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Together for Healthy Lakes: Hosted by CLA

Jul 1, 2023

On June 17th, 2023, China Lake Association (CLA) hosted over 200 attendees from across Maine for Together for Healthy Lakes, a joint conference planned by Maine Lakes, Lake Stewards of Maine and CLA.  

With a warm welcome, CLA President Steve Green and Secretary Wayne Clark expressed hope over the recent launch of China Lake’s 10-year comprehensive Watershed-based Management Plan (WBMP) to restore the lake’s water quality. Their comments emphasized the timeliness of the conference’s themes around lake science, aquatic wildlife and community/municipal partnerships. 

After additional comments from Sue Gallo and Alison Cooney – respective executive directors of Maine Lakes and Lake Stewards of Maine – Tony Sutton delivered his keynote address focused on the Wabanaki’s visions for the restoration of foodways and fisheries within their homelands. The recent return of alewives to China Lake (2023 being the second year they’ve migrated up the Sebasticook/Kennebec rivers since 1783!) serves as testament to their vision for the ecosystem.

For the remainder of the day, 15 concurrent sessions offered attendees the flexibility to learn about topics of interest. 

Three such sessions were of particular note to CLA: Jen Jesperson’s work with Georges Pond, which currently faces similar non-point source pollution (NPS) challenges as China Lake, and both speakers from Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)... Linda Bacon discussed her extensive research with cyanotoxins and Alex Wong described his work as NPS Grant Program Coordinator.

China Lake has experienced cyanotoxins in the past and is at continued risk for the Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) they produce. Since NPS is a leading contributor of the excess phosphorus that fuels such algae, WBMP is focused on strategies to combat phosphorus, thereby minimizing the chance of future cyanotoxins/HABs.

Although outdoor activities were stymied by the rain, that didn’t douse attendees’ overall positivity about the conference. As part of the planning committee, CLA took note of successes as well as opportunities to improve next year’s event. We hope to host everyone again next summer at China Lake; rain checks for boat tours WILL be accepted!

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