One goal is to make this property accessible for public use through the development of hiking trails, picnic areas, and other light non-motorized use by the public including: fishing, camping, kayaking and canoeing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. We are also interested in offering educational opportunities and partnerships with local Washington County organizations.
Meddybemps Lake Land Trust has received a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a comprehensive forestry management plan. We have partnered with a local Forester to begin work on this plan with a focus on improving the unique resources inherent to our area.
Both parcels of land that MLLT owns include areas designated as Wetlands by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to protecting these valuable riparian zones, the MLLT land has an estimated 3.75 miles of frontage on Meddybemps Lake. This shoreline can therefore have great impact on two nationally recognized and ecologically significant habitats: Meddybemps Heath and the Dennys River (which Lake Meddybemps is the headwaters for).
Jeff Orchard (a member of the MLLT Board of Directors) is a Certified Wetland Scientist with 25 years of professional employment as an environmental consultant specializing in wetland restoration.
Our Ecological Value
An inventory conducted by adjacent Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
lists over 225 species of wildlife and rare plants supported by the local habitat. With such close proximity to the refuge, it is likely that the MLLT properties are serving to support a very similar diversity and number of species. Our forest is characterized by aspen, oak, maple, birch, pine, spruce, and fir, with many mature stands. Our proximity to the refuge also provides significant insights into
the appropriate management tools for conserving habitat for migratory birds
and threatened and endangered species.
We are also fortunate to have a close working relationship with Lake Meddybemps Association. They participate in a number of studies, including an annual loon count, conducted for 10 years. Additionally, in the summer of 2021, groups of Meddybemps Lake property owners undertook the first annual plant survey of the lake’s shoreline to create a baseline of existing conditions and assess the presence/absence of invasive plant species. These community-led efforts will continue to complement the initiatives undertaken by the Moosehorn Refuge and Meddybemps Lake Land Trust.
The MLLT properties were protected from development by the previous owner, and his desire to maintain the ecological health of the properties was a primary incentive for his transfer of the land to the MLLT. The members of the trust are committed to efforts that maintain the health of this treasured landscape, for its role in wildlife habitat, climate regulation, outdoor experiences, educational opportunities, and economic benefit for local citizens. With its educational programs and public space projects, the MLLT will continue to work to
ensure equitable access to the wildlife resources and experiences of this area.
A eutrophied area of Bolles Harbor, Lake Erie.
(Credit: NOAA, public domain)
Water Quality Managment
The Meddybemps Lake Water Quality Monitoring Program was initiated by our partner organization, Lake Meddybemps Association, in 1995 in coordination with MLLT's Board President Cary James. Every 5 years 6 sites (town dock, secchi site, 15th stream, 16th stream, Stony Brook, and Bear Cove) are monitored in the spring, summer, and fall. The sites can be seen in the figure on the left. The data collected since 1995 can be viewed here.
In between the 5-year intervals, phosphorus, chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen, and temperature are monitored in the spring summer and fall of each year. Oxygen levels have been consistently high at close to 100% saturation throughout the years. Another indicator of lake health is done by evaluating secchi disk readings. Secchi disk readings are taken every year, twice a month from May to October. Lake readings have remained in the range of 4.5 to 6 meters.
WHY IS WATER TESTING IMPORTANT?
Chlorophyll levels have been on the rise recently an indication that there may be more plant life in the lake. An abundance of plants may also be an indicator of rising nutrient levels. This bears watching but data at this point is inconclusive and phosphorus readings remain below levels (<15 ppb) that can cause algal blooms. Excess levels of phosphorus, a limiting nutrient, can cause a proliferation of plants ultimately leading to a condition known as eutrophication. Eutrophication is the gradual increase in the concentration of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other plant nutrients in an aging aquatic ecosystem such as a lake. It results in excessive plant production, blooms of harmful algae, increased frequency of anoxic events, and fish kills. The algae grow into unsightly scum on the water surface, decreasing recreational value (swimming, boating and fishing in particular) and even clogging water-intake pipes.
HOW can i help?
Below are simple things that can all be done to do to keep any lake healthy:
Limit stormwater impact. Stormwater events can flush harmful chemicals (such as pesticides) and excess nutrients (such as fertilizers) into waterways speeding the process of Eutrophication.
Create and maintain riparian buffer zones. This means allowing a natural plant or forest buffer zone to remain intact close to waterways. Buffer zones limit the impact of stormwater and create valuable ecosystems for the flora and fauna that benefit our waterways.
Closely monitor phosphorus, chlorophyll, and dissolved oxygen levels yearly in the spring, summer, and fall.
Make a donation to help support testing by giving to the Lake Meddybemps Association's Ed Ketchen Water Fund.
Donate to MLLT to help in our conservation of over 3.75 miles of shore-front that acts as a valuable buffer zone for all of Lake Meddybemps!
The goal of Meddybemps Lake Land Trust is to protect the lake so that future generations can continue to enjoy it. Failure to do so can ultimately lead to a eutrophic condition (shown in the picture above) and poor water quality. We will continue to work closely with the Lake Meddybemps Association, our testing partners, and our wonderful water testing volunteers to monitor the health of Meddybemps Lake.