WINDHAM — The Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District is offering free landowner assistance and grant funding to property owners living along the Crooked River in Norway and Otisfield.

The two-year grant is being made available to property owners who may be experiencing property erosion affecting the river, said Heather True of the CCSWCD. The property owners are eligible for free technical assistance and cost share funding to address erosion on their property, she said.

More than 160 problem spots were found during a survey spearheaded by the CCSWCD in 2011 of the Crooked River Watershed. Trained volunteers identified polluted runoff sites, which True said were most typically caused by erosion. The Crooked River Watershed is about 120 square miles in the towns of Bethel, Greenwood, Stoneham, Albany Township, Waterford, Norway, Harrison, Otisfield, Naples and Casco.

True said the intent of the projects is to divert and infiltrate storm water runoff to minimize sediment and other surface pollutants from washing into the Crooked River.

“Based on the findings from the survey, CCSWCD applied for and was award grant funding to address some of the highest impact sites,” True said. “We are focusing these funds primarily on Norway and Otisfield as a Phase I project. We plan on addressing other towns with future phases.”

True said sediment washing into the Crooked River carries nutrients which, in excess amounts, can affect the water quality of Crooked River and its receiving water body, Sebago Lake. Simple techniques, including installing water bars, roof drip line trenches, meandering walking paths, infiltration steps, plants and rain gardens, can reduce the erosion, True said.

Funding for Phase I of the Crooked River Watershed Implementation Project is provided in part through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. Section 319 grants are administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with EPA in order to prevent or reduce water pollution in Maine, according to True.

Additional project partners include the towns of Norway and Otisfield, the Western Foothills Land Trust and the Portland Water District.

Typical projects, which are strictly voluntary, are likely to cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to $1,000, True said. The grant will cover half the cost, up to $500. Additional funds may be provided depending on the severity of the site, she said. The grant is available through 2014 and will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

To sign up for a free consultation, contact Heather True of CCSWCD at 207-892-4700 or [email protected]

[email protected]


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