OTISFIELD — Selectmen say a large watershed on top of Scribner Hill is being eyed as a major cause for ongoing erosion on Cobb Hill Road that is threatening the water quality of Thompson Lake.

“I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Selectman Rick Micklon said at Wednesday night’s board meeting after an initial assessment was received.

Micklon said the engineer hired to assess the situation said the problem does not appear to be coming from Scribner Hill Road, which is above Cobb Hill Road. The problem appears to be that the watershed on Scribner Hill is much larger than originally believed. 

In early November the board asked Ross Cudlitz of Engineering Assistance & Design in Yarmouth to look at Cobb Hill Road, which runs between Route 121 and Scribner Hill Road, to determine why there is still a serious problem with washouts on the road despite the placement of several large culverts.

A 2010 project designed to help control erosion into Thompson Lake from sites including Cobb Hill Road was considered successful, preventing an estimated 52 tons of soil from entering the lake. However, recent unexpected severe storms have continued to be problematic on Cobb Hill Road.

Officials have reported water coming down the hill in double and even triple the usual amount during major storms, clogging or bypassing culverts.


Thompson Lake covers 47.4 square miles or 30,336 acres. It is bordered by Otisfield, Oxford, Poland and Casco.

The Thompson Lake watershed is 22,400 acres, according to a 2008 survey report written by Thompson Lake Environmental Association, Fiddlehead Environmental Consulting and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Micklon has also asked that residents not contact Cudlitz directly with their concerns about the erosion but rather come to selectmen’s meetings.

“We’re on it and we’d like to think that they’re in on it,” Micklon said.

He said the board is convinced Cudlitz will get the job done right.

Cudlitz also serves as district engineer with the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District. The agency offers technical assistance on issues involving water quality, land use and erosion.

Cudlitz has been involved in other local projects such as the Robinson Mill dam safety in Oxford and problems on Shore Road in Otisfield. In 2007, Cudlitz did the successful design for the improvements on Shore Road and Park Way after that road washed out in spring storms and sent sediment into Thompson Lake.

Cudlitz will bring a written report to selectmen.

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