FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine – Friends of Monson Pond is taking proactive steps to prevent pollution and improve the health of Monson Pond in Fort Fairfield. FOMP, a group committed to conserving land and water resources through stewardship and education, will lead the watershed survey on Saturday, May 13, to identify sources of soil erosion runoff that threaten the water quality of Monson Pond.
Although most of the survey fieldwork will be completed on May 13, additional work on cropland and forested areas will take place later in May and June.
This survey, which is the initial step in discovering pollution sources and adopting preventative best management practices to help remedy them, will be conducted by volunteers with technical assistance from the Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Maine DEP. It will involve teams of volunteers walking and driving throughout the watershed area, looking for and documenting possible sources of pollution to the pond. In no way will the information gathered be used for regulatory or enforcement purposes.
Stormwater runoff carries pollutants such as sediment and nutrients like phosphorus to the pond, leading to decreased water quality. Soil erosion is the largest pollutant by volume to Maine’s surface waters, which makes the survey even more critical in identifying erosion sites and sources of sediment contamination that affect Monson Pond’s water quality.
The survey will not only include the shores but also the developed areas within Monson Pond’s watershed, which covers about 14.7 square miles. In early April, FOMP sent a letter to every landowner within this region, notifying them of the planned survey with a description of its purpose, and also giving them an opportunity to exclude their property from the survey if they choose to not participate.
Volunteers will look for erosion and polluted runoff resulting from activities like construction, road building, inadequate ditching, land clearing, and even small residential areas with bare soil without buffers or sparse vegetation that can release sediment into the watershed. If too much phosphorus enters the pond, nuisance algae growth can occur and aquatic vegetation will flourish, eventually choking out cold water fish species and ruining water quality for recreational purposes.
The information gathered from the survey will be used to give FOMP a better understanding of possible pollution sources to Monson Pond, provide opportunities to address problem sites, and apply for grant funds to fix priority problems. The focus of FOMP in this endeavor is to conserve the natural resources of Monson Pond through land and water stewardship and education.
Friends of Monson Pond encourages anyone interested in learning more about the survey or other FOMP activities to contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org or their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/monsonpond).