The WLA, with help from FB Environmental, has completed updating its 1999 watershed protection plan for Watchic Lake and the Watchic Lake Watershed. After many reviews with the US Department of Environmental Protection, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, our plan has been approved (click here for the letter).
EPA and DEP approval of this plan is a major milestone, as it unlocks access to Maine DEP and US EPA Section 319 grants for Watchic Lake property owners, road associations, and the town of Standish for up to ten years. These are matching grants, generally covering 60% of project costs, with the balance being born by property owners, the town, and/or the WLA.
Here is some helpful background in the 2020 Watershed Protection Plan
- The format and content of this plan is dictated by the Maine DEP and US EPA. The plan explains water quality conditions, sets water quality goals, documents shoreline conditions, notes current and potential runoff risk areas, and details suggested next steps for improvements around the lake.
- Environmental scientists performed their field evaluations in the spring of 2019. Evaluations of Watchic Lake properties were generally done from the water, and in some cases on properties with permission of the owner. Evaluations of streams, roads and culverts were done during this same time, and often during/after heavy rainstorms. GPS coordinates and photos were taken of each site.
- Total phosphorous entering the lake from the top 25 risk sites was calculated (page 41 and 42). A bit more detail is provided on the top 10 of these sites (pages 33 to 39).
- Each Watchic Lake property was evaluated for runoff risk using a Maine DEP approved scoring mechanism. The scoring is described on Page 43 to 49 of the report. This scoring is used to help property owners understand any erosion risks associated with their property, and to help guide the WLA in securing grants. Scoring evaluated Buffer/Vegetation Zone, the amount of Bare Soil, extent of any Shoreline Erosion, distance of Structures from the lake, and property Slope.
- Note that most properties on the lake scored in the “moderate erosion risk” range (gold on the map). A smaller number (red on the map) scored with a “high erosion risk” range. This highlights the fact improved erosion control measures are needed on most properties on the lake.
- The Town of Standish has reviewed this plan, and is supportive of addressing issues under their control and helping us secure grants for such work.
Over the past months the WLA and FBE have worked with the Town of Standish and road associations to identify runoff remediation projects suitable for Section 319 Grants. Our grant application was completed mid-May 2020 requesting DEP/EPA support of up to $125,000 of projects on and around the lake. We will learn if our application has been approved in September of 2020, and if approved projects can be completed during 2021 and 2022.
As background, the largest long-term concerns for water quality at Watchic Lake are related to development in and around the Watchic Lake watershed. The increased use of the lake by renters, planes, and new owners; raise the risk of an invasive plant infestation and pollutants (e.g., phosphorus) from stormwater runoff (which increase the risk of algal blooms and generally reduce water quality). The possibility of a “100-year storm” increases the risk for a catastrophic failure of roads and culverts around the lake.
Please touch or click here for the full 2020 Watchic Lake Watershed Protection Plan.
Thank you in advance for your support of this project!