The 7 Lakes Alliance/BRCA works with area lake associations, state and town governments and agencies, other conservation groups, and private landowners to preserve the area’s natural resources and maintain public access for low-impact recreational activities like hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Our Lake Trust is a strategic alliance of the five lake associations in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed and oversees the Milfoil Program, which administers the courtesy boat inspection program that inspected over 10,000 boats the summer of 2009 at seven public boat ramps to prevent the spread of invasive plants. The Lake Trust also includes the 7 Lakes Alliance/BRCA Youth Conservation Corps that has completed over 1,000 erosion control projects in the past 20 years and the Watershed program that has performed water quality surveys of all the seven of the Belgrade Lakes. The Watershed program has worked with the Maine DEP and the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District to develop and implement watershed-based plans to improve water quality.
Why a trust for lake protection?
Water quality concerns in the 7 lakes of the Belgrade chain are interconnected, extensive and serious. In order to address these issues effectively, leaders from the watershed’s lake associations (Belgrade Lakes Association, East Pond Association, McGrath Pond and Salmon Lake Association, North Pond Association, and Friends of Messalonskee), Conservation Corps and Milfoil Committee have committed to work closely together within the organizational structure of the 7 Lakes Alliance/BRCA. Their collaboration is known as the Lake Trust.
Goals identified by the Lake Trust to date:
- Water quality restoration: continue traditional Non-point source abatement efforts through the 319 grant program; vigorously pursue additional funding avenues for remediation beyond limited 319 funding; strengthen local enforcement of resource protection laws, provide leadership, supervision and support for current and future watershed research as well as the Conservation Corps and Milfoil Committee programs; update the 1998-2001 watershed survey data and create a watershed management plan; assist lake associations with outreach and education to road associations within their sub-watersheds.
- Building lake association capacity by providing technical and human resources to lake associations. This includes but is not limited to providing program leadership for membership drives, fundraising events, and other major outreach efforts; strengthening the identity and branding of the individual lake associations; providing newsletter assistance (templates, articles, printing, etc.); assisting with website design and upkeep; and other services defined by participating groups.
- Creating public support and funding for water quality protection: host the bi-annual Golf Tournament and other fundraising events with a target of $50,000 +; secure funding for strategic planning in partnership with the BRCA and Land Trust; create a watershed working group comprising businesses, officials, water quality professionals and stakeholders to access private, federal, state and regional resources for water quality remediation in the Belgrades; and extend lake benefits and engage watershed residents in lake activities and stewardship.
What is LakeSmart?
The LakeSmart program rewards lake friendly landscaping, living, and use of best management practices (BMP’s) by recognizing homeowners whose properties score well in 4 categories: (1) driveway and parking; (2) structures and septic; (3) lawn, recreation and foot paths; (4) shorefront and beach area.