LakeSmart Program


LakeSmart is an educational program that offers free opportunities for homeowners to learn how to manage their home and yard to protect the water quality of the pond they live adjacent to. The program is administered by the Maine Lakes Society (MLS). PWA works with MLS to bring the LakeSmart Program to residents who live on Biscay, McCurdy, Pemaquid, Paradise (Muddy), Duckpuddle, or Muscongus (Webber) Pond.

Why LakeSmart?

Studies have shown that as water quality declines the value of shorefront property also decreases. Declining water quality also can affect the type and number of fish species that inhabit the lake and can hinder other recreational uses of the lake as well as the local economy. Clearly it is in everyone’s best interest to take whatever actions they can to protect lake water quality. The goal is to make lake-friendly land-use practices the norm throughout Maine.

It’s hard to believe one person’s expansive lawn or eroding camp road could be a threat to something as large and enduring as a lake. But it can when added to a shoreline full of similar sites.

All stormwater that gets into a lake carries nutrients. Over time, the cumulative impact can be thousands of pounds of pollutants. The result, “death by a thousand cuts,” means algae blooms, fish kills, and the loss of water clarity and spawning habitat. One tiny rivulet from one rainstorm may not seem like much, but when multiplied across a lake’s watershed and added up over decades, eroded soil can turn a lake into a smelly, pea green mess.”
~ Maggie Shannon, Maine Lakes Society

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How does LakeSmart work?

The LakeSmart program is designed to educate, reward and recognize watershed property owners who adopt and maintain responsible property management. A primary objective of the program is to teach landowners how to minimize the amount of phosphorous added to the pond, which is a key to preventing algal blooms.

Participating landowners receive a free evaluation of their property from certified volunteer evaluators. Evaluators look at road, driveway and parking areas; structures and septic systems; lawn, recreation areas and footpaths; shorefront and beach areas, and undeveloped land if any.

If the property meets established standards, the landowner receives an award certificate and a sign recognizing the property as being LakeSmart. At their permission, the names of the LakeSmart Award winners are published in newspapers and in association newsletters and web sites.

If a property does not initially meet the standard, the landowner is given recommendations and educational tools on how to solve the situations preventing the award. The landowner has the option to make modifications to meet the standard and be re-evaluated.

So far, 38 property owners around the Pemaquid Peninsula have received the LakeSmart award and 10 property owners have received a commendation.

LakeSmart volunteer

a LakeSmart volunteer evaluates the vegetative buffer on a pondside property

be LakeSmart - showing waterfront homes with and without vegetative buffers

vegetative buffers are essential for water quality protection

receiving a LakeSmart Award

Debby and Mike Kane (center), who live adjacent to Paradise (Muddy) Pond, received the LakeSmart Award from LakeSmart volunteers, Peggy Drake (l) and Mary Berger (r).

Get LakeSmart!

To sign up for a free LakeSmart evaluation, please provide us with your name and email.





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Resources for pondside residents

For more information on how to enhance your property’s value and live lightly on the land for the sake of your lake or pond, see:

Shoreland Zoning Information

For more information on erosion control and landscaping to protect lakes, visit this page put together by Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, with whom PWA partners on the LakeSmart Program.

autumn reflections in water

photo by Karen Berg

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584 Main Street • PO Box 552 • Damariscotta, Maine 04543
207-563-2196 • info@pemaquidwatershed.org
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