Ellis Pond Sidekicks seems to be on track to make it to the Labor Day goal of 600 members! As of this writing, we are at 583. Only 17 to go!

If you are reading this and aren’t a member yet, please consider this your invitation to join us. Here’s a link to the public facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/280021862441984/. My ROCKS-bury Pond hazards map has been having reasonable success. The 11 x 14 maps are available for a donation of $15 and the 16 x 20 are $20. For an extra $5, I’ll include a basic frame with the map. For an additional $10, I’m offering custom maps with a camp owner’s camp pinpointed and labeled however the camp owner wishes.

A top shelf framed copy is also available with the map printed on archival paper and shipped to me in a frame. The 11 x 14 premium maps are $40 and 16 x 20 are $65. The most recent version of the map is on Page 2. More details can be found at Ellis Pond Sidekicks. Thanks to recent donations, along with proceeds from the sales of the ROCKS-bury Pond map, we now have enough money set aside to send two lucky students to the UMaine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond in 2020.

If pledges are included, we’re close to being able to send three. The donations deadline of October 1, 2019, is less than two months away. At that time we’ll decide how many scholarships to offer based on the amount raised. We’re budgeting $700 per camper. If you would like to help keep the ball rolling on fundraising, you may send a check made out to me with an Ellis Pond Sidekicks memo. Checks may be sent to 416 East Andover Rd, East Andover, ME 04226. At the risk of being repetitive, please make the check out to me. Eighty per cent of your donation will go towards the scholarships and 20% will be set aside for other projects/expenses. There is also a donation jug at Baker’s Country Store.

Another option for you is using our gofundme campaign, DO Meter & Beyond, at this link, https://www.gofundme.com/DOMeter-Beyond?fbclid=IwAR2-JOYrBGq7D005U7cIdU7_iqAEGZboNyReJ9tQvH5cFUeSrL585IdWeY4 Donation levels at gofundme start at $5. Please keep in mind that approximately 10% of your donation will stay with gofundme. I have also restarted our bottle drive. Returnables may be dropped off at 416 East Andover Road, East Andover or 77 West Shore Road at the pond. I’m burying the headline here, but in late July there was some extra, and unexpected, green scum documented in a few locations. I immediately reported this to Lake Stewards of Maine, who in turn informed Maine DEP.

I also reported it to the camp owners association and the Town of Roxbury. On July 29, a lake scientist visited the pond to check things out. His report is on Pages 3 through 5. My photos that were sent to everyone are on Pages 6 through 10. On Tuesday, August 13, there will be discussion about the report at the Roxbury Selectboard meeting at 6pm, at the Roxbury Town Office. I plan to attend in case I can answer any questions. On Page 11 you can see the most recent graph of 2019 pond levels. It’s encouraging that since July 1, the pond level has been in the “happy medium” green range. This range is higher than the water levels previous to the dam reconstruction, circa 1985, but lower than the current average seasonal levels.

Average seasonal levels, especially since a liner was added to the dam in 1998, are usually in the red section of the graph. I still believe that the water levels created by the addition of the liner have overtaxed sensitive sections of shoreline which has led to accelerated erosion of those banks, and consequently added significant amounts of phosphorus to the pond. It’s not too late to give those eroded sections a chance to recover to reduce additional erosion and extra phosphorus being added to the pond, by making the dam slightly smaller or by removing some of the liner. Either of those changes should help keep the seasonal average closer to the green section and not allow erosion-causing waves to reach the impacted banks as often.

It should also reduce the less-than-beneficial fluctuations in pond level that happen during downpours. One disadvantage to the green levels, with the current dam, is when the pond is in the green level, there is little flushing happening because of low outflow at the dam. This problem could probably be remedied with the suggested changes, so the changes could quite possibly address three water quality issues simultaneously. Probably some of you are thinking, if the suggested changes were made, we’d end up in the yellow section of the graph too often.

With the slight changes I’m suggesting, I don’t think that would be the case. We’d end up there occasionally, but given the recent occurrences of cyanobacteria mentioned in the July 29 pond report and the suggestion in the report that “every effort should be taken to protect the lake from external sources of phosphorus-bearing runoff from the watershed” (the banks on the shoreline are part of the watershed) I think it’s time to stop talking hypothetically about how the pond will respond to changes in the dam and give some changes a try, leave them in place for a few years, and see how the pond responds.

Ross Swain, Admin for Ellis Pond Sidekicks & Lake Stewards of Maine Rep for Roxbury/Ellis Pond


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