Water Quality

Big Rock, Watchic LakeBy most any measures, the quality of Watchic Lake is very good. A clean lake benefits everyone. Not only does it create excellent recreational opportunities, it also ensures a healthy environment for wildlife, and helps maintain shoreline property values.

One way to measure water quality is to use a Secchi Disk, which is an instrument that measures clarity. It is lowered into the water and the depth at which the disk can no longer be seen is recorded as a measurement of lake clarity. Secchi Disk readings are taken regularly at Watchic Lake and are in the 4 to 4.5 meter range (meaning transparency down to about  15 – 16 feet).

The Watchic Lake Association (WLA) is dedicated to monitoring and improving the quality of Watchic Lake. The Association does regular lake quality readings,  manages the dam to ensure appropriate water levels, directs major remediation projects (such as the Paine Neighborhood project), coordinates the LakeSmart program, and works with property owners on an ad hoc basis to address quality issues.

It is up to all of us to protect this lake. While we own the property currently, we are but stewards for now; the future of the lake is in our hands.

  • Please consult Standish Town Hall and/or the Department of Environmental Protection for information on any changes to your property.
  • Expansion, tree removal, and drainage changes can adversely affect water quality and are all closely monitored.
  • Landscaping products that were acceptable in an urban environment may create problems in a shorefront location. Phosphorous from runoff is our worst enemy.

2016 Water Quality Report Available

Report Cover for 2016 water quality report for Watchic Lake.We have completed our 2016 water quality report for Watchic Lake. The data used in this report comes from readings done by FB Environmental and WLA volunteers. All data has been certified and has been submitted to Maine VLMP. This report includes a much richer set of testing than we have done in the past. In addition, the report includes some great educational material on water quality management.

In summary, the report states that the water quality for the main body of Watchic Lake is overall very good, but we need to watch out for: Low Oxygen, Internal Phosphorous Loading, and Low PH. Water quality is fair at the streams entering the lake at Paine and Page brooks. Stream quality is felt only to be fair due to Low Oxygen, Low PH, and Elevated Nutrients. This is the first year we have measured the streams, and will continue to do so in 2017.

While water quality is good today, Watchic Lake remains at risk over the long term. Ever increasing human activities within the watershed can increase the amount and transport of harmful pollutants and dangerous foreign materials into the lake and its streams. Catastrophic events such as mega-storms put roads, drainage systems, and septic systems at risk of introducing toxic runoff. As property owners and interested stakeholders, we must continue to work to address these risks, in order to avoid algal blooms, excessive plant growth, and uncontrolled shoreline erosion.

We thank all our members, sponsors, and especially the Town of Standish, for supporting this study.

Please read the full report here and use the Contact Us page should you have questions.

Fall 2016 Water Quality Monitoring Update

2016 has been a unique year for Watchic Lake. It started in the spring with the earliest ice-out on record. Surface Metaphyton was noted in April that was different in characteristics than the sub-surface Metaphyton that is common in late summer months. Metaphyton is a non-invasive but unpleasant algae that grow predominantly in shallow and warmer water. Spring was followed by an uncommonly hot and dry summer with numerous unusual biological phenomena. Dry weather has historically meant that Watchic has its best water clarity. This could be attributed to less runoff and nutrients reaching the water. It will be interesting to see how this year compares.

Monitoring is now being done by two parties. In 2016, in efforts to gather additional water quality data, the Watchic Lake Association hired FB Environmental to monitor various parameters at the deep hole (the deepest part of the lake) including dissolved oxygen, temperature, Secchi disk transparency, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, total organic carbon, chlorophyll-a, alkalinity, pH, and color. FBE also sampled Page and Paine Brooks for total phosphorus, total nitrogen, pH, E. coli, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Three dissolved oxygen Onset HOBO ™ loggers attached to the buoy at the deep hole will show when spring and fall turnover occur and track stratification of the lake. The loggers will continue to read data until they are removed on November 1. Due to the fact that we are using additional tests from a new organization (FBE), our formal 2016 water quality report from FBE will not be completed until late in the year when we receive our 2016 report.

David and Eileen Burnell have returned as certified lake monitors with the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program. They are taking Secchi disk readings at the deep hole twice a month. This year the testing began in May and will conclude in early October due low lake water levels. The VLMP report will be available in the spring of 2017. Their data to date for 2016 can be seen at mainevlmp.org Near Real-Time Lake Data. Earlier data and other information can be found as Watchic Pond on the Maine VLMP site. Some more recent content has not yet been entered by the VLMP.

Eileen D. Burnell, Watchic Lake Association, Water Quality Monitor

Earlier Water Quality Reports