Make a Difference - Pam Wilkinson Fine sand particles suspended in clouded water may clog the gills of our lake fish that are not adapted to a sandy environment. This threatens our fish.
measure that can be taken. Maintaining vegetation is key to slowing down run-off to the lake. We can’t see through the trees so we want to cut them down. Each year the tree canopy changes the footprint of our “special place on the lake” by cutting down trees and not replacing them. This exacerbates the water run-off to the lake that carries soil particles. Contact our Watershed Protection Committee if you have questions or need assistance. Become a good steward and neighbor. While you are perusing the lake and admiring the view remember to look down into the depths of the water at the lake’s bottom. Learn and know the difference between what is native and what may be invasive. Volunteer, participate, and report any issues you see that appears to be unnatural on your shoreline, in the water or on the bottom of the lake. By controlling the use of sand on our beaches and maintaining vegetation, we can all reduce the amount of phosphorus we add to the lake, help to prevent additional siltingandmaintainwater depth, temperature, clarity and quality. This will help control algae, invasive milfoil and native weed growth as well as help restore the natural chemistry of the lake, something that is important for fish and other invertebrates that call Little Sebago Lake home. The lake is our community’s greatest asset – let’s keep it healthy with a balance lake ecology. Look at your piece of heaven and assess what you can do to mitigate problems and develop best practices to allow generations to come to enjoy what we have today. Your contributions make it possible for our website and newsletter share educational news, expand our safety program, continue with the milfoil program, and other programs that keep Little Sebago Lake safe and usable for generations to come. This article was developed with information courtesy of: http://rblpoa.com/rblpoa/2015/07/02/how-sand- can-affect-the-health-of-our-lake/
Chemical Impact: Beach sand may contain a number of contaminants that will wash into the lake water changing its natural chemistry. It has been found that “iron-rich sand can encourage the growth of iron bacteria that create rust-colored slime deposits and oil-like films on the sand as they oxidize the iron.” If the sand contains phosphorus, a nutrient that supports plant growth and a major contributor to the decline of lake quality, it washes into the lake essentially fertilizing it. According to a study funded by the Maine and US Departments of Environmental Protection, one pound of phosphorus can produce tens of thousands of pounds of algae! As the lake becomes shallower from erosion and silting, there is less volume of water in which these toxins and other contaminants can be diluted. Sand is not the only or largest source of contamination in the lake (bigger culprits are run-off from our septic systems, roads, steep slopes, and lawns), but it contributes — and it is something we can control easily. Options: There are alternatives to beach sand that cause less damage to the lake ecosystem and water quality. These alternatives provide a more stable beach than sand and if done properly will require less routine maintenance. Before proceeding with any one approach it’s a good idea to understand the unintended and unanticipated consequences that our decisions may have on the lake in the future. Regardless of what material we use to construct our beaches, it is universally acknowledged that they should be located and constructed with careful downward slope planning and in places where the prevailing wind and currents will not contribute to beach erosion. Careful planning, engineering and construction with the right materials can result in beaches that will last many years without degrading the lake or requiring extensive maintenance and repeated lake draw-down. Swaths and paths to the lake with diverters, erosion control materials to create soft duffs and sediment holders which can contain pretty rain gardens are a simple and not costly