HALLOWELL – The Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence at an awards ceremony on Nov. 4. The award, presented by Gov. John Baldacci, recognizes the program’s commitment to environmental stewardship through its mission of training citizen volunteers to monitor and protect Maine’s lakes and ponds.

The program, a statewide nonprofit organization, fosters stewardship by training, certifying and providing support to individuals throughout Maine who monitor the water quality of lakes and ponds, and conduct surveys to detect invasive aquatic plants, such as milfoil. The program is the oldest, and with more than 1,800 volunteers trained, one of the largest citizen lake monitoring programs in the U.S.

Working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and organizations with similar missions, the program provides credible water quality and aquatic plant data to state and federal agencies, educational institutions, lake associations and others who have an interest in the ecological, aesthetic and economic value of Maine’s lakes and ponds.

According to Scott Williams, executive director, the annual value of the volunteer data to the state has been estimated at more than a half million dollars. Volunteers also provide considerable value to their communities through their roles as lake stewards and advocates.

“Volunteer lake monitors are at the very core of Maine’s effort to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the clear, clean waters of our lakes,” said Williams. “The Governor’s Award is a fitting tribute to their dedication and commitment.”

For more information about the program, see the Web at www.MaineVolunteerLakeMonitors.org or call 783-7733.

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