RANGELEY – An old program is getting a fresh start in the Rangeley Lakes Region. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is now coordinating and performing LakeSmart evaluations for shorefront property owners in the region.
LakeSmart is a free, non-regulatory, voluntary program that rewards homeowners for preserving the water quality of their lake. During the assessment, evaluators look for signs of erosion along the buildings, yard, driveway, and shoreline. Homeowners receive a personalized action report on improving their property to prevent erosion and runoff. The action report provides best management practices (BMPs) that help keep the water clean and clear.
If a property owner makes the changes and meets all LakeSmart standards, they receive the LakeSmart Award, which includes two signs to post on their dock and along the road. The signs start conversations with neighbors, who learn about being LakeSmart, and protecting the water becomes “the thing to do.”
“We see our lakes as grand enough to be beyond any impact we could make, but the truth is very different,” states a Maine Lakes Society of LakeSmart spokesperson. “A small muddy rivulet trickling down a camp road is unremarkable until you stop, add up all the camp roads in a lake watershed, add in all the year’s rain storms, and then multiply that number by a decade or two. The sum equals much rainwater runoff entering lake waters, carrying pollutants, and causing trouble for lake lovers and wildlife.”
Retired evaluations, Sue Motley and John Towey, awarded properties on Gull Pond, Quimby Pond, and Mooselookmeguntic Lake. This season, RLHT’s Coordinator, Julia Morin, is conducting evaluations.
“RLHT is also looking for volunteers to become evaluators — LakeSmart partners with local lake associations to evaluate properties and provide individual reports,” says Morin. “Volunteers can be individuals or lake association members who want to help protect Rangeley’s waterbodies.”
For more information about the LakeSmart program, visit lakes.me/lakesmart. If you want to have your property inspected or wish to become an evaluator, don’t hesitate to get in touch with RLHT Headwaters Coordinator Julia Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org.