Keoka Lake is a 460-acre lake with a watershed that covers 5.7 square miles and drains into Long Lake and then Sebago Lake. Keoka has seven main year-round tributaries. During the spring melt, there are dozens of rivulets – often every few feet along the shore. But the year-round streams are the tributaries we generally recognize as important sources of flow. Some of these evaporate in dry weather, only to surge again when a summer thunder storm occurs. These streams are not only a quaint feature of the lake, but they also represent potential nutrient sources (read: lake pollution) which need to be monitored and managed.
The health of streams, rivers, and the organisms that live in them depends on a healthy aquatic habitat conditions. Humans, however, can disturb and degrade these conditions through land-use and water-use activities that are not done properly or carefully. Maine is no exception. While it has many beautiful miles of pristine or near-pristine waterways, a significant amount of its stream and river miles have been damaged and impacted by misuse, overuse, or mismanagement. In order to maintain or improve water quality and habitat conditions, these stream resources need to be assessed, managed, and protected. Nearby human activities must be done with care and according to the latest standards (sometimes referred to as “best management practices” or BMPs).
As part of KLA's efforts to improve the water quality in the lake, Kim Struck has embarked on a project of surveying the various streams that feed into Keoka Lake. Primarily looking for evidence of overbanking that can be mitigated to reduce erosion and sediment getting into the lake, she has also been picking up trash and meeting with property owners. KLA wants to collaborate on any mitigation issues. Anyone wishing to get involved should contact Kim Sruck.
KEOKA STREAMS & BROOKS
Gage Rice Stream
Stone’s Cove Stream
City Brook (also known as Mill Brook)
MAINE DEP STREAM SURVEY MANUAL
Learn more about stream surveys by reviewing the Stream Survey Manual. This guide is designed to help volunteer group leaders and, to some extent, the
volunteers themselves learn:
Some basic watershed concepts,
How to organize and carry out basic stream watershed surveys and stream corridor surveys, and
How to use standardized methods so that the information collected in various watersheds and streams around the state can be readily compared.
2: Gage Rice Stream
This stream empties into the lake in Brown’s Cove, next to the public Gage Rice Beach. Sometimes, in a heavy spring rain, when culverts are still iced up, Route 37 floods where the stream crosses the road just to the north of the beach. The stream drains much of the southeastern side of Rice Hill.
4: Stone's Cove Stream
The stream, also known as Haskell Brook, drains the watershed between Keoka Lake and McWain Pond, including the large swampy area on the north of Passaconaway Road that Mayflower Road crosses. It winds through the woods on the Swonger property (KLA 46) and empties into Keoka at the north end of Stone’s Cove Beach (KLA 48). Indeed, it and Niemi Brook are responsible for the sands, deposited over centuries, which comprise Stone’s Cove Beach.
6: Sucker Brook
Sucker Brook (Mud Brook) is the second largest tributary on the Lake. It drains much of the western end of Mill Hill and the north side of Bear and Hawk Mountains. The brook runs about a mile from its origin in Bog Pond on the north side of Hawk Mountain. It crosses Mill Hill Road by the Keoka Beach Campground (KLA 78 & 79) entrance and runs alongside the campground road and into the lake at the east end of Keoka Beach. It is responsible, no doubt over centuries, for much of the sand on the Keoka Beach.
1: Kedar Brook
Kedar Brook is the largest Keoka tributary. It flows through Waterford Flat and under Route 37 at James Tyler Corner (NHRP 20). It empties into Keoka at the large delta next to the Wilson boathouse (KLA 7). In recent years, Kedar has had beaver activity in the section near the lake which has, on occasion, interrupted the flow and flooded cellars in the Flat. Kedar splits into two tributaries above the Stone Home and runs on both sides of Route 35 as the road climbs toward the Waterford Memorial School.
3: Johnson's Brook
The brook drains much of the southwest side of Rice Hill. We cross one of its tributaries when we drive up Brown Hill Road. It flows west under Route 37 and Johnson Road, emptying into Johnson’s Cove at a rather large delta, replete with cattails. In a heavy rainstorm, Johnson’s Brook flows much more swiftly than it did one hundred years ago, owing to several large commercial developments upstream.
5: Young's Brook
The brook drains much of the eastern end of Mill Hill, running through the eastern end of the Chadbourne compound (KLA 72) and emptying into a small cove on the southeast side of the lake which we call Lenassi Cove (KLA 69, 70 & 71), after Dick Lenassi, one of KLA’s early supporters. Lenassi Cove is very shallow and sandy, owing to centuries of sand brought down by Young’s Brook, named after Moses Young who once owned the area.
7: City Brook
City Brook is the only outlet of Keoka Lake. It is located on the south side of the lake at the far western end of the campground. Water flows out of Keoka and into City Brook through the dam gate and the three-foot-wide sluiceway. The dam gate and sluiceway require constant vigilance on the part of KLA, as they are prone to jamming with driftwood, fallen limbs, and yes, even an occasional stray boat. Next to the sluiceway, there is also a fourteen foot spillway, built at a higher level, that acts as a fail-safe when the lake is very full, preventing the lake from flooding shorefront properties. When both the sluiceway and the spillway are running strong, City Brook runs swiftly through the ruins of the South Waterford mills (“The City”) where it joins with Mutiny Brook and flows into Bear Pond.