Lake group seeks volunteers for watershed survey


OXFORD — The Thompson Lake Environmental Association is looking for volunteers to participate in the last tier of a three-part erosion survey.

Those interested in taking part in the survey will meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Oxford Town Office. Technical staff will be available to train volunteers in the use of Global Positioning System units, standardized forms and other equipment to conduct the survey.

Thompson Lake has a surface area of 4,255 acres and a watershed of 22,400 acres. The survey will focus on the watershed area in Oxford, which borders the lake, as well as some sections of Norway.

According to the association’s website, the impervious surfaces in developed areas of the watershed such as rooftops and roads lead to accelerated runoff into the lake. Increased amounts of phosphorus runoff in the lake can lead to algal blooms, which reduce property values, inhibit recreational activities, and are expensive to eradicate.

The surveys aim to identify serious erosion sites for repair and educate the public about the issue. They will look at roads, shorelines, and other areas but also require permission from landowners to identify erosion sites on private property.

The association conducted surveys in Otisfield in 2008 and Poland and Casco in 2009. They identified 96 erosion sites in Otisfield and 106 sites in Poland and Casco. Last year, the state Department of Environmental Protection awarded the association $61,189 through the federal Environmental Protection Agency to address erosion problems. The association raised $40,976 in matching funds and in-kind contributions to receive the grant.

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