact 207-783-7733,  or email stewards@lakestewardsme.org.

It will be fun!

2024-05-15

Annual meeting Sat 7/13 9:30am at Central Hall Commons

Save the Date!

The annual meeting of the Sebec Lake Association is scheduled for Saturday, July 13 at 9:30 am in the Central Hall Commons, 152 E Main St in Dover-Foxcroft.

Our Speaker will be Katherine (Kacey) Weber, Education Coordinator, Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. She will talk about the LakeSmart Program: Learn to play an active role in protecting and improving Sebec's water quality with simple, mindful solutions you can implement at your Camp! Lake Smart, a free, voluntary program to empower camp owners to take an active role in conserving our beloved lake, protecting water quality and property values.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

Due to a clerical error in the Current Newsletter, the date of the SLA Annual meeting is incorrect on the Events of Local Interest list .  The correct date/time is Sat July 13, 9:30 a.m. at the Central Commons Hall in Dover-Foxcroft.

Apologies from the Newsletter staff....

2024-05-13

Lawmakers gut bill set to protect state lakes

To comment on this issue, contact our local state legislature representatives:

State House Representative for the D/F, Sebec area: Chad Perkins,  phone: 207-279-0927

State Senator:  Stacey Guerin, phone:(207) 249-0472

Lawmakers gut bill set to protect state lakes; Funding stripped during committee meeting 
BY EMMETT GARTNER THE MAINE MONITOR 
Lawmakers failed to advance a bill addressing invasive aquatic plant infestations on Friday, weakening a slate of initiatives that environmentalists said would buttress Maine lakes and freshwater bodies in the face of climate change. 
The bill would have provided a one-time $2 million infusion to a fund managed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to address aquatic plant infestations, which have become increasingly frequent and severe. 
Lawmakers stripped the funding at a meeting of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee last Tuesday, leaving the bill with a mandate but no money. The Senate then approved this updated version Friday afternoon but was thwarted by the House when it chose not to take up any legislation sent through by the committee. LD 2141 would have required Maine environmental agencies to develop more stringent 
prevention and courtesy boat inspection measures - which are widely conducted by volunteer lake associations or other conservation groups - but without the additional money to manage current outbreaks. 
Roughly 40 of Maine's lakes, rivers and ponds are infested with some sort of invasive aquatic plant species, according to a January estimate by the Department of Environmental Protection. 
There is a fear among lake groups that the number will grow without additional resources. 
"As Maine's climate changes and use of Maine's water resources increases, Maine's lakes are now at a higher risk of infestation from aquatic invasive species than ever before," wrote Alison Cooney and Brett Willard, 
two leaders for the nonprofit conservation group Lake Stewards of Maine. Environmentalists have said the fund the $2 million appropriation was bound for will be increasingly strained as Maine's climate warms and its freshwater bodies become more hospitable to invasive aquatic plant species. 
The bill is one of the five measures that Maine Audubon and other groups hope will help protect freshwater lakes and ponds, including a measure to increase the cost of statemandated boat stickers that help fund the invasives prevention program, and another to strengthen shoreland zoning measures. 
At the time of the bill's introduction, legislators called the $2 million a "drop in the 
bucket" compared with the economic benefits Maine's lakes and ponds provide  
around $14 billion per year according to a recent valuation by the University of Maine and the Department of Environmental Protection. "We're at that tipping point where we can invest now or have no option later," Rep. Tavis Hasenfus, D-Readfield, the lead sponsor of the bill, said at a January hearing. Leaders of regional watershed conservation groups said they were hoping for the additional financial support from the state to boost those programs. The groups often spend thousands of dollars on invasive monitoring. Tom Mullin, executive director of Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed, said an infestation of the densely growing Eurasian watermilfoil unexpectedly expanded recently when it was seen growing beyond its typical season. 
Invasive plants like Eurasian watermilfoil can blanket lake and river beds, crowding out native plants and making swimming, boating and fishing more difficult. 
"We were finding fragments and plants growing as late as early November this past year, which is way past the normal frame. And of course the warming bodies of lakes and ponds of Maine contributed to that," Mullin said. Eurasian watermilfoil "highly fragments and is easily transported up and down the watershed. We were definitely concerned about that." 
Some legislators and state environmental protection officials and the Maine Department 
of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife debated whether a one-time appropriation would be 
effective for managing invasive species, with some favoring baseline funding. 
Lawmakers also predicted the uncertain outcome on the appropriations table that would 
come three months later, where no funding would be guaranteed. 
"As a program manager, I like stable, consistent funding," Francis Brautigam, director of 
fisheries and hatcheries for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said at the January hearing. "A 
one-time shot with X amount of dollars, it's not the same thing. It's very difficult to plan 
and maintain continuity with our program." 
Brautigam also said environmental protection and fisheries and wildlife departments were already working on expanding boat inspection and other preventative measures, which will be considered during biennial budget deliberations. An official from the Department of Environmental Protection program most actively 
involved with invasive aquatic plants appeared more open to the one-time cash injection. 
The invasive aquatic species program recently had a budget of around $1.7 million, much of it coming from the sale of "Preserve Maine Waters" stickers that motorized watercraft must display. 
John McPhedran, who oversees the program for the Department of Environmental Protection, said at a February work session that he and the program's four-person staff are working across agencies to develop new initiatives to enhance prevention efforts - which would require more funding. 
McPhedran also expected that a good portion of the bill's funding could have been used by lake groups like Mullin's through state grants. "If we are to develop the program further as we think is needed to prevent new 
infestations, then yes, we are going to need more funding," McPhedran said. "An infusion of $2 million would certainly be beneficial to the immediate needs of the program." 
Like the conservation groups they heard from, many members of the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had climate change on their minds during the bill's consideration. 
"Not only will [climate change] increase the number of potential species that could be introduced, but it will also again, create a longer growing season," said Scott Williams, a lake scientist who has been sounding the alarm in presentations to the Maine Land Use Planning Commission and Androscoggin River Watershed Council. Williams, the science adviser for the nonprofit Maine Lakes, has trained hundreds of volunteers on invasive aquatic species identification during his decades-long career. Through that time he has seen lake temperatures rise and become more hospitable to invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil that favor warmer waters. Surface temperatures of northern New England lakes have increased at a rate of 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit per decade between 1984 and 2014, according to a 2016 study in the journal Earth Interactions. 
Along with rising temperatures, Maine lakes are subject to an increasing frequency of extreme rain events, which deliver larger volumes of stormwater runoff with sediment and nutrients that fuel harmful algal blooms. 
Roberta Hill, another Maine lakes veteran and bioregional coordinator for the nonprofit Center for an Ecology-Based Economy, told The Maine Monitor that such a disastrous combination occurred in Norway last summer. 
One of the many severe rain events that ravaged western Maine washed out land near Lake Pennesseewassee, wiping out progress by the local lake association to reduce erosion. A large algal bloom followed one of those storms in a local pond, according to Hill. "It was a huge wakeup call, not only for property owners but people who swim regularly in lakes," Hill said. 
Hill and Williams emphasized the importance of prevention programs like courtesy boat inspections and teaching volunteers invasive species identification, which can help contain outbreaks early on and keep them from spreading to new water bodies. Williams also commended state funding to expand undersized culverts in Maine, preventing them from washing out and sending nutrient-ladent sediment spewing into nearby water bodies. But when it comes to containing both aquatic invasive species and erosion, Williams said there is never enough staff or resources to work with each lake community in Maine. It will take volunteers, and technical and financial assistance from the state to do that work, he said, and is especially urgent given the current and future changes to Maine's lakes. 
Maine "lakes have been under the influence of climate change for many years," Williams said. But "we're just now I think reaching a critical tipping point where we're starting to really see how those impacts are playing out." 

This story was originally published by The Maine Monitor, a nonprofit and nonpartisan news organization

2024-04-30

Lake Level and Dam Operations Update for Spring 2024

Hi everyone. We've been getting and hearing concerns about the flashboards at the Sebec dam and the lake level being 'low'.  We've been in communication with the owners of the dam, and here is what we can tell you.

First, let's get the feet above sea level numbers correct.  Per the Operating agreement executed in October 2005, during the summer, the lake level is required to be between 322.3 and 322.8 feet when flashboards are in place and within three inches of spillway crest (top of concrete) elevation (that is, between elevations 321.0 and 321.3 feet) when flashboards are not in place.  The agreement specifically stipulates that between Memorial Day and the Monday after Labor day the lake level is to be between 322.2 & 322.8 feet ASL barring the impact of extreme rainfall.  Other, lower levels are allowed during fall drawdown and winter months to protect the shoreline, and when maintenance is required.

Second, at present Relevate Power has two key maintenance projects underway or planned to be performed, with both targeted for completion long enough before Memorial day so the 322.3 - 322.8 level can be reached.  One is to repair one of the head gates at the dam which is stuck open and inoperable.  That repair is in progress (you may have seen a crane at the dam).  The second project is to replace all of the flashboards with new materials.  Both these projects require lowering the lake level to crest level, and perhaps lower, which is allowed under the Operating contract with the state for this type of maintenance.  This is why we currently see the lake level about 1 foot below 'summer normal'.

When completed, both of these projects will facilitate the Dam owner's ability to better manage the lake level, including during periods of heavy precipitation.  Even with these improvements, however, we remind everyone that Sebec has a very, very large watershed and multiple heavy days of spring & summer rain will result in lake level rise above the 322.3 - 322.8 levels.  Mother nature still rules supreme.

There's still several weeks before the lake level must be up to summer level.....  So, we urge some patience.

2024-04-12

New laws passed to protect Maine Lakes!

This Legislative Session was fast and furious! A short 'emergency' session, there we several important lake bills that successfully made it through committee and past the governor's desk. For a print copy of any of the new legislation, Click here.

These bills could not have succeeded without help from all of you! 

Grassroots activists, LakeSmart volunteers, lake association members and so many others wrote letters and spoke in front of committees, making it clear to legislators that lakes deserve strong, thoughtful, and effective protection policies. 

Protecting our Shorelines: LD 2101

Municipalities and the Land Use Planning Commission will have crucial new tools at their disposal to enforce existing shoreland zoning rules and to counter egregious violators. This bill will allow them to suspend or revoke shoreland zoning permits and place liens on properties in violation of shoreland zoning rules, better protecting water quality and wildlife habitat, especially nesting loons.

Support for Reducing Invasive Species Spread: LD 2141 and LD 1342

Invasive plants - including milfoils, Curly-leaf pondweed, Parrot Feather, European naiad, and more - accidentally introduced to Maine waters disrupt habitat, displace native wildlife, harm lake water quality, and reduce fishing and recreational opportunities. 

LD 2141 will add $2M to the Invasive Aquatic Plant and Nuisance Species Fund to help address the most serious invasive aquatic plant infestations. Last month, more than 600 supporters signed a petition organized by Maine Audubon and signed by many of you urging the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee to fund the bill. We are awaiting word from this committee with a final funding amount and hope that it is close to what was asked as we know the need for invasive species risk reduction is great. 

LD 1342 will adjust the cost of the Lake and River Protection Sticker, which all motorized watercraft must display in Maine, by $10 in 2025 and again in 2028. The change will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars to help combat invasive species spread and reduce the serious risks to Maineďż˝s lakes and waterways. 

Managing Wakesurfing to Protect Lake Health: LD 2284

Wake boats are a relatively new sight on Maine's lakes, and their impacts to both lake health and human safety have raised concerns among lake volunteers, shoreland homeowners, and other boaters. Wakesurfing is one of the main operating modes for wakeboats, creating very large wakes that can be ridden on a surf board, with no tow rope. While a great activity far from shore, where the large waves have time to dissipate, wakesurfing too close to shore allows the large waves to erode shorelines, swamp and sink boats, pose serious danger for swimmers and other boaters, and wash eggs out of loon nests. Maine Lakes staff participated in a stakeholder group organized last fall by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife that made several recommendations for legislation to help address wake boat impacts. (Your can read the report here). This bill, which was enacted at the beginning of April, addresses several issues raised in the report and will prohibit wakesurfing less than 300' from shore and in water less than 15' deep. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will report back to the committee in three years on how the new law is working.

LD 2884 will prohibit a motorboat engaging in wakesurfing within 300 feet of shore and in water less than 15 feet deep. While we had originally advocated for this distance to be 500 feet, a distance supported by research in the field, this bill is a start in raising awareness about the risks of wakesurfing too close to shore. We believe there is space for everyone on Maine's lakes. Reducing impacts from activities that erode shores and damage habitat by moving them away from shore is a great way to both keep the activity on the lake and to protect the resource, clean water, that is so vital to our boating industry.

2024-03-25

Considering the future of the Mayo Mill Dam

On June 11 2024, The Town of Dover-Foxcroft has an important decision to make about the future of the Mayo Mill Dam due to longstanding safety, legal, and state/federal compliance issues with the dam.

At the beginning of 2023, the Town of Dover-Foxcroft set out to complete a feasibility and alternatives study in partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and The Nature Conservancy in Maine (TNC). That study is now finished. After reviewing the available options, costs, and benefits, a steering committee of residents and elected officials convened by the Town to oversee the study report voted unanimously in support of removing the Mayo Mill Dam as the best option for Dover-Foxcroft. The committee presented their recommendation to the Select Board on February 26, 2024. At this same meeting, the Select Board voted 6-1 to accept the committee's recommendation for dam removal, and also voted 7-0 to bring the final decision to a town vote.

Removing the Mayo Mill dam would significantly reduce flood risk and eliminate safety, liability, and long-term operations and maintenance concerns for the Town. Dam removal would also restore a free-flowing Piscataquis River and restore natural wetland and riparian areas. This will result in improved ecosystem health, including restored in-river and shoreline habitats for a wide variety of native fish and wildlife species, improved water quality, and enhanced shoreline stabilization.

While a portion of Sebec Lake shorefront is in Dover-Foxcroft, the lake drains past the outlet dam into Sebec River and enters the Piscataquis River below both Piscataquis River dams in Dover-Foxcroft: the upper Mayo Mill Dam and the lower Brown.s Mills Dam. Whatever happens at Mayo Mill will not impact the Milo Dam on Sebec River nor the Sebec Dam at the outlet of Sebec Lake.

Invasive fish species management continues to be a state priority. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2009 by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (ME DIFW) and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (ME DMR), existing barriers designed to allow passage of Atlantic salmon but prevent passage of northern pike will be maintained at Sebec Dam, Milo Dam, and Brown's Mills. The MOU was just recently updated to further strengthen the agencies' joint commitment to preventing the spread of invasive fish in the Piscataquis River and ensuring barriers are maintained at the dams listed above. LD1049, An Act to Protect Maine's Inland Fisheries from Invasive Fish, was amended to a MOU, described above, between ME DMR and ME DIFW, and given final approval by the Legislature in March.

Ways to Learn More:  Visit Mayo Mill Dam Feasibility Study to see all information considered by the steering committee over the past 14 months.

- Contact Alsina Brenenstuhl, Project Coordinator, with questions and ask to stay up to date with events.

- Follow along on the -Town of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine- Facebook page.

- Keep an eye out for a series of -Coffee Conversations- this spring where steering committee members will be available to answer your questions about this process.

2024-03-19

2024 Local seasonal events calendar...Fun for all!

April 
April 13 - 57th Annual Kenduskeag River Race
April 27 - 50th Annual Kiwanis Piscataquis River Race - Guilford to Dover-Foxcroft
April 28 - Charlie Chaplin's silent film Gold Rush with Live Accompaniment 2:00 PM EDT Center Theater
May 
May 4 - Annual Kiwanis Bike Rodeo, YMCA/Kiwanis Park - D-F
May 4 - PCSWCD's 8th Annual Bird Walk, 8am, register at: https://piscataquisswcd.org/
May 18 - Sebec-Bean Supper with hot dogs - 4:00-6:00 pm
June 
June 8 - Molly Hatchet at the Piscataquis County Ice Arena, 7:00 pm 
June 21? (TBD) - Dinner Dance & Auction @YMCA/Kiwanis Park, Dover-Foxcroft
June 22 - Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, Dover-Foxcroft
June 27 - Some Reel People, country dance band. Thompson Library Pavilion, 6pm 
July 
July 3 - Sebec - Food - 6:00 pm, Fireworks at Dusk
July 4 - Sebec - All Day Activities - 8:00 am - Breakfast at Sebec Community Church, 9:00 am, Parade, 10:30am - Chicken BBQ - until sold out, 11:00 am - Canoe Race  
July 13, 9:30 am Sebec Lake Association Annual Meeting, Central Hall Commons, 152 East Main Street, D-F 
July 12, 13, 14 - Annual Guilford Town Wide Yard Sale
July 16. 17& 18 - Teen Wilderness Expedition 8am - 5pm (https://piscataquisswcd.org/)
July 20 -  Sebec - Ice Cream Social and Pie Sale 6:00-8:00 pm
July 26-28 - 74th Annual Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis Auction at Piscataquis Valley Fairgrounds
July 27 - Guilford - Piscataquis River Festival
August 
August 3 - Dover-Foxcroft Homecoming Celebration
August 3 - Steel Drum Concert by Pan Storm 6PM Thompson Library Pavilion
August 6 - SLA Plant Paddle (requires registration); location and time to be announced later
August 9, 10, 11 - Bowerbank Days Event schedule: 
                             Friday evening August 9, 7-10 pm. Dancing & hanging out with live music, raffles, silent                                     auction; Food trucks will be on-site.
                             Saturday, August 10, 8:00 am-5:00 pm. 8:00 am - Gary Wakeland 5K road race - arrive                                     early to register. 9:30 am - Parade
August 22-25 - 137th Annual Piscataquis Valley Fair, Dover-Foxcroft
August 24 - Sebec - Silent Auction & Pancake Breakfast 8:00-10:00 am 
September 
September 21 - Sebec - Whoopie Pie Sale - 8:00 am
September 28 - Guilford - Annual Harvest Fair
October 
October 19 - Sebec - Bean Supper with Pulled Pork - 4:00-6:00 pm
November 
November 2 - Sebec - Chicken & Biscuits - 4:00-6:00 pm
December 
December 2 - Hometown Holiday Events
December date to be determined - Sebec - Christmas Partying Room.
Check for updates on these websites and Facebook:
Kiwanis Club of Dover-Foxcroft; Town of Dover-Foxcroft
Guilford Historical Society; Town of Guilford; Piscataquis Chamber of 
Commerce, Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, 
Thompson Free Public Library, and/or Center Theater.

Most Sebec Events are being held at the Sebec Reading Room.

 

 

 

2024-01-10

Sebec Lake Trout update

Tim Obrey, Maine Inland Fish and Wildlife biologist updated the Fisheries Management work for the trout population of Sebec Lake.  Check out his interesting report and underwater drone footage on our Fisheries Management Plan.  Thanks Tim!