WATERFORD – A two-year erosion control project involving state funds is under way on McWain Pond.

The McWain Pond Association, a group of property owners in the pond’s 3.9 square mile watershed, received approximately $42,000 in federal funds distributed by the Department of Environmental Protection, but the grant did not officially start until April, according to project coordinator Jeff Stern.

The association, along with the town of Waterford, Camp Waziyatah, Birch Rock Camp, the Lakes Environmental Association and the Portland Water District will provide about $28,000 in matching funds, volunteer labor and supplies.

Stern said he hopes the grant, which expires in 2010, will be used to cut down on at least half the soil and sediment washing into the pond and to educate residents about erosion control.

Stern said phosphorus runoff into the lake can fuel algal blooms, which can inhibit recreational activities and drive down property values. He said water testing at the pond shows conditions that could support such a bloom.

“If present trends continued in water quality, then it would just be a question of when an algae bloom occurred,” he said.

According to a statement from the McWain Pond Association, the pond is ringed by 75 seasonal and year-round residences, as well as the two summer camps pitching in for the matching funds. The pond also drains to Sebago Lake, the source of drinking water for more than 200,000 people.

Stern said the erosion control will focus on 95 problem areas identified in a watershed survey, including simple solutions such as water bars to divert water from gravel or dirt driveways.

“Well over half the sites are very small and easy to fix,” Stern said.

Other solutions include the installation of check dams or plunge pools to slow the flow of water in ditches near town roads to allow sediment to settle out.

Stern said some property owners have already worked to address erosion issues on their land.


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