District 319 Projects

A rubber razor installed on a steep slope.

A vegetative buffer planting.

North Pond Watershed Protection Project in Norway, Maine

The North Pond Watershed Protection Project, Phase I began in the late fall of 2017. Over the next two years the District and it’s project partners worked very hard to accomplish the goals of their grant driven project. We are pleased to announce that the project, which ends in December of 2019, has met or exceeded almost every goal. A huge amount of credit goes to the Lake Association of Norway (LAON) and it’s president Sal Girifalco, who contributed enormous amounts of time and energy into getting the work coordinated and completed.

The project, which was funded in part by a grant from the USEPA through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, provided cost-share funding to address many of the highest non-point source pollution problem sites identified in the North Pond Watershed Survey done in 2016. Non-point source pollution is primarily soil sediment washed into the lake by stormwater runoff and erosion. Phosphorous attached to soil particles feeds algae growth which can lead to algae blooms and water quality decline.

Besides LAON, other partners included the Androscoggin River Watershed Council and the Town of Norway. Norway Savings Bank and the Town of Norway also contributed cash match toward addressing NPS sites. LAON provided over 200 hours of in-kind volunteer and material contributions including Erosion Control Mulch and rubber Razors to divert runoff from driveways into stable vegetation instead of flowing to the pond.

In all, 13 larger NPS sites were addressed. These included improvements to Crockett Ridge Road’s eroding shoulders, and stabilized ditches and culverts on gravel camp roads like Jackson Lane.  Over 22 free Technical Assistance visits were provided to help property owners learn about “Best Management Practices (BMPs)” they can implement to address erosion issues on their properties. 13 Residential Matching Grants, up to $350, were given to property owners who applied recommended BMPs to their properties like roof dripline trenches and vegetative shoreline buffers. This project reduced soil loss by over 35 tons/year. The project also included presenting workshops on Gravel Road Maintenance and Shoreline Buffer Planting. Another goal of the project was to plant 50 feet of buffer along North Pond’s shoreline. By late September over 73.5 feet had been planted.

Hogan/Whitney Ponds Watershed Protection Project in Oxford, Maine

The Hogan/Whitney Ponds Watershed Protection Project, Phase I began in January of 2019. Over the next two years project partners worked very hard to accomplish the goal of reducing the amount of soil erosion, a significant source of phosphorous, that washes into Hogan and Whitney Ponds. The project ended in December of 2020 and  has exceeded most of its goals. A huge amount of credit goes to the Hogan Whitney Pond Association (HWPA) representative Bruce Wilson, who contributed enormous amounts of time and energy reaching out to the watershed community to increase awareness of the project and providing assistance in getting the work coordinated.

Besides HWPA, partners included Maine DEP, Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District (Project Manager), the Androscoggin River Watershed Council, Two Lakes Camping Area, and the Town of Oxford. Norway Savings Bank and the NE Grassroots Environment Fund also contributed cash match toward supplies and materials such as native plants that were provided for use in shoreline buffer planting projects. HWPA and other project partners provided over $44,000 of in-kind volunteer and material contributions, including arranging for a supply of Erosion Control Mulch (ECM) to be available to residents wanting to protect and stabilize soil on their property.

The project, which was funded in part by a $50,100 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, provided cost-share funding to address many of the highest non-point source (NPS) pollution problem sites identified in the Hogan/Whitney Ponds Watershed Survey completed in 2017. NPS pollution is primarily eroded soil sediment transported into the lake by stormwater runoff. Phosphorus, a plant nutrient that attaches to soil particles as a “hitch hiker”, is common on land but naturally limited in lakes. If too much phosphorus is washed into a lake, it fertilizes an explosive growth of algae that can transform a clear, blue lake into a slimy green mess. Once a bloom happens, it can ruin water quality, wildlife habitat, swimming, fishing, and boating. Severe blooms can even reduce shoreline property values.

Summary of Project Accomplishments

15 Larger Scale NPS Cost-sharing Erosion Control projects that reduced soil sediments entering Hogan/Whitney Ponds by an estimated 131 tons each year ;

25 Technical Assistance visits provided to private property owners around Hogan/Whitney Ponds to give them recommendations for controlling erosion on their land;

7 Residential Matching Grants up to $350 were awarded to property owners to address smaller scale residential erosion problems by installing “best management practices” such as roof dripline trenches, erosion control mulch and shoreline plantings;

Two Educational Workshops were presented to local residents in the summer of 2020. “Planting Greenery for Cleaner Ponds” covered information on planting shoreline buffers, and “Gravel Road Maintenance and BMPs” explored ways to prevent gravel road runoff from getting into the pond;

Outreach: News articles, web postings, a mid-project highlights brochure, presentations at the Oxford Selectmen’s Meeting and  Hogan Whitney Pond Annual Meeting, informed the community about project activities and progress.  Two educational outreach signs were installed about ways to protect the ponds.

Oxford County SWCD leads numerous watershed conservation projects throughout Oxford County. We also provide technical assistance on projects led by other SWCD’s and natural resource agencies.  Some of these are grant funded projects and include: Lake or stream watershed surveys, fish barrier/culvert assessments, conservation education projects, erosion control “Best Management Practice (BMP)” implementation, and many others.  We work with local property owners, municipalities, and concerned citizen groups to bring solutions to local conservation problems.

Some of our recent projects include:

Nezinscot River Watershed Fish Barrier/Culvert Survey

Bear Pond Watershed Survey in Waterford, ME (2013)

Crooked River 319 Implementation Project in Otisfield and Norway, Maine

Moose Pond 319 Implementation Project in Denmark and Bridgton, ME

Little Androscoggin River Watershed Fish Barrier/Culvert Survey

Martin Stream Watershed Fish Barrier/Culvert Survey

Details and reports about the above projects can be obtained by contacting Oxford County SWCD Project Manager, Michele Windsor at (207)744-3111

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