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THE EVOLUTION OF MAINE LAKE TMDL'S and PHOSPHORUS CONTROL ACTION PLANS

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Maine has 31 lakes listed on their currently revised 303(d) listing of waters not meeting state water quality standards, due to phosphorus pollution from non-point (watershed) sources. During the period 1999–2002, five lake TMDL reports were developed, publicly reviewed, and approved by the New England EPA office. This winter-summer (2003), an additional five Maine lake PCAP-TMDLs will be completed. This evolving process for adopting an accelerated approach for the development of TMDL reports and lake nutrient management plans for phosphorus control in Maine is presented over time in 10 phases: (1) initial Maine lakes TMDL study developed under contract with a local watershed district; (2) 1999 EPA-New England lakes TMDL report guidance template provided and original Cobbossee Lake TMDL is DEP-revised, submitted, and EPA-approved; (3) Madawaska Lake TMDL developed, based on a previously prepared lake/watershed (90% commercial forest) diagnostic feasibility study, and EPA-approved in the summer of 2000; (4) Maine Association of Conservation Districts (MACD – Augusta), contracted in July 2000 as an umbrella group for ‘dealing’ with county Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) – relative to agriculturally derived phosphorus contributions/interests; (5) the Sebasticook Lake TMDL experience – public vs. lake/watershed preliminary stakeholder review, including sister state agencies (Agriculture & Forestry); (6) working out some technical aspects of lakes TMDL development (East Pond – premier septic system model; China Lake – water level concerns, Highland Lake – stormwater regulation issue, and Mousam Lake – sandy soil infiltration rates); (7) expansion of MACD staff to include a biological technician to assist Maine DEP in sampling TMDL lakes; (8) additional contracts with CWD (Annabessacook and Little Cobbossee lakes, Pleasant and Upper Narrows ponds) and Unity College (Unity Pond); (9) following an insightful Innovative TMDLs Workshop (EPA-New England, January 2003) and preliminary stakeholder review feedback (Webber-Threemile-Threecornered ponds) – the project team made a program level decision to retrofit TMDL public review/report formats; (10) emergence of combined reports with front-loaded Phosphorus Control Action Plans (PCAPs) and the TMDL technical components included as Appendices. The report retrofit simplified quantified phosphorus load modeling results (direct and indirect external watershed, internal lake bottom sediment, lake assimilative capacity, and loads allocated for future development) for public comprehension, while enhancing the feasibility of successfully implementing specified lake/watershed NPS/BMPs to control soil erosion. Lake water-shed hot spot analysis, use attainment, and future steps to be employed are also discussed relative to the application of adaptive management principles.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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