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LakeSmart program helps protect beloved lakes and ponds one property at a time

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Piscataquis County is home to several lakes, rivers and ponds, and many residents are fortunate enough to own camps or year-round homes on these waterbodies. Those who call these special places their own care deeply about the biology of these waters and want to keep them healthy and pristine for generations to come. The staff at the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District (PCSWCD) is working to spread the word about “LakeSmart,” a program designed to work with waterfront property owners to protect Maine’s bodies of water.

Years ago, LakeSmart was administered jointly by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Maine Lakes Society. In 2012 the DEP was no longer involved in this program and since that time LakeSmart has become a flagship program of the Maine Lakes Society. The society has trained volunteer LakeSmart evaluators who work within local regions, bringing this program directly to homeowners.

The goal of this program is to reduce damaging storm water runoff into lakes and ponds. The program accomplishes this goal by evaluating the amount of soil erosion occurring on a property, and working with the property owners to address these concerns by putting low-cost, do it yourself fixes in place. An evaluator may give homeowners information on planting vegetative buffers, installing roof dripline trenches, quick fixes to help solve erosion occurring in the driveway or from the roadway, and much more. LakeSmart landscaping provides healthy alternatives that mimic nature’s rich mosaic of plants, shrubs, winding paths, and shady trees – so it looks great, enhances privacy, and works hard to protect property values, wildlife habitat, water quality, recreational opportunities and the vitality of local economies.

LakeSmart is free to participate in and designed to provide education and suggestions to homeowners. There is no obligation, only options and information to help waterfront property owners do their part to protect their beloved lake or pond.

The PCSWCD offers LakeSmart evaluations to waterfront residents and camp owners. Several evaluations have been completed this year, and LakeSmart awards, recognizing waterfront homeowners who use natural landscaping strategies to protect the health of their lake, have been given out on properties on Lower Wilson Pond, Moosehead Lake and Sebec Lake. The demand for this program grows each year as waterfront property owners learn about the many benefits of participating.

The PCSWCD would like to extend an open invitation to waterfront property owners in the Greenville area, on Sebec Lake or any other parts of Piscataquis County to give them a call at 564-2321 extension 3 or send an email to info@piscataquisswcd.org to get more information on LakeSmart and schedule an evaluation.

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