Strengthening Lake Resistance
The LakeSmart Program transferred from the Department of Environmental Protection to Maine COLA earlier this fall. “We’re excited by the opportunity to run LakeSmart,” said COLA President Steve Kahl. “Protecting Maine lakes from harm is what Maine COLA is all about. Today, with 10% of Maine’s great ponds at risk from development and increasing pressure from climate change, LakeSmart is the best blueprint we have to preserve long term lake health.”
Recent Grants Guarantee 2013 Season
Two $10,000 grants from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Davis Conservation Fund will enable COLA to kick off LakeSmart activity in January 2013. With additional support from Colby College, the o Maine Association of Conservation Districts and the Maine Lakes Resource Center, COLA’s LakeSmart fundraising is well underway.
Modeling What Stewardship Looks Like
LakeSmart shares good land use techniques on a one-to-one basis with homeowners and recognizes those who adopt conservation practices. Handsome blue and white Award signs identify homes where steps have been taken to prevent nutrient loading to lakes. Posted by the lake shore and roadside, the Awards communicate a demonstration site from which others can learn. With these concrete examples as models, the idea of doing the right thing by the lake spreads through the community.
Real Change moves Person-to-Person
Once the “buzz” about LakeSmart gets going on a lake, the idea of living lightly on the land is contagious. Momentum builds. “Behavior change is truly a person-to-person process,” said COLA’s Executive Director, Maggie Shannon. “It turns out that we follow the lead of friends and neighbors on most things. This means a lake association is uniquely well placed to sell the idea of stewardship because its members socialize, sail and swim together. They are a community. LakeSmart is a great fit.”
Registration Opens in January
LakeSmart standards will not change, but the approach and field support will change. Maine COLA will announce the new program and begin accepting applications for the 2013 summer season in January 2013. Information will be posted on the Maine COLA web site January 1, 2013 and by direct communication to lake associations. Preference will be given to those lakes with active LakeSmart programs in 2011 and 2012, but all lake groups will be welcome to apply.