TITLE: Maine Lakes...Living on the Edge?
SPEAKERS: Aria Amirbahman, Stephen Norton, Kaci Fitzgibbon (University of Maine); Firooza Pavri (University of Southern Maine); Scott Williams (Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program); Linda Bacon (Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection)
Maine lakes provide approximately $4 billion to the state economy annually in addition to providing enormous social, recreational, and aesthetic benefits to the people of Maine and millions of annual visitors. Unfortunately, many lakes in Maine are experiencing declining water quality due to eutrophication, which causes deleterious effects on the overall health of the ecosystem, and diminishes the economic benefits of recreational use in addition to shorefront property values, and thus, tax revenues. This interdisciplinary project involving the University of Maine, the University of Southern Maine, the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP), and the Maine DEP is focusing on several Maine lakes on a continuum of water quality (eutrophic to oligotrophic) and citizen involvement (low to high) to (a) combine both stakeholder engagement parameters and physical indicators that predict which lakes are more susceptible to deteriorations in water quality, and (b) identify, through surveys and interviews, the underlying factors that encourage successful collaborations among VLMP monitors, homeowners, and lake associations on lake stewardship activities. These data will provide a blueprint of activities that can positively influence stewardship behaviors.