Webber Pond Association elects new president, vice president; votes down membership restrictions

Webber Pond.

by Roland D. Hallee
with contribution from Susan Traylor

The Webber Pond Association annual meeting was held on August 14, at the Vassalboro Community School with 88 association members present.

There were several controversial items on the agenda at this year’s meeting, including the drawdown, association membership, and ownership of the Webber Pond Dam.

Following the president’s and vice president’s report, election of officers were held.

John Reuthe was elected the new association president, unopposed. Past president Frank Richards, who had held the office for 20 years, has stepped down. Tiffany Luczko was elected vice president, unopposed; treasurer is Erika Bennett and Secretary Rebecca Lamey. Returning directors are Bob Bryson, Bob Nadeau, Charlie Backenstose, Jennifer Lacombe, Pearley LaChance, Phil Innes, Roland Hallee, Russell Charleston, Susan Traylor. New directors elected were Dave Haskell, Kevin Luczko, and Lindsey Tweed.

One of the topics that drew considerable debate, as is the case annually, was the yearly drawdown. At their meeting in July, the board of directors recommended the third Sunday of the month, Sunday, September 19, which has been the drawdown date for the past several years. The date of September 26 was mentioned during discussion. The September 19 drawdown date was approved 46-42.

In the end, it was decided to conduct the drawdown differently this year because of the lake conditions.

A mini flush began later that day, on August 14. The lake is presently experiencing a severe algae bloom, with Secchi visibility of only 1.94 meters/6.4 feet, combined with high water levels due to all the rain. The lake level currently stands at 5.5 inches above the spillway. The mini flush will allow the removal of algae and phosphorus without significantly impacting water levels for recreational use.

One foot of boards were removed on both sides of the gates at the dam – they will be replaced in a week or when the water level reaches the spillway. If there is no rain, the lake normally loses about an inch a week due to evaporation, so the mini flush is a low-risk strategy. Last year the water was about even with the spillway at this point.

The normal annual flush will begin on Sunday, September 19, with three feet of boards removed on both sides. Typically, water levels at the dam have gone down 12 inches in the first week, eight inches in the second week, and four inches in the third week of the drawdown. Another change this year is that the boards will be replaced on October 3, in accordance with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommendations to limit the time that lake bottom sediments are de-watered. Per DEP, draining the top several feet in a lake reduces the total lake volume by a large amount and often exposes large areas of lake bottom. This exposes significant areas of fine sediment to drying and can expose previously stable sediments to heavy rain, wind, and wave action for months, releasing phosphorus into the lake. This could be the issue with increased sediments in the very shallow areas of the lake, which are perceived as lower water levels.

A final flush, when boards are removed to set the lake at winter water levels, will take place in late November. Russell Charleston, who this past year was responsible with monitoring the dam and the lake levels, was approved by the membership to monitor the situation and will choose the date, based on weather conditions, and will post it on Facebook.

Last year there were very high phosphorus readings 0.057 (compared to figures normally in the 0.018 to 0.025 range). This indicates that phosphorus was brought to the surface when the lake turned over (cooler water on the top of the lake sank and warmer water from the bottom rose). Most of the phosphorus in the lake is on the bottom of the lake. If that were to happen again this year, more phosphorus could be flushed from the lake.

In other business, another controversial issue was the proposal to limit association membership to shoreline property owners only. Current by-laws state that anyone with an interest in the lake may become an association member. Following much, sometimes heated, debate, the motion was rejected 36-52.

Following that vote, Reuthe announced he would be forming a committee to review the by-laws in their entirety.

The proposal to ask the town of Vassalboro to assume ownership of the dam, currently owned by the association was quickly tabled to next year, pending more research and communications with the town.

The membership also voted to contribute $1,500 to the China Region Lakes Alliance. During that discussion, it was decided Webber Pond Association should look into forming a LakeSmart program, as is the case on China Lake, where the program has been very successful. CRLA Executive Director Scott Pierz was present at the meeting, and provided an overview of how the program works.

2019 Webber Pond Association takes on three controversial issues

Frank Richards, of Vassalboro, has been president of the Webber Pond Association for 20 years.

Postpone proxy balloting and voter restrictions to 2020

by Roland D. Hallee

This year’s edition of the Webber Pond Association annual meeting took on the feel of meetings from the past. Where in recent years they have been somewhat quiet, especially in regards to the lake drawdown, this year’s version produced additional controversy, with much discussion about the drawdown, and questions about proxy voting and voting restrictions.

Many different views were presented in regards to the drawdown date. In their June meeting, the board of directors had recommended Monday, September 16, as the proposed date. The third Monday in September has been the norm for the last five years or so. The directors came to that conclusion by trying to determine a date that would pass on the first vote.

However, this year, there were other dates mentioned at the annual meeting, mainly October 28 and November 30. The two latter dates never came up for a vote as the September 16 date passed, 33-29, a far closer vote than in years past. Over the last 10 – 12 years, votes in favor of the third Monday have been more one-sided, with few dissenters.

The common thought for the September 16 drawdown was that it has “been beneficial” to lower the water level in September as opposed to later in the year, even though DEP recommendations are for a mid-August drawdown. Association Vice President Charles Backenstose, a strong proponent for early drawdown, said that the September date is a compromise that is still useful at exporting phosphorus, while enabling people to use the lake longer. “Who wants to pull boards [at the dam] in July?” he asked.

Association President Frank Richards noted that the November 30 date coincides with the end of duck season. “I don’t think we’ll get any more water quality benefit by setting the winter level on October 28. There’s just no reason to not wait until November 30, if the membership favors a later draw down.”

Attendees at the meeting also brought up the possibility of implementing proxy voting for members unable to attend the meeting because of work, or other, commitment. Discussion on this topic drew the most heated exchange of the meeting, with some in attendance insisting that the by-laws provided for them to present the question to the membership for a vote at this year’s meeting. It was moved and approved to put the question on the agenda for the 2020 meeting.

Also, a motion to change the by-laws to restrict voting rights to lake property owners only was ruled out of order by Richards. It was the president’s opinion it was too big a change to be put on the agenda without any prior notice. A motion was made to overturn Richards’ ruling, but was defeated, although 16 people did vote to support the motion.

It also was moved and approved to place the voting membership question on the 2020 agenda.

In other business, Bob Nadeau, Webber Pond Association’s representative on the China Region Lakes Alliance, reported that the reason that more shoreline work is being done on China Lake than Webber Pond and Three Mile Pond is because of the fact that China provides significantly more funding to the CRLA than do the other two lakes. Both Webber and Three Mile ponds are located in Vassalboro.

“Alewives continue to be a much-discussed topic as a water quality management tool and as a restoration effort,” said Nadeau. “There is no doubt that the water quality has improved since their introduction into both Webber and Three Mile ponds.”

Nadeau also noted that, as of his knowledge, there are no invasive plants in Webber Pond. The Webber Pond Association voted to give $1,000 to CRLA. In total, according to Nadeau, it costs about $6,000 a year to provide boat inspectors at the three lakes.

In his vice president’s report, Backenstose said the water clarity in the pond has doubled over the last three weeks, to 3.7 meters (approx. 9-1/2 feet), an improvement from less than two meters on July 13. He also has seen no collection of the scum that accumulates when a severe algae bloom is present.

Backenstose has taken Secchi disk readings on the pond for the last 15 years. He also takes phosphorus samples that are analyzed at the state level. There is no data available for Secchi disk readings in October or November, as Backenstose, a Pennsylvania resident, returns home in September and is not available to produce readings for those months, which have increasingly become part of the discussion as far as the annual drawdown is concerned. A member of the audience volunteered to take those readings in order to be able to build a data base for those two months in regards to water clarity. The offer was enthusiastically accepted by Richards.

In his president’s report, Richards said, “Webber is on track to have a really good summer with respect to keeping the lake at a good level.” They have been able to keep levels at the spillway despite several years of drought conditions.

Gov. Janet Mills, left, tries to lift a net full of alewives during the May run. Phil Innes, a Webber Pond Association director, helps the governor. (photo by Jeff Nichols)

The association has been using a management plan for Webber Pond that was drafted in 1990 by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. That plan is in the process of being updated and will be posted on the Facebook page as soon as it is available, according to Richards.

From a question posed by Richards, no one in attendance has caught, nor heard of anyone else on the lake having caught, a northern pike. A good sign.

Richards also noted that in May, Gov. Janet Mills visited the fish ladder at the Webber Pond dam. It marked the first time a Maine governor had ever visited a fish ladder anywhere in the state of Maine. Another landmark appearance was the presence of the directors of the Department of Marine Resources and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to the Vassalboro dam.

Members returned all officers, Frank Richards, president; Charles Backenstose, vice president; Rebecca Lamey, secretary; John Reuthe, treasurer. Also elected were directors Robert Bryson, Scott Buchert, Mary Bussell, Darryl Fedorchak, Roland Hallee, Phil Innes, Jennifer Lacombe, Robert Nadeau, Stephen Pendley, Pearly LaChance, John Reuthe, Susan Traylor and James Webb.

Notice of Webber Pond draw down

Webber Pond

Photo courtesy of Frank Richards, president of Webber Pond Association.

Frank Richards, president of the Webber Pond Association, has announced that as a result of the unanimous vote at the Webber Pond Association annual meeting on August 18, the 2018 drawdown is set to begin on Monday, September 17, at 8 a.m.

“It is advised to pull docks and boats on the weekend of September 15-16. The pool may go down faster than usual because of the drought conditions,” said Richards

Webber Pond Association members tackle many subjects at annual meeting

Webber Pond

A “field” of weeds in the northwestern corner of Webber Pond. Photo courtesy of Frank Richards, president of Webber Pond Association.

by Roland D. Hallee

At their August 18 annual meeting, held at the Vassalboro Community School, members of the Webber Pond Association heard about various matters of interest, including water levels and clarity, bacterial infections, increasing the alewife harvest, changing the annual meeting date, and finally, a presentation on ways to deal with the increased amount of weeds in Webber Pond.

There was concern about the water level in the pond, which drew considerable dialogue. As of August 18, the water level in the pond was four inches below the spillway following the heavy rains of the previous two days. Prior to that the water level had been measured at six inches below the spillway by association president Frank Richards. Phil Innes, who monitors the dam, reported at the meeting the levels had risen. He had taken the latest reading the morning of the meeting. It is recommended the level be set at one to two inches below the spillway by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

All the boards are in the dam except for one which must be left open to allow the egress of mature alewives, who otherwise would have no way to exit the pond. Doing so allows more water to escape the lake than would be ideal. Failure to allow the mature alewives to leave the pond could possibly result in around 100,000 alewives trapped in the lake, eventually dying, creating even more problems in the lake, according to Vice President Charles Backenstose.

Richards mentioned conversations with the state that a specially-engineered egress channel could possibly be installed that would allow the fish to continue to exit the pond, but by releasing much less water. This method is now being used in new fish ladder construction, and has proven to be successful, according to Richards.

Backenstose, who monitors water clarity in the lake through Secchi Disk readings, reported that water clarity was typical from mid-May through late June at 14 – 15 feet. “This is pretty amazing, considering that last year at this time, visibility was about half that,” he reported in the group’s newsletter. “The dry weather may have contributed to clearer water.”

Although, at the meeting, Backenstose reported that as of the week of August 12, water clarity had diminished to about six feet.

Answering a concern about incidents of bacterial infections reported in the local newspapers at other central Maine lakes, Director Susan Traylor reported that Webber Pond has never appeared on the list of lakes where these types of bacteria, including e-coli, have been identified.

Traylor also made a presentation about the possibility of increasing the alewife harvest. In her research, she concluded the lake association should recommend to the town of Vassalboro that the town submit a revised alewife harvest plan to the Maine Department of Marine Resources for the 2019 season that would allow a change to the current harvest plan, which has been in place for over a decade. She concluded that no more than 240,000 alewives should be allowed to enter the pond.

In an article in the newsletter, Traylor states the 240,000 target allows for 100 alewives per acre in both Webber and Three Mile ponds. In 2018, 461,000 alewives entered Webber Pond. Of these, an estimated 38,000 went to Three Mile Pond (about 33 per acre). This left 423,000 (352 alewives per acre) in Webber.

This study came as a result of the issue having been raised at the 2017 annual meeting that maybe there were now too many alewives entering the lake, possibly creating an imbalance in nutrients being brought into the lake as opposed to what is removed with the fall egress of the young alewives.

Two options were presented to the membership by Traylor. Richards suggested the body give the president permission to use option #1 in his negotiations with the DMR. That option states: [The lake association] recommends that the town of Vassalboro submit a plan to DMR to harvest seven days a week once a target number of 240,000 alewives have entered Webber, with no further alewife entry to the pond. In 2018, following this practice with a target of 240,000 alewives would have allowed the boards in the dam to be replaced on May 30, rather than June 16.

Presently, the plan calls for alewife passage for three days a week and allows alewife harvesting the other four days. There is no limit on the number of alewives that can enter the pond.

Replacing the boards at the dam on the latter date in 2018 contributed, to some degree, to the lower water levels in early summer.

Jim Hart, director of the China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA), warned against acting too quickly. In his address, he stated that alewives return to their place of birth. Therefore, alewives that are leaving Three Mile Pond, and returning to the ocean to mature, will be back in four years. They will most likely return to Three Mile Pond, and not stay in Webber Pond. That could affect the number of alewives that remain in Webber Pond, and vice versa. He suggested a three- to four-year trial period.

The motion to recommend increasing alewife harvest was the only item on the agenda that caused lengthy discussion, with the final straw vote being 17-8 in favor of the increase. The DMR has final say on the matter.

The final item on the agenda was a presentation by Nick Jose, a Vassalboro resident who is a third-generation resident of Webber Pond. He had seen a video on YouTube describing a piece of equipment that would literally mow the weeds on the pond.

The machinery would cut the weeds two feet down from the water surface, gathered into hoppers, brought to shore and loaded into trucks by conveyor belt, to be hauled away to a composting facility. Presently, he states, weeds are being cut by boat propellers and float to the surface. The wind carries the weeds to various locations on the lake, where they eventually sink, decay and begin the reseeding process that multiplies the weed infestation.

The equipment, which he said he was willing to invest in, carries a price tag of $200,000. Negotiations would have to take place to find a way to fund this project on both Webber and Three Mile ponds. He estimated the process would probably have to be repeated twice a year. He also stated the practice is ongoing throughout the country, and that DMR would be receptive to this program as long as the lake association was on board.

The question of whether there is milfoil present was answered by Richards, stating the weeds in the pond are native aquatic vegetation.

In other business, officers were elected: Frank Richards, president; Charles Backenstose, vice president; Rebecca Lamey, secretary; John Reuthe, treasurer.

Directors elected were returning directors Robert Bryson, Scott Buchert, Mary Bussell, Darryl Federchak, Roland Hallee, Phil Innes, Jennifer Lacombe, Robert Nadeau, Stephen Pendley, John Reuthe, Susan Traylor and James Webb. Pearley LaChance was named as a new director.

The annual drawdown of the pond, which historically has been a contentious subject, was set for Monday, September 17, at 8 a.m., by a unanimous vote of the membership.

Richards posed a question to the membership on the possibility of changing the date of the annual meeting to earlier in the summer. The straw vote showed the majority present preferred retaining the current date of the third Saturday in August.

Richards’ annual question as to whether anyone has caught, or heard of someone catching, a northern pike in Webber Pond was met with no response from those present.

The association also voted to contribute $1,500 to the CRLA.

Webber’s Pond, Week of April 29, 2018

© 2018 by Roland D. Hallee


Water level, weeds major topic at Webber Pond Association annual meeting

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Low water levels and a proliferation of weeds were the major topics of discussion during the annual Webber Pond Association meeting held on August 27, at the Vassalboro Community School.

Water levels on the pond have continued to drop since about mid-June. As of August 29, the water level was seven inches below the spillway. An ideal depth would be two inches below the spillway. With water levels that low, with a shallow pool like Webber, that is enough to create problems for almost every dock on the whole lake, according to Frank Richards, president of the association. “I understand the tendency to point the finger of blame,” he said. “However, I would argue that this is more of an instance where mother nature presented unmanageable conditions.”

According to the dam management plan presented by the Department of Environmental Protection in the early 1990s, the ideal depth is two inches below the spillway, so periodic adjustments are always needed throughout the summer to match the inflow and outflow. “Normally, a few boards are out during July,” explained Richards. “I’ve seen as many as two feet of boards out in July to balance heavy rainfall. Normally, all the boards are back in by August, when low rainfall is common.”

Richards went on to explain, “with the benefit of hindsight, we would have been better off to put in the last six inches of boards in early July instead of mid-July, two weeks earlier. Had we known there would be almost no rain from June on, we would have. If we had put that last six inches of boards in a couple of weeks earlier, I don’t think it would have made much difference. It’s hard to keep the pool close to the spillway when there’s almost no water entering the lake.”

The lack of rain, low water levels, warmer than normal water temperatures have contributed to the proliferation of Elodea Canadensis, or American pond weeds. Many of the causes for the thick weeds are mostly a guess, according to association vice president Charles Backenstose. “We’ve never seen anything like this before.” According to Nate Gray, biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the vegetation may be a nuisance, but it is harmless.

In summation, Richards said that in general things continue to go well on Webber Pond, with the water quality likely being the best ever prior to mid-July.

Backenstose confirmed that statement when he reported Secchi disk readings that showed clear water down to 21 feet in May, near record clarity. Since July 15, the Secchi disk readings have fallen to six feet. However, the water had begun to clear up by the end of August. “Some of the south end of the lake has experienced some floating “collections” late last week,” he added. “I believe the lack of rain has somewhat worsened the situation as little water is entering or leaving the lake to help with some flushing of algae.”

Bob Nadeau, Webber Pond Assn. representative to the China Regional Lakes Alliance noted that the association is available for erosion control work on property owners’ shoreline. With work being done by the Youth Conservation Corps, the group provides landowner consultations, hands-on erosion control work, design and project management, and courtesy boat inspectors. More information is available by contacting Jim Hart, CRLA president, 877-7125 or jimhart35@outlook.com, or Josh Platt, KCSWCD engineer, 622-7847 or josh@kcswcd.org. The group is always looking for projects.

Nadeau also reported of being in conversations with representatives of LakeSmart from China Lake and Three Mile Pond, about the possibility of organizing a group for Webber Pond.

Officers re-elected were President Frank Richards, Vice President Charles Backenstose, Secretary Rebecca Lamey and Treasurer Phil Haines. Directors re-elected included Robert Bryson, Scott Buchert, Mary Bussell, Darryl Fedorchak, Roland Hallee, Phil Innes, Jennifer Lacombe, Robert Nadeau, John Reuthe and James Webb. New directors elected were Susan Barham[Traylor and Stephen Pendly.

With little discussion, the drawdown date was set for Monday, September 19. It was recommended that unless deep water is available at your dock, most boats should be pulled either the Saturday or Sunday prior to the Monday date.

Before adjournment, it was motioned by a member to review the by-laws and make changes to only allow landowners and taxpayers who abutt the pond to be voting members of the association. After much heated, and at times, contentious discussion, the motion failed overwhelmingly, 36-4.

“The content of by-laws should always be open to review,” said Richards. However, “the officers and directors in 2012 were unanimous that being open [membership] was preferable for the Webber Pond Association. I think the consensus is still there.”

Regional biologist gives opinion

by Nate Gray
Regional biologist, Maine Department of Marine Resources

Frank (Richards) and I went out in his boat to look at a floating island of weeds.  What I keyed out was elodea Canadensis.  Is it possible I was mistaken?  Unlikely, as I’ve looked at gobs of the stuff but still possible.  Given the level of angst about the “weed” issue in Webber I’m going to take another look at some different spots.  Many of the ponds in the mid-Maine basin are experiencing “better” water quality this year and there are multiple reasons for this.  Very low rainfall (drought) and higher than average atmospheric temps (and by default that includes water temps).  This can set up a dynamic in ponds that strongly stratifies the water.  The thermocline becomes very pronounced and through this effect limits the amount of phospherous available.  We’ve had very few storm events this summer.

Nate Gray

Nate Gray, regional biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, displays Elodea Canadensis, also known as American pondweed, he plucked out of Webber Pond recently. File photo

It takes a good blow to disrupt the thermocline and allow the phospherous trapped in the anoxic zone to mix with the water above it.  Make no mistake, this will happen at one point or another.  A good strong wind will drive the water to the southwest shore (assuming a Nor’easter here).  All that water will have to go someplace – down.  The further into the season we get the lower the pond surface temps will be thereby “weakening” the thermocline.  Once that lens is broken there is a lot of phospherous available to mix in the upper water column.  Once the phospherous gets there…..boom!  Phytoplankton bloom!.  The pond goes green.  Meanwhile this thermocline/water clarity issue will in turn favor greater light penetration.  This greater light penetration will induce more plant growth.  In some cases explosive growth.  Especially in the shallower reaches of the pond, i.e. the north end.  The patch that Frank took me out to was about 2-3 acres of dense growth.  So, I think another visit to the pond is in order.

Webber Pond vegetation: weeds or milfoil?

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

There appears to be misconceptions, or maybe misinformation, circulating that the proliferating vegetation in Webber Pond is Eurasian milfoil.

Nate Gray, regional biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources was summoned by Webber Pond Association President Frank Richards to investigate. Gray responded by making a trip to the pond. In a boat, they entered the “field” of weeds at the north end of the lake. Upon close inspection, Gray concluded, as have others, that the vegetation is Elodea canadensis, or American pondweed or waterweed. Gray elaborated that the plants are a major nuisance, but they are harmless.

Eurasian milfoil

Eurasian milfoil

Richards said, “Nate is a qualified person. He and any other qualified person will confirm that it’s Elodea.”

American Waterweed or Pondweed is a perennial aquatic plant, and is native to most of North America.

The plant grows rapidly in favorable conditions and can choke shallow ponds and canals. It requires summer water temperatures of 68° – 77° and moderate to bright light.

Young plants initially start with a seedling stem with roots growing in mud at the bottom of the lake. More roots are produced at intervals along the stem, which may hang free in the water or anchor into the bottom.  It grows indefinitely at the stem tips, and single specimens may reach lengths of 9-1/2 feet or more.

It lives entirely under water, with the only exception being the small white or pale purple flowers which float to the surface but are still attached to the plant by delicate stems.

American pondweed

American pondweed

The plant will spawn seed capsules that will spread and ripen under water. They flower from May to October.

Elodea canadensis is native to most of North America and was used as an aquarium plant.

On the other hand, Eurasian milfoil, Myrio­phyllum spicatum, was likely first introduced to North America in the 1940s. By the mid-1970s, water milfoil had covered thousands of acres in British Columbia and Ontario. It is now found across most of North America where it is recognized as a noxious weed.

In lakes or ponds where native aquatic plants are not well established, the Eurasian plant can quickly spread. It can be deduced that native aquatic plants have established themselves firmly in Webber Pond. The weed can grow from broken off stems which increases the rate in which the plant can spread and grow. That is why it is important to check all boats, propellers and trailers before launching the vessel in various lakes. Plants can easily be transported from one lake to another.
Since 2000, hand-harvesting of milfoils has shown much success as a management technique. It is virtually impossible to completely irradicate the species once it has established itself. Therefore, continuous maintenance must be done in order to control its range.

But getting back to Webber Pond, biologists at the DMR have assured everyone that the weeds in Webber Pond are not the invasive milfoil, but the annoying pondweed.

Many anglers have expressed frustration when trying to navigate the lake, or attempt to put in a day of fishing. Some areas of the lake are virtually impassable by boat.

According to Richards, “this is more of an instance where Mother Nature has presented us with unmanageble conditions for this year.”

CRLA Youth Corps installs rock ramp on White House Road bridge

Submitted by Frank Richards,
President, Webber Pond Association

Since approximately 2010, the China Region Lakes Alliance, the Three Mile Pond Association, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources have been slowly improving fish passage on Seaward Mills Stream, which connects Three Mile and Webber ponds.

This year the Youth Conservation Corps installed a rock ramp at the old cement culvert on the White House Road to help sea-run alewives, navigate the “lip,” when they return from the ocean to spawn in May. However, it will help all species move in and out of the pond, particularly trout in the spring and bass during the summer.

White House Road bridge before

Before the ramp was installed.

The lip on the old cement culvert is over a foot deep, which is enough to totally stop fish passage at low flows. Rock ramps are one of the simplest and cheapest methods to fix a problem like that.

White House Road bridge after

After rock ramp was installed.

It took a morning to dump the rocks and arrange them as a ramp. Bigger rocks were carefully placed to establish current breaks, which will provide an easier entrance into the culvert for fish headed upstream to Three Mile Pond.

I’d like to encourage trout anglers to give this spot a try in late April and early May. Those breaks should provide an interesting fish holding area, when the water is higher. Access to the site is easy.

Next spring will bring a re-evaluation. Almost surely, adjustments will be needed. That’s the beauty of a small scale project. You can make continuous low cost improvements, until you get what you want.

Many people and organization worked on this. The Three Mile Pond Association provided the rocks, the Youth Conservation Corps provided the labor, China Region Lakes Alliance provided the permitting and the Department of Marine Resources provided the design.

Youth Conservation Corps and Department of Marine Resources

The combined crew (Youth Conservation Corps and Department of Marine Resources), taken a little after the work was finished. Please note future biologist John Gray in the center of the photo.
Photos courtesy of Frank Richards, President of Webber Pond Association.

Beneficial nuisance on Webber Pond

Webber Pond Association President Frank Richards recently stated in an email to lake residents, “Everyone who has been out in a boat or raked weeds off their shoreline this summer has noticed the extreme proliferation of a long stringy weed. There’s an actual floating island in the northwest bay, so thick you can’t take a boat through it.” Because of his concern, Richards contacted Nate Gray, a biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, asking for him to go to Webber Pond to observe the  proliferation of weeds. “I was pretty sure it was a native plant growing in proliferation because of the drought, slightly lower water, and more sunlight,” Richards said. Gray  confirmed it is as Elodea Canadensis, a common species of aquatic plant in Maine. Its proliferation has some good points. It is sequestering a lot of phosphorus and actually contributing to clearer water this summer.

Webber Pond

A “field” of weeds in the northwestern corner of Webber Pond. Photos courtesy of Frank Richards, president of Webber Pond Association.

Nate Gray

Nate Gray, a biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources holds a handful of the Elodea Canadensis, better known as American Waterweed or Pondweed. Photos courtesy of Frank Richards, president of Webber Pond Association.