The KLA Education Committee is focused on engaging people, young and old, in actively participating in the health and future of Keoka Lake. The Committee hosts programs and events that further education and fun on the lake.
Water Quality Monitoring
The primary focus of volunteer water quality monitoring is the collection of information related to changes in lake biological productivity over time. Water quality data gathered by volunteers can be used to determine whether individual lakes are becoming more productive, less productive, or are stable. Many years of data are generally required to make these determinations with confidence.
A cooperative endeavor with the DEP and Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation, LakeSmart is a program that offers free opportunities for homeowners to learn how to manage their lakeside properties to protect their lake's water quality. The program's goal is to change the increasingly common suburban landscaping practices around lakes to a more natural, lake-friendly environment. The primary focus of LakeSmart is to keep a lake's water clean by stabilizing eroding areas, reducing the use of chemicals, diverting rainwater into vegetated areas.
Living with Loons
Common Loons hold a special place in the hearts and minds of all who see and hear them. Their striking plumage, soulful cries and ability to seemingly vanish under water have inspired legends of magic, mysticism, and creation for many centuries. Even today, few can hear the cry of a loon drift across a dusky lake without feeling a connection to an ancient and wild spirit.
Before you begin any project within the shoreland zone, you should review the Maine regulations. The Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act (MSZA) requires municipalities to adopt, administer, and enforce local ordinances that regulate land use activities in the shoreland zone.
Storm Water Runoff
We work hard to eat the right foods because we know the wrong ones will cause both long-term and short-term problems for our bodies. Our lake needs the same care. What we put in it has long-term and short-term effects. We all enjoy the crystal, clear waters. You can see the snails, rocks, and fish in Keoka. In order to keep those waters clear, we all need to be diligent about what we put into our lake.
Phosphorus: Good for Lawns, Bad for Lakes
Phosphorus is a chemical element that is highly reactive and is never found as a free element on Earth. We use vast majority of phosphorus is as fertilizers. Phosphate is needed to replace the phosphorus that plants remove from the soil, other applications include detergents, pesticides, and nerve agents. None of these things should be in our lake water.
Courtesy Boat Inspections
Developed and Pioneered by Peter Lovell through Lakes Environmental Association the Courtesy Boat Inspection program utilizes paid or volunteer CBIs to inspect boats entering and leaving Maine lakes in an attempt to halt the spread of invasives. The CBI program is voluntary but seeks to educate recreational boaters and fishermen to the dangers of invasives being introduced into Maine's lakes and rivers. The goal is to encourage voluntary self-inspection of boats entering and leaving Maine waters.
Maine Loon Count
On the morning of the third Saturday of July each year, over 1,000 volunteers venture onto lakes and ponds across the state to count loons. The observations recorded by our citizen scientist volunteers provide an excellent “snapshot” of Maine’s loon population. Following the 2018 count, Maine Audubon estimated a population of 3,269 adult Common Loons and 406 chicks for the southern half of Maine.
What is Gloeotrichia?
Gloeotrichia (pronounced “glee-oh-tricky-ah”) echinulata is a colonial bluegreen algae that forms tiny spheres, which can be seen without magnification in lake water. “Gloeo” has been known to exist in Maine lakes for many years, but it has typically been observed in late summer, in relatively low densities. However, during the past decade, Gloeo appears to have been on the increase in lakes throughout much of New England.
What is Milfoil?
Milfoil is a rooted, submerged, aquatic plant found naturally in lakes and streams. There are five native Maine varieties that are part of the natural vegetation. It is the two non-native varieties that cause all of the trouble. Variable leaf milfoil is already present in 27 Maine lakes systems, including streams. Eurasian watermilfoil, the more aggressive colonizer of the two, has been found in several Maine water bodies.
Lady Slippers, Maine Orchids
Maine has four species of lady's-slippers (Genus Cypripedium). These include the pink lady's-slipper, ram's head lady's-slipper, yellow lady's-slipper, and showy lady's-slipper. Of the four species, 2 are rare on a state-wide basis; the ram's head lady's-slipper and the showy lady's-slipper. The ram's head lady's-slipper is also globally rare.
As part of KLA's efforts o improve the water quality in the lake, Kim Struck has embarked on a project of surveying the various streams that feed into Keoka. 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 through the KLA website.
Plant patrollers are the "Early Detection" part of the fight against milfoil. Lake users know when something abnormal shows up. Arne Keplinger has organized a group of volunteers who inspect the flora and fauna in for of a define piece of the shoreline (usually in front of their properties). He needs your help! Keoka has been divided in sections for monitoring. The 2019 Plant Patrol sections can be found here. Training and reference materials are provided. Please contact Arne via the contact email in the Resources section of this site if you are interested.