TURNER — The water is fine — that’s the good news members of the Little Wilson Pond Improvement Association received at the organization’s annual meeting July 11.
“We have seen a resurgence in investments in the properties around Little Wilson Pond, and the quality of the water is what attracts that investment,” says Chuck Buikema, who serves as president of the association. “This has come in three ways. No homes are being built. Camps are being refurbished into year-round residences. And existing camps are being extensively remodeled. The end result is that all of this investment is improving the tax base in Turner.
Dick Thibideau, a member of the association who has been monitoring the pond’s water quality for many years, reported at this year’s meeting that the water quality remains very good with no signs of the problems faced by Lake Auburn in 2012 when an algae bloom caused a massive fish kill. Little Wilson Pond feeds into Lake Auburn, which supplies the water for Lewiston and Auburn residents. Thibideau also serves as the Turner representative to the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission.
Thibideau and his wife, Jo, have been monitoring the water quality in the pond twice a month as part of a voluntary lake monitoring program. And they have been getting some additional help. Since the algae bloom, the Auburn Water district has also been testing the water, and those results are shared with Little Wilson Pond.
Members of the association have been working to protect the pond quality since 1962. This year the association once again donated $200 to the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, which trains and certifies volunteers to monitor water quality.
The association represents about 50 property owners whose land surrounds the 110-acre pond. There is no public access to the pond.
Also during the meeting, Lynne Richards, Education/Outreach Manager of the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission, told members that property owners who plant lake-friendly landscaping to slow erosion into the pond can receive financial assistance under a grant the commission received from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission will seek grant funding to assist with the extensive engineering work that needs to be done before the town can pave Little Wilson Pond Road. Culverts that funnel water into the pond will have to be upgraded first.
Turner Rescue Chief Toby Martin explained how the new 24/7 rescue services will operate.
And Philomena Brown, Colleen Bennett, March Chasse, Chris Nolin and Judy Whiting were elected to one-year terms on the board. Buikema, Secretary Sue Jordan and Treasurer Julia Jowziak continue their terms in 2015 to 2016.