Thanks to Sarah Nelson for assisting with this article!
Located just off of the Appalachian trail, 2-acre Lloyd Pond is one of many remote waterbodies deep within the Maine Woods. It lies just north of Long Pond (see map below) and flows into the West Branch of the Pleasant River. Brook trout and Golden shiner have been documented from Lloyd Pond. However, for many of these remote ponds and lakes, we know little (often nothing) about their water quality and biology.
In 2021, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), with funding from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and in partnership with LSM, started a project to learn more about these remote ponds in the Maine Woods. AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative property, established in 2003 and now including the Pleasant River Headwaters Forest, is ~100,000 acres owned and managed by AMC as an ecoreserve, recreational facilities & trails, and sustainable forestry operations.
AMC ecologist Michael Macalus wrote about one of his recent forays to explore 11 ponds located deep within the 100-Mile Wilderness. Quoting Michael…”Many of the bodies of water in the Maine Woods hold a very unique and special attribute: they have experienced little to no human influence. This is quite rare, especially for the forests of the northeastern United States. The data I am collecting will allow us to begin to understand the “natural” conditions of lakes like these remote lakes, which serve as indicators—canaries in the coal mine—for other lakes in Maine, free from significant human impact. What make these data so special is that most lakes globally have been influenced one way or the other by boaters, frequent fishermen, beaches, historical or modern damming, development, and introduced species….”
READ Michael’s full article HERE!. (It’s billed as a “5-minute read” and is definitely worth it!)
Earlier this year, Scott Williams brought to our attention Daphne Merrill’s book: The Lakes of Maine: A Compilation of Fact and Legend. Published almost a half-century ago, this 263-page tome contains an interesting assortment of lake facts, history and trivia. Although it has been out of print for years, the book’s publisher has now given us permission to post on this website a scanned version of the work. So far, we have scanned the first 4 chapters: The Fish River lakes system; Lakes of the Allagash Region; Chesuncook Region Lakes; Lakes in the Moosehead Region.
People often ask: What is the difference between a lake and a pond? Back in 2010, Linda Bacon (ME DEP) wrote an informative article in VLMP’s Water Column newsletter *. Quoting Linda, “One classic distinction is that sunlight penetrates to the bottom of all areas of a pond in contrast to lakes, which have deep waters that receive no sunlight at all. Another is that ponds generally have small surface areas and lakes have large surfaces…..Some of Maine’s large and deep bodies of water are indisputably lakes. Others are ponds – small and shallow. But there is a transition between the two where the definition becomes fuzzy…..The one distinction that has any legal application is the designation of a body of water as a Great Pond. Maine state statutes define lakes and ponds greater than ten acres in size as Great Ponds…..” Read more about the differences between lakes and ponds HERE.
A waterbody’s name, however, is certainly not a clear guide as to its biological / limnological status - as illustrated by these two waterbodies, both on Mount Desert Island. Some so-called Ponds are clearly lakes. Some so-called Lakes function more like ponds.
To delve further into how waterbody names (“lake” / “pond”) relate (or don’t) to size, take a look at this interactive graphic
Aug. 12 - Breana Bennett (Maine CDC) presents Heavy Metals, PFAS, Cyanotoxins in Maine Lakes - How Maine CDC determines much is too much chemical contamination in fish tissue and how that is considered in deriving fish consumption advisories? Also: What are challenges developing advisories for harmful algae blooms?
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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