Landscape changes are happening

12 years ago

By Angie Wotton
    You may notice a few landscape changes on your next picnic or swim at Crescent Park at Nickerson Lake. For the past several years, the shoreline had eroded to such an extent that it was being reduced by a few feet each season. The main swim area had been undercut along the shoreline and children had to maneuver down an eroded bank before getting in the water.
    An opportunity came up to repair and prevent further erosion through the Nickerson Lake Conservation Project, an initiative funded through a Department of Environmental Protection grant and led by the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District. Because Crescent Park is state-owned property, the SASWCD worked with the Department of Conservation to get approval and make this project happen.
Contributed photo
BS-ConservationCrnr-dcx-pt-23LANDSCAPE LOOKING UP — Scott Thompson of Aroostook State Park and Crescent Park volunteer Richard Sherwood recently planted junipers at the popular summer venue.

    Due to the severity of erosion, the only option was to use stone rip rap along a percentage of the shoreline. Using rocks for protection is an option of last resort as many shoreline erosion problems can simply be addressed by planting native vegetation or limiting foot traffic. However, since Crescent Park is used by many people from the various surrounding communities throughout the summer, and because the bank undercuts were so severe, it was decided to protect the worst areas with rip rap and reshape a 52-foot section of the main swim area.
    During the week prior to Memorial Day, the Crescent parking lot was filled with a dump truck or two and a wagon of mulch hay. Nickerson Construction worked on the shoreline, grading and shaping a swim area, placing rip rap, and incorporating granite steps at two different lake access points along the shore. The shoreline has been mulched along the top of the rip rap and 75 two-gallon pots of native common juniper stand ready to be planted. These prickly, low growing plants will eventually spread, helping to keep children off of the angular rip rap and cover much of the rocks. This covering is important as the vegetation helps filter nutrients and pollutants from storm runoff. As the juniper covers the rocks, it diminishes their capacity to absorb heat from the sun which in turns heats the water — a good thing from a fish and other lake critters’ point of view.
    Patience and respect of growing vegetation is required while enjoying the public park for much of this summer. Areas around the main swim area have been seeded down and the junipers need to establish themselves. Depending on what has been seeded, some areas will be roped off. These temporary measures will ultimately strengthen the work recently done.
    The Crescent Park shoreline will now be protected from erosion caused by wave action and winter ice and there will be much-needed vegetation along it as additional protection from runoff. All of this helps improve the water quality of Nickerson Lake, something all of us who swim, boat or live there have an interest in.
    Editor’s note: Angie Wotton loves her work as district manager for the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District. She also raises pastured pork and vegetables with her husband on their small West Berry Farm in Hammond. She can be reached 532-9407 or via e-mail at