The City of Auburn's Watershed Protection Commission and Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District have collaboratively worked on addressing measures to protect the water quality of Auburn's drinking water source--Lake Auburn. The result of the efforts has resulted in a notification of the proposed grant contract award to be finalized sometime in March of 2015. This grant award comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency's 319 Clean Water Act funding pool and is administered through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Androscoggin River Watershed Fish Passage Barrier and Martin Stream Crossing and Dam Inventory Projects
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District (AVSWCD), Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) and Androscogggin River Watershed Council have been collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Coasal Program, and the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture. Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other non-governmental organizations have worked together to evaluate how well small dams and stream culverts are working in the Androscoggin River and Martin Stream watersheds during the fall of 2013 and 2014. Dams and stream crossings affect stream health and often keep fish and wildlife from reaching upstream habitat or moving within streams to find resting, feeding and spawning habitat. These surveys are part of a larger statewide effort to assess and prioritize potential barriers to sea-run and freshwater fish such as Atlantic salmon, alewives, and Eastern brook trout so state, county, town and private landowners have reliable information to help identify problem areas for future planning. Partial funding for this project was provided by the US Fish and Wildlife' Maine Coastal Program and Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture. These projects will be completed in the early part of 2015.
The stream crossing surveys to assess fish passage barriers in the two watersheds were conducted in the latter half of September and throughout October of 2013 and during the spring into early December of 2014. Teams of two people collected data in the immediate vicinity of the crossing. They recorded the dimensions of the culvert and assessed factors such as water depth, stream bottom material up and downstream and erosion at the culvert. The surveys gathered help assess potential barriers to fish movements, deterrmine which sites are the highest priority for modifying or replacing structures to improve access for fish and wildlife and accommodate larger stream flows associated with more extreme precipitation events reducing long-term roadway maintenance costs. A special thank you to all our partners and volunteers that participated in the field survey work for these projects.
The volunteers were crucial to the project and without their help the project would have been extremely difficult to complete as designed. Every hour donated was important and for which the collaborators are very grateful. We are proud to be associated with this wonderful group of dedicated people who have contributed an extraordinary effort to preserve and restore the natural resources of the area. Actions speak louder than words. They have spoken loudly and clearly and the team leaders thank each of them for their help.
EARTH SMART -- Farming for the Future
A voluntary program to give farmers credit for good stewardship.
Be recognized for you efforts to use management practices that benfit the environment and increase sustainability!
Use the Eart Smart certification as a tool to promote your farm business.
What is "Earthsmart"?
"Earthsmart" is a simple, voluntary program that gives farmers credit for good stewardship.
Participating farmers are recognized for their current practices and may need to implement self-selected improvements to become certified. The program focuses on practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costly inputs such as fertilizers and fuels. It also focuses on practices that will enhance productivity and soil health, profitability and the farm financials. It recognizes that good stewardship can only come with improvements in the bottom line. Farmers may elect to participate in any of six modules about management of crop, forage, pasture and forest lands, fertilizers, manure and energy.
"Earthsmart is an easy way for farmers to understand how to improve their stewardship without doing a lot of research and get credit for their hard work. farmers with local markets can distinguish their farm and their products using the "EarthsSmart" label and demonstrate to their customers that they care about the environment.
How Do I Become Certified?
Contact the "Earthsmart" program to see how the program might work for you.
Start with gathering items on the Assessment Document Check List:
Develop an management plan with the help of a professional that includes practices that work best for you. Meet the minimum requirements of one of six modules and apply practices chosen from any combination of modules that help you achieve 70 out of 100 points. You automatically get 10 points for doing the assessment and management plan. The modules include the following:
Sabattus Pond Watershed Implementation Grant Phase 3
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District has finished its final field season for the 319 Clean Water Act grant obtained through funding from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The major focus was completing components within the Letters of Agreement with landowners and municipalities The projects implemented were for enhancing erosion and sediment control that would prevent the degradation of the water quality in Sabattus Pond.
Little River Watershed Stream Crossing Survey Project to Start in June
A stream crossing survey to assess fish passage in the Little River Watershed began in June, 2012. The watershed is located within the towns of Topsham, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls and Bowdoin. The goal was to identify potential barriers that prevent sea run and freshwater fish, such as alewives, Atlantic salmon and Eastern brook trout from reaching upstream resting, feeding and spawning habitat.
Survey teams consisted of two people who will collect data in the immediate vicinity of the crossing. They recorded the dimensions of culverts and/or dams and assess factors such as water depth, stream bottom material up and downstream and erosion at the culvert. Potential barriers included culverts perched above the stream or blocked by sediment or debris. Previous surveys have found that about 40% of culverts at public or private stream crossings are barriers to fish and wildlife.
Collection of this information will help the state, towns and private landowners determine which sites should be modified or replaced to improve access for fish and wildlife, accommodate larger stream flows associated with more extreme precipitation events and reduce long-term roadway maintenance costs. Some high priority sites could be eligible for outside technical or financial help through public and private partnerships if the road owner/manager has an interest.
This work was made possible by a State Planning Office Maine Coastal Program Competitive Coastal Grant received by the Town of Topsham. Participants include: the Town of Topsham, Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Trout Unlimited Sebago Chapter, Topsham Conservation Commission, Wright-Pierce Engineering and other volunteers.
A stream crossing survey training for volunteers was held at the Topsham Town Office on June 12, 2012 at 9 a.m. For more information about this project, please contact Susan Gammon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm-A-Syst Assessment Tool
AVSWCD has updated the Maine Farm-A-Syst program originally implemented by the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension. The program helps to protect drinking water supplies and is meant to be used as a tool to help farmers and other land owners recognize areas or practices on their property that may be impacting groundwater. After areas of concern are identified, the next step is to create an action plan to improve practices. There are 13 user friendly separate fact sheets with accompanying worksheets. Each section includes information on the potential impacts of these practices on public and private drinking water wells. Click on underscored title to learn more in the list below.
In compliance cooperation with Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District has conducted inspections of erosion and sediment control practices installed by contractors desiring certification. Appointments for these inspections must be requested and the site must be free of snow cover. Email Susan Gammon at email@example.com or call her at 207-753-9400 ext 404 to schedule an appointment.
New Farmer Workshop Series
Androsoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District collaborated with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Department of Agriculture, Maine Forest Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to offer beginning or yet to be farmers a seven workshop series. Attendees were given and introduction to business management, crop management, nutrient management, pest management, water management, energy management and farm safety. The evaluations received after each session gave great ideas for future, more in depth topics for potential training. This fall our partners will join together to assess the potential plan for future training opportunities.