OTISFIELD — The Thompson Lake Environmental Association is offering $300 residential matching grants and also free “Thompson Lake Tune-ups,” to assist residential property owners in the Otisfield portion of the Thompson Lake Watershed. The goal is to keep eroding soil from polluting the lake.
The assistance is made possible by a $61,189 grant the association received in January 2010. The grant consists of federal money passed through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Public participation in the grant is voluntary. No regulation or enforcement is involved.
In 2008, TLEA volunteers, guided by a technical team, surveyed Otisfield for erosion hot spots and found 96 problem areas. Many occurred on residential properties scattered throughout the entire Otisfield portion of the watershed, not just along the shoreline. Most of the sites are small, and are easy and inexpensive to fix. The matching grants are designed to help landowners to fix simple problems.
The lake association will pay watershed landowners up to $300 – to be matched 50-50 by the landowner with a contribution of cash, labor or supplies – to apply erosion control measures.
For example, a residential matching grant might be used to install a water bar across a gravel driveway to divert eroding surface material into a vegetated buffer. Or a grant could help cover expenses to construct a gravel trench beneath a steeply-pitched roof so water does not fall on bare soil which might be dislodged and wash into the lake.
The association also offers free Thompson Lake Tune-ups, consultations with erosion control professionals to assist landowners put erosion control measures in place.
The matching grants are limited to 10 property owners and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis by the steering committee, which includes representatives from TLEA, the Town of Otisfield, several private road associations, Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Maine DEP.
In addition to residential matching grants, funds will also be used to share the costs of fixing the larger, more complicated and expensive erosion problems documented in the Otisfield watershed survey, for public education and for calculating pollution reduction that results from project erosion control activities.
Visit www.thompsonlake.org to sign up for a Thompson Lake Tune-Up or a residential matching grant. For more information, call 539-4535 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.