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.
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
How does LakeSmart work?
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.
To sign up for a free LakeSmart evaluation, please provide us with your name and email.
Resources for pondside residents
- PWA’s brochure “Buffers: Your Lake’s Best Defense”
- PWA’s LakeSmart FAQ
- LakeSmart Process
- Lakes Love Less Lawn
- Erosion Control for Homeowners
- Vegetative Phosphorus Buffer Strips
- Fertilizer Basics
- When Canada Geese Become a Pest: Options for Landowners