New England Milfoil on collins pond in july 2021

Two crews from New England Milfoil will be on Collins Pond again this year helping to control the infestation of Hybrid Variable Leaf Milfoil. These crews are currently on the lake working from July 5th through July 15th. The Collins Pond Improvement Association has been working since 2006 to reduce the spread of this non-native, invasive plant in our lake. With the help of grants from a variety of sources including the Maine DEP and the Town of Windham we have been able to hire New England Milfoil crews for the 8th year to augment the work our own volunteer DASH boat crew is able to accomplish. Hand-pulling these plants is slow work and must be done each year. Eventually it is hoped that enough of the large concentrations of plants will be removed that less maintenance will be required.

Lake or Pond?

One of the most frequently asked questions posed of biologists in the Lake Assessment Section of Maine DEP, is what makes an inland body of freshwater a lake or a pond? About half of the 6,000 lakes and ponds that have been assigned a state identification number have been named, many having two or three names. At least thirty have one name with the word lake in it and the other with the word pond. For example, Bryant Pond is also known as Lake Christopher and Dexter Pond sports the name Wassookeag Lake! It is often these dual names that make folks wonder exactly where do we draw the line in Maine?

One classic distinction is that sunlight penetrates to the bottom of all areas of a pond in contrast to lakes, which have deep waters that receive no sunlight at all. Another is that ponds generally have small surface areas and lakes have large surfaces. So a combination of surface area and depth are considered from a technical perspective. 

Text Box:

Some of our waters are definitely lakes – they are both large and deep – indisputably lakes. Others are ponds – small and shallow. And there is a transition between the two where the definition becomes fuzzy. If we held to the depth distinction, some ponds would become lakes mid-summer when algal populations limit light penetration to the bottom. The surface area distinction makes no sense for seven-acre waters that are 50 feet deep (like Maine’s kettle ponds), or for 400-acre waters that have emergent vegetation across their entire surface. 

So to answer the question above: no definitive line exists between lakes and ponds. The one distinction that has any legal application is the designation of a water as a Great Pond. Maine state statues define lakes and ponds greater than ten acres in size as Great Ponds. If an impounded water is greater than thirty acres in size it is also legally considered a Great Pond; impounded waters less than thirty acres that were greater than ten acres before dammed are also Great Ponds

Thus there is no exact technical distinction between lakes and ponds. All lakes and ponds provide critical habitat for other living creatures – aquatic macroinvertebrates, plankton, fish, wildlife and vegetation – and all need protection, so that clean fresh water continues to be one of Maine’s premier natural resources.

Information provided by Linda Bacon at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

SPRING DAM CLOSURE

As mandated by the State of Maine, Little Sebago Lake will close the Hopkins Dam on April 15th to start to bring that lake up to its summer level. Some years ago an agreement was reached with the State to set the summer and winter water levels on Little Sebago Lake to settle disagreements among property owners. Since this is the upstream water source for Collins Pond, our dam will start to close a few days before this to bring our lake level back up to a normal summer level.

Town of Windam News flash

Posted on: March 16, 2021

Local Rabies Case

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recently identified a of a case of animal rabies in a fox in Windham.  If you have any questions, please contact Maine CDC, Division of Disease Surveillance at 1-800-821-5821.   If you see a stray domestic or wild animal acting strangely please reach out to our Animal Control Officer, Jacqueline Frye, at 892-2525.

fox

WINTER POND LEVEL DRAW DOWN STARTS

Little Sebago Lake started its State mandated water level draw down for Winter on October 15th. We coordinate with them to maintain a constant level and will be opening our dam today. The Collins Pond water level is annually lowered to lessen damage to the shorelines from ice expansion. This year our draw down will be delayed until after November 6th due to the final week of milfoil removal by New England Milfoil.

Pond News Report from Rodger Patterson

August 25, 2020

I just got done paddling the lake with Karen Hahnel. Karen is one of our contacts with the Invasive Aquatics Plants Division of the Maine DEP. She tries to stop out once a year to check in on our progress with the Milfoil mitigation. We spent time surveying all around the lake. She pointed out several native plants that grow to the surface such as Bladderwort and Water Marigold. These may be mistaken as an invasive due to their dense growths and sometimes floating plants.

We talked about the excessive amounts of Eel Grass and Water Celery that is a common complaint this year. This is being seen in other lakes as well. Anything can dislodge the grass or it can be a natural occurrence. The DASH boat has only worked when we have surface support to corral the plants that get away from the diver. I am sure we don’t get them all but we aren’t responsible for the large amounts of grass floating up on everyone’s shorelines. Karen mentioned that the ducks like to eat these various grasses and probably contribute some to the floating plants.

Karen also mentioned that the loss of water clarity which I have noticed diving is also being seen elsewhere due to the heat and lack of rain which seem to encourage algae growth. We see algae each summer but it is a little worse this year. I don’t know what the secchi disk readings have been, I only know what I see, or can’t see as well, when diving. Less water flow through the lake contributes to this lack of clarity.

As far as a report from the DEP, this is just a casual paddle each year to see how things are progressing. Karen was happy to see that we continue to work at this project each year. The funding is stable this year. Recent news articles have said that boat sales are up this summer so hopefully that means boat registrations are also up. Those fees are what support this grant program. Karen took a few samples of plants with her. The invasive plant we have was identified years ago as Hybrid Variable Leaf Milfoil. We haven’t noticed a flowering part above the water previously but she took a sample of one with this part of the plant called a Bract. We didn’t notice any other troublesome plants, though. The milfoil we remove is a reddish plant but the other natives are generally green with a different appearance.

Collins Pond