by Steve Petter • North Basin resident • Board member since 2021 • four years on the lake
by Bill Muir • Biddle Basin resident • Board member since 2016 • 6 years on the lake
One of the many activities of the Moose Pond Association (MPA) is to collaborate with the Lakes Environmental Association (LEA). We partner with LEA to coordinate and implement important initiatives like the Courtesy Boat Inspector (CBI) program, invasive plant surveys and water quality testing. They are a very important and reliable partner.
The work done by the LEA with the financial and volunteer support of MPA’s members helps to protect our pond from invasive plants like Eurasian milfoil that, if allowed to get a foothold in our lake, would choke aquatic life, restrict boating around our shores and harm real estate values. In Brandy Pond and the Songo River the LEA battled milfoil for more than a decade at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and yet still have two other hot spots in nearby Long Lake and Sebago Cove. Prevention is the best and most cost-effective tool that we have to keep milfoil and other invasive plants and animals out of Moose Pond!
Throughout the season LEA also performs bi-weekly testing and monitoring via buoys that are installed in each basin to monitor chemical, temperature, depth, thermal layers and bio-signatures to determine trends and changes in our water quality. Algae and chlorophyll are a few of the threats that if we see too much or too little could impact all aquatic life and threaten human health.
The external variables that can influence the readings for the measured parameters are many. Human activity on the shoreline and on the water can certainly influence some of these parameters but most of the year-to-year fluctuations that are observed are often the result of weather patterns. For example, water tends to be clearer after periods of drought because there are no rains washing sediment into the water. However, waters become less clear during periods of frequent or heavy rains because water washes dirt and debris from roads/shores into the water, which makes the lake water cloudy. Similarly, when water temperatures become warm early and stay warm, we will often notice higher chlorophyll concentrations due to water conditions being suitable for algae growth. Increased algae growth can lead to decreased oxygen concentrations which can stress out fish populations.
Of course, nothing is a given in ecology and one external variable may or may not have the same effect multiple years in a row. A decrease in clarity reading from one year to the next is rarely cause for concern however, many years of decreasing clarity or increasing phosphorus (or chlorophyll) readings would be a concern.
The good news is that the recent testing results indicate that Moose Pond is reasonably healthy and stable with some areas that LEA and MPA are keeping a careful eye on.
MPA thanks Maggie Welch of LEA for providing much of the content for this article.