Saco River Conference April 23 Addresses Conservation Challenges

The Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) is pleased to announce a first-of-its-kind conference, on April 23, which brings together experts from two states – Maine and New Hampshire – to discuss the many conservation challenges facing the river and its watershed. The day-long conference will be held at the Leura Eastman Performing Arts Center on the campus of Fryeburg Academy.
OCSWCD is sponsoring the event. Co-sponsors include the Carroll County Conservation District in New Hampshire, the University of New England, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Fiddlehead Environmental Consulting, Maine Association of Conservation Districts, and Norway Savings Bank. Advance registration costs $30 for non-students, $15 for students. For those registering after April 20 registration is $35 for non-students, $20 for students.
The Saco River Watershed faces many conservation challenges. A partial list includes mitigating the impact of flooding, protecting water quality, preventing river bank erosion, and enhancing fisheries. At the same time, the Saco River is prized for outstanding recreational opportunities. It is home to rare ecosystems and plant and animal species. Protecting the watershed’s unique assets into the future presents a huge challenge to planners, state and municipal officials, and residents. This conference aims to start that dialogue.
Topics range from fisheries, tourism and invasive species (terrestrial and aquatic) to discussions about conservation easements, public education, recreation, and restoring native sea-run fish populations. The final session of the day is titled “Where do we go from here?” and will, with audience participation, explore strategies, such as developing a two-state working group, to begin addressing issues that affect the watershed on both sides of the state line.

On April 23, the day of the conference, registration begins at 7:45 a.m. After brief introductory remarks by the conference coordinator at 8:30 a.m., the keynote address starts at 8:40 a.m. and will be delivered by Christine Feurt, Ph.D. of the University of New England. The title of her presentation is “Sustaining the Saco – The power of collaboration from the headwaters to the sea.” The morning features concurrent breakout sessions, while there will be combined sessions in the afternoon. Throughout the day, there will be breaks for networking. Lunch will be served at the Fryeburg Academy dining hall which is a short walk from the performing arts center. The conference ends about 3:40 p.m.
For more information about the conference, the full agenda, and to register online go to the OCSWCD website: http://www.oxfordcountyswcd.org. Alternately, registration forms can be downloaded from the website and mailed with registration fees by check payable to: Oxford County SWCD, 17 Olson Rd., South Paris, ME 04281. Maine Code Enforcement Officers are eligible for 1 contact hour in Land Use or Shoreland Zoning offered by the Maine Departments of Economic and Community Development and Environmental Protection. Foresters are eligible for 3.5 category 1 CFE credits from the Society of American Foresters. For planners, the conference is pending 6.5 AICP CM credits from the American Planning Association.
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For more information:
– Jeff Stern, Watershed Specialist, Fiddlehead Environmental Consulting, email address: sternjm@hotmail.com, telephone: 207-627-3126.
– Michele Windsor, Project Manager, Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District, email address: michele.windsor@me.nacdnet.net, telephone: (207)743-5789 X101.

National Ground Water Awareness Week

Groundwater Awareness Week, March 9-15, 2014: Time to check your water wells

Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup before the peak water use season begins, according to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance — like good car maintenance — can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. NGWA further recommends you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or when the system is serviced.

Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order. A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:
• A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
• A well equipment inspection to assure it’s sanitary and meets local code.
• A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other optional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides, and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor.
The Maine Association of Conservation Districts also recommends that well owners:
• Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a “clean” zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.
• Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, and chemical storage areas.
• Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
• Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.

MACD’s annual Winter Meeting December 4-5

The Maine Association of Conservation Districts will hold its annual Winter Meeting on December 4-5 at the Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor. District supervisors, employees, and partnering agencies will meet to review accomplishments and develop plans for strengthening soil and water conservation programs in Maine.

Featured speaker is Richard Went, Secretary/Treasurer of the National Association of Conservation Districts and President of the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts.

Registration is available from MACD by calling 207-878-0857 or by emailing macddirector@gmail.com.

 

The Maine Association of Conservation Districts

English: A view from of Annabessacook lake, on...

English: A view from of Annabessacook lake, one of several lake in Winthrop, Maine. Taken in the fall of 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lake Auburn, Maine

Lake Auburn, Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Maine Association of Conservation Districts is the statewide voice of Maine’s 16 local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. By working with landowners, nonprofit organizations and federal, state, and local governments, Districts have helped to protect our soil, water, forests, wildlife, and other natural resources for over 60 years.Image