CANTON — Retirees Liz and Gerry Rothrock moved to Lake Shore Drive in Canton a year ago from the Washington, D.C., area and built a year-round home on Lake Anasagunticook.

On Saturday morning, Diane Ray of Canton and the nonprofit Maine Lakes Society presented them with a LakeSmart program award for building their home with sustainable erosion and water practices in mind.

The Rothrocks had already taken steps to manage walkways and storm water to minimize risk to the lake, Ray said.

However, following a LakeSmart assessment, the Rothrocks learned about signs of erosion where they accessed the waterfront.

Ray said they were happy to plant some additional native grasses and ground cover with help from a local landscaper and LakeSmart materials to create a targeted walkway to solve the problem while retaining easy access to the water.

“We are glad to know that our property is compliant and we think it is a good idea, because we obviously care about the lake and want to do whatever is best for the lake,” Liz Rothrock said.


“And it educated us, too, because we moved to Maine and we moved to a lake, so we really didn’t know much about living on a lake. So it was good that Diane could give us some pointers.”

Liz said her father, Addison Plummer, and his family used to vacation on the lake at a camp halfway down Lake Shore Drive. She and her husband wanted to live on a lake with a northern exposure.

“I never used to come here while my father was alive, but our relatives got to talking about it, so we decided to check it out and loved it,” Liz Rothrock said.

Last year, Ray, a LakeSmart representative, viewed property maps and identified owners of property along Lake Anasagunticook and in its watershed in Canton and Hartford.

“We’d love to get every single person on the lake and those in the watershed assessed,” Ray said. “And we’d love to get them all LakeSmart certified.”

The assessment is a checklist that the Maine Lakes Society assembled to give homeowners things to look for, such as what they are doing with rain runoff, where it’s going, what kinds of chemicals, if any, owners are using on their lawns, and what kinds of ground cover they are adding to prevent erosion.


“It’s a pretty easy checklist,” Ray said. “We take maybe 45 minutes to an hour to go through the checklist, and then we go out on the property with the owner and say, ‘You’re doing great here, but let’s talk about what maybe could be done here to improve something like that.'”

She said there’s no obligation to get an assessment done, no enforcement and no penalty.

“You won’t be hauled off to jail if you don’t do it,” Liz Rothrock said.

“It’s not meant to be a, ‘Do you know you’re doing this wrong?’ kind of thing,” Ray said. “It’s being done to make sure the lake water stays good, because lakes are going to age no matter what. But the more people who are around there, the more runoff that could make it age faster.”

“In our case,” Rothrock said, “we didn’t have anything to prevent the runoff from going into the lake. LakeSmart advised us to put that (hedge of native grasses and ground cover) there.”

Ray said the ground cover will keep the lake edge from eroding.


Additionally, particulates and chemical counts, including phosphates, in the lake have been rising. “People spread fertilizer on their grass and when it rains, the chemicals get washed into the lake,” Ray said.

“The more construction there is, the more chance for silt to run into the lake,” she said. “So all those particulates make it cloudier and the more cloudy it gets, the more plant growth, and soon you get that imbalance and the setting for an algae bloom. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.”

As part of the award, Ray gave the Rothrocks two LakeSmart signs, one of which, she said, should be placed facing the water so people boating by can see it. “Hopefully, if people stop and ask them about it, they will direct them to their representative, who is me for the moment.”

Liz Rothrock said they had grass on their lawn but didn’t have a buffer between the grass and the lake.

“It made sense,” she said, to add a buffer. “It really wasn’t a problem. We left openings at the end along the sides, so it works out fine, really. It gives it a nice look.”

“We were your first contestants, right?” she then asked Ray, who replied affirmatively.

“And they would like to challenge everyone on Lake Shore Drive to get an assessment by Aug. 1,” Ray said.

[email protected]

CANTON — To get a LakeSmart assessment done at Lake Anasagunticook, contact Diane Ray, the LakeSmart representative for the Lake Anasagunticook Association, at 507-3091 or 717-314-7778.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.