The Watchic Lake Association was founded in 1956 when it took over the management of the dam at the north end of the lake. An all-volunteer organization, the Association has as its overall mission “protecting and improving the ecosystem of the Watchic Lake and the Watchic Lake Watershed”. In addition to managing the dam to protect wildlife and minimize shore damage, the association works with property owners, and state and local government to monitor and improve water quality through education and remediation programs.
Examples of recent work
- During 2019 and 2020, the WLA, with help from FB Environmental, 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. 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. An application for $125,000 grant was submitted in May of 2020 for projects in 2021 and 2020. More details on the plan can be found here 2020 Watchic Lake Watershed Protection Plan.
- The dam was deteriorating to the point where it posed a hazard to lake users and the environment. Through funds raised by the WLA, the dam and the dam gate have been rebuilt and is in great shape for at least the next 25 years. The dam has performed well during the heavy rains in 2018.
- A long standing flooding problem on the Rt. 113 side of the lake became a real threat to water quality when metaphython, caused by nutrients washing into the lake, became evident. Coordinated by an enthusiastic committee of the WLA, the Town of Standish, Cumberland County Soils & Water, the DEP, the Davis Foundation, and impacted residents were brought together to solve the problem. As of the fall of 2013 this remediation effort has significantly address the runoff issues. Every year WLA volunteers check the berms, culverts, field, etc. that were part of this remediation. As of the summer of 2018 the system is working well.
- Turning to experts to help guidance on water quality best practices. In 2016 this resulted in the deployment buoy and data logger system to gather more data on water quality including water temperature and dissolved oxygen.
- In 2016, partnered with the Hi-Vu Road Association to make major improvements to the road and culverts to significantly reduce runoff into the lake.
- In the summers of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 volunteers documented all plants found in the lake, providing us a baseline for future reference. This information was provided to Maine VLMP.
- Avoiding infestation by invasive species is key to maintaining the quality of Watchic Lake. Members of the Watchic Lake Association regularly check for invasive plants when they are out on the lake (many are Maine certified). Recently a volunteer spotted something concerning. They took a sample and sent it off for analysis by the Water Resource Specialist at Portland Water District. It turned out to be a native species called “Sago Pondweed”, and not an issue for the lake. This serves a reminder to all of us to always remove all plants from your canoe, kayak, boat, trailer, oars/paddles, fishing gear and anchor when going in and out of a body of water.
Current and long term financial strength
During 2010 we realized that the dam had deteriorated to the point of potential failure and we lacked the funds to take corrective action. To address the dam issue we created a Capital Fund, which is supported by generous contributions from many property owners allowing us to rebuild the dam. The fund raising success carried over into 2011 and allowed us to move forward quickly on the Paine Neighborhood Remediation Project. Again, we were supported by property owners as well as the Town of Standish and a foundation grant.
Many Capital Fund donations were in the form of pledges spread over five to ten years. These pledged donations have been received at a high rate and we believe will continue to be fulfilled in future years. Through these events we have placed ourselves in a position of financial strength for now and the longer term.
These activities elevated the WLA Board’s belief that the long term vitality of our organization is only as good as our financial strength to deal with the unexpected and unforeseen. For this reason we must look forward to ensure we are prepared for catastrophic events that such as spotting invasive plant/wildlife or dealing with a major water contamination issue. Addressing these critical issues would be hindered if we first needed to find the appropriate funding. Our Capital Fund is designed to provide us resources to address just these kinds of emergencies. Your donations to the Capital Fund, whether directly or as part of your estate planning, are critical to maintaining the long term quality of Watchic Lake. See our Contact Us form if you want to learn more about donating.
The Association has been granted 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. As a 501(c)(3) organization your donations are tax deductible to the full amount allowed by law (check with your tax adviser).
The WLA officers and board members (as of July 2020)
- Owen Smith, President
- Steve Lajoie, Vice President/President Elect
- Agnes Wiggin, Treasurer
- Martha Drew, Secretary and Historian
- Bob Babcock
- Terry Babcock
- Stacey Kane
- Kim Lajoie
- David Maus
- Nancy McNulty
- Paul McNulty
- Cathy Watson
- David West
For further information, including a copy of our by-laws, or to learn how you can support these efforts contact the Association president Owen Smith via our Contact Us form. Or to join now, please download our membership form.
Our mailing address is Watchic Lake Association, P.O. Box 319, Standish ME 04084.