Thanks to Matt Scott and David Burton (Pleasant River Lake Association) for contributing this article!
Head down the “airline” road (Rt. 9) east from Bangor and, after about 40 miles, just after Beddinton, you will pass Pleasant River Lake (PRL). This 908-acre lake is unique in the fact that it is the largest headwater lake in the Pleasant River watershed. The Pleasant River is one of the five downeast Atlantic salmon rivers that have been listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The senior author (MS) was introduced to PRL in the fall of 1958. At that time, there were no year-round or permanent residences at the lake - only about 18 camps. Since that time, the population of the State of Maine has doubled and development around many Maine lakes, including PRL, has increased substantially. As shoreline development at PRL continues, ongoing collection of Secchi disk and other water quality measurements are vital for documenting any changes to ecosystem ‘health’. Data from the period 1974-2018 show average transparency to be ca. 18 feet, while total phosphorus averages < 10 ppb and chlorophyll is around 2.0 ppb.
Fishery: The PRL fishery has changed over the past several decades. Historically the fishery was dominated by 2 cold-water species; landlocked salmon and eastern brook trout. The forage base was and still is American smelt. A major change occurred in the lake fishery around 1976 when smallmouth bass was introduced. This species quickly became established with a reproducing population in the lake and, with time, in the lower river. (Smallmouth bass now has established populations in the lower watershed south to Columbia Falls and it has compromised the recovery efforts via predation on the freshwater stages of young Atlantic salmon.) So, for sports fishermen and fisheries managers alike, the fishery has changed in a significant way. The lake is now dominated by smallmouth bass. The brook trout fishery in the lake has disappeared due to smallmouth predation. The historical white perch fishery has nearly disappeared as well. Today, stocking continues with salmon and a hybrid salmonid called Splake (brook trout x lake trout cross)
Read 2 articles (2002, unpublished) by Matt Scott on Pleasant River Lake: Aquatic plants, Loons Since Matt’s 2002 study, there has been an aquatic plant survey done in 2014. The list of plants identified for this lake is HERE.
Asiatic clam, Bellmouth Ramshorn, Bullfrog, Brazilian Elodea, Bryozoans, Eastern Elliptio, Fishfly, Gloeotrichia, Freshwater jellyfish, Lake balls, Langmuir currents, Rusty crayfish, Volvox, Water bear ...
These are a few of the more than 150 examples of flora, fauna and lake phenomena that you can find in Lake Stewards of Maine's (LSM) newly released Maine Field Guide. Stunning photos illustrate each item. The Guide also includes descriptions of attributes such as identifying characteristics, habitat, biology & ecology.
This is a crowd-sourced compendium! LSM encourages users of the Guide to further expand this resource by contributing additional items and observations.
Dive into this catalog and experience some of the wonders of Maine lakes!
The Guide is available as a mobile app and also as an on-line catalog.
Over the past 5 decades, volunteers & others throughout Maine have produced an incredibly rich lakes data set - including more than 138,000 Secchi disk measurements, over 44,000 temperature-dissolved oxygen profiles, and many other measurements on lake chemistry & biology.
Listen to 3 lake scientists, each with several decades of experience working with Maine lakes, as they share their thoughts on the conservation & management of our lakes, the role of LSM, and the many dedicated citizen scientists who have contributed so much to an understanding of these ecosystems. Click the Show More button below for links to videos.
These video clips are from LSM’s annual conference, July 2021. Click on names to access the videos.
Matt Scott (click for video) is an aquatic biologist, a founder of ME DEP’s Lakes Program as well as of VLMP, former deputy commissioner of IF&W and Master Maine Guide. Matt shares his insights on the origins of VLMP and his recollections of many of the people involved with the lakes of our state over the years.
Dave Courtemanch (click for video) is a freshwater scientist at The Nature Conservancy and is a former director of DEP’s Division of Environmental Assessment. Dave underscores the value of long-term data - a resource made possible by LSM/VLMP volunteers monitoring Maine lakes.
Steve Norton (click for video) is Professor Emeritus in the School of Earth & Climate Sciences, University of Maine. Steve pays tribute to LSM/VLMP volunteers and explains some of the ways in which the lakes database is being used to help manage and protect this part of our natural heritage.
Also, Scott Williams (LSM Executive Director) has produced a short article about the early years of VLMP and the treasure trove of Secchi data produced by volunteers.
This presentation is a look into the geologic cycle of Maine’s lake. Dr. Norton will explore the the chronology and formation of Maine’s lakes, the evolution of the soil chemistry and water chemistry during the last 16,000 years, a bit about the major responses of lake water chemistry to this evolution, the detailed history of anthropogenic air pollution as seen through the lens of sediment chemistry, and conclude with the life-after-death history of a Maine lake.
Click for information on this free Zoom event at 2pm on Friday, August 27th
Click here to view current water quality conditions on a representative sample of Maine lakes during summer, or view which lakes have experienced ice-cover in the fall and ice-out in the spring.
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