China Lake Association celebrates its 30th anniversary

Fifth and sixth grade students who received awards for their entry in the China Lake Association’s annual poster contest. Photo courtesy of Scott Pierz

Submitted by Scott Pierz

The China Lake Association held its annual meeting on July 22 at the China Primary School, celebrating its 30th anniversary with an excellent program for its membership. The meeting was attended by over 75 people.

China Lake Association Directors Elaine Philbrook and Marie Michaud presented the awards for this year’s poster contest held for the fifth and sixth graders at the China Middle School. There were some amazing posters this year, created upon the theme of one of China Lake’s most precious resources, the Maine Loon. Susan Gallo, of Maine Audubon, presented information to the students on loons, and she was also the keynote speaker at the annual meeting delivering a power-point presentation called “The State of Maine’s Loons” covering the lifespan of the Maine Loon.

Director Bob O’Connor gave the loon count for China Lake this year, reporting 22 loons and with four new loon chicks observed. A second keynote speaker, Betsy Barber (a PhD candidate at the University of Maine) presented her thesis on “Modeling the Nutrient Budget for Alewife in China Lake.” These were two high quality presentations and the audience was engaging, asking many questions about both topics.

Selectman Irene Belanger spoke to the association, highlighting the Spirit of America Award that was presented to LakeSmart Coordinator Marie Michaud and the LakeSmart volunteers for their achievement on installing buffers on lake-front properties around China Lake. Marie Michaud updated everyone on the progress being made this summer, with over a dozen LakeSmart buffers already installed with the help of the Youth Conservation Corps. More work is to be completed by season’s end. Volunteers are welcome to step forward to be trained and to help with evaluating shorefront properties. Anyone interested can get more info by e-mailing

The association recognized the considerable contributions made by the Kennebec Water District that donated funds to be used to purchase materials for the LakeSmart projects. Also, the Kennebec Water District donated a truck to be used by the Youth Conservation Corps and the Courtesy Boat Inspectors (who are responsible for inspecting boats to check for invasive aquatic plant species). The courtesy boat inspectors can be seen at the Head of China Lake on the weekends. The Kennebec Water District’s representative Matt Zetterman stated that the district monitors China Lake’s water quality at three different (deep hole) locations every two weeks. He reported that on July 14 this year the water clarity in the west basin was the best it has been since 1981, showing a Secchi disk reading of 7.55 meters (over 24 feet!).

China Lake Association directors Elaine Philbrook and Marie Michaud presented the awards for this year’s poster costest held by fifth and sixth graders at China Middle School. Photo courtesy of Scott Pierz

Matt Streeter, the Project Manager for Maine Rivers and the Alewife Restoration Initiative (ARI), spoke on the progress being made on the ARI project. He said that engineering designs continue to be developed for several of the locations that will provide access for the alewives, including the design of an engineered fish passage at the Outlet Dam, in East Vassalboro. Most of the ARI’s recent efforts have involved obtaining the state permit to remove the Masse Dam this year, and the ARI expects the permit to be issued very soon. The Youth Conservation Corps contributed by planting buffers on properties above the Masse Dam to stabilize and protect the shoreline adjacent to the Outlet Stream.

Elaine Philbrook talked about the Volunteer Lake Moni­toring Pro­gram she is participating in along with Ken­nebec Water District personnel. The Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program is designed to train and certify people to monitor a wide range of water quality concerns, especially looking for and identifying invasive aquatic plant species. Anyone who would like to participate in this program can reach out through the association’s website or Facebook.

The association’s president, Scott Pierz, asked members to consider approving two items, the first dealing with funding appropriations and other fiscal matters deemed to be in the best interest of the association; the second item involved seeking a recommendation from the China Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee for additional funding to support and operate LakeSmart. The association membership voted to approve both measures.

The association’s Registered Agent Jamie Pitney conducted the business of renewing some of the director’s terms, and also welcomed two new directors, Dale Worster and Jeff Zimmerman. In addition, the slate of officers will remain the same for another year until the next annual meeting in 2018. These include Scott Pierz (President), David Preston (Secretary), Tim Axelson (Treasurer) and James Pitney (Registered Agent).

For additional information about the China Lake Association or for anyone interested in becoming a member go to the China Lake Association’s website at or check them out on Facebook.


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