2021 Water Quality Report

Woody Trask, 10/25/2021

This report summarizes the findings of the 2021 water quality monitoring program for Taylor Pond in Auburn, Maine (MIDAS ID#3750). Clarity readings and samplings were conducted monthly from June through September by Woody Trask with additional clarity readings taken mid-May to mid-October  by Michael Heskanen.

Since 2004, Taylor Pond Association has been collecting its own water samples and performing most tests. Phosphorus analyses are conducted by the DHHS Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory.

Result summary: Except for a higher than normal surface temperature, the results were consistent with readings obtained for the past several years.

The average clarity was slightly lower than last year but well above the historic average.

The average 5 meter core sample phosphorus reading was up slightly from last year but not  high enough to be of concern. The average bottom (12 meter) phosphorus reading was higher than last year but in line with the historic average.

Values for color, pH, alkalinity and conductance where all within the normal range of variation from the historic mean.

The average surface temperature taken at 1 meter depth was 23.9°C (75°F), 0.6°C (1.1°F) higher than last year and 1.0°C (1.8°F) higher than the average for the past 10 years.

 “Ice in” occurred on January 11, 2021, about a month later than last year, and the “ice out” date was April 4th making for a much shorter than average iced-over period. The historical average for “ice out” is April 14.

The results of this year’s monitoring are given below and in a separate DO/Temperature report.

Parameter2021Mean for Taylor Pond  since 1975Historic Mean for all Maine Lakes
Color21.2521.0428
pH7.17.016.82
Alkalinity18.7517.1411.9
Conductance, µS/cm10191.446
Total Phosphorous 5m core sample, µg/L12.0 vs. 11 in 202010.2512  
Total Phosphorous bottom grab, µg/L23 vs. 17.5 in 202024.55  (not published)
Secchi depth (meters) minimum4.0 vs. 4.2 in 20201.7 (minimum ever recorded)0.5 (0.9 in 2012)
Secchi depth mean (m)5.14 vs. 5.35 in 20204.71  4.81 (5.2 in 2012)
Secchi depth max (m)6.2 vs. 7.0 in 20207.0 (2019)15.5 (13.4 in 2012)
Trophic State (by Secchi disk)36.41  48.92  45
Trophic State (by core Total Phosphorus)39.98  42.69    (not published)

Color:

Organic material that remains from dead plants and animals provides most of the water color.  Lakes drained by areas with more coniferous forests tend to be brown in color due to the slow degradation of the leaves of these trees.  Taylor Pond had a color measurement of 21.25 in 2021, which is the same as last year and lower than the mean for all Maine lakes of 28.  When the color is greater than 25 a lake is considered “colored” and the transparency is reduced.  

PH:

A measure of the acid-base status of the pond.  Taylor Pond had a pH of 7.1 in 2021 which is slightly higher than the mean of 6.82 for all Maine Lakes.  Acid rain caused by industrial pollutants can cause the pH in lakes to drop below 6.  This drop in pH kills off the healthy zooplankton (microscopic animals) leading to death of fish and overgrowth of algae.   The pH of Taylor Pond has been very stable year to year.

Alkalinity:

A measure of the capacity of the water to buffer against a change in the pH.  Taylor Pond’s alkalinity in 2021 was 18.75 compared to a mean for all Maine lakes of 11.9.  This indicates that our pond is unlikely to have a problem with acidity.  The level of alkalinity in Taylor Pond has remained constant and is not of concern.

Conductance:

Conductance indirectly measures the relative number of dissolved ions in the water — the higher the concentration of ions the greater the conductance. Conductance is used as a rough estimate of the amount of pollutants which usually are present as ions.  Although conductance is easy to measure it is not considered highly reliable.  Taylor Pond’s conductance for 2021 was 101 compared to a historical mean of 91.2 and a mean of 46 for all Maine lakes.

Total Phosphorous:

A phosphorus analysis provides the most reliable measure of the capacity of Taylor Pond to have an algal bloom.  Algae in Maine waters tend to be limited by the phosphorous content of the water.  If you provide enough phosphorous algae grows rapidly.  Algae cause depletion of oxygen in the water which kills animal life, colors the water green and when it dies creates unpleasant odors.  Taylor Pond’s phosphorous was done using a 5 meter core and bottom grab sampling technique.  Taylor Pond’s core sample phosphorous readings this year averaged 11.0 µg/L which is comparable to the historical mean of 10.25 and lower than the 12 reported for all Maine lakes.  In 2021 there were no 5 meter core results close to the 15 µg/L level that can initiate algal blooms.  Lakes are categorized as oligotrophic (low level of biologic productivity), mesotrophic (intermediate) or eutrophic (high biologic productivity) based on how much phosphorous they contain.  A lake with a phosphorous of less than 10 is considered oligotrophic, between 10 and 30 is considered mesotrophic and over 30 is considered eutrophic.

The bottom grab sample average of 23 µg/L was higher than last year’s average and close to the historical average.

Secchi Disk:

Secchi disk readings provide the easiest method for measuring the clarity of the water.  Algae, zooplankton (microscopic animals), natural water color and suspended soil all reduce the transparency of the water.  Algae cause most of the change in transparency in Taylor Pond, but pine pollen at times is also a major contributor.  The mean transparency for 2021 was 5.14 meters, 0.21 meters lower than last year but higher than the historic average for Taylor Pond of 4.70 and higher than the historical average for all Maine lakes.

Trophic State:

This is a measure of the biologic productivity of the pond — the higher the number, the more biologically productive the lake and typically the poorer the water quality.  The scale ranges from zero to over 100.  Ponds in the range between 40 and 50 are considered mesotrophic (moderately productive).  Values greater than 50 are associated with eutrophy (high productivity) and values less than 40 are associated with oligotrophy (low productivity).  Taylor Pond measured at 36.41 by Secchi Disk readings and 39.98 by phosphorous readings (considered the most accurate).  Taylor Pond’s Trophic State as measured by the Secchi disk is lower than the state average of 45.

Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature Profiles:

The amount of dissolved oxygen is measured at the surface and at one meter depth intervals monthly throughout the summer.  Generally down to a depth of 5 meters the oxygen level remains at a high enough level to sustain all animals.  Below 5 meters the oxygen levels early in the summer are high, but as the summer progresses the oxygen levels drop to levels (below 5 ppm) unable to sustain fish and other aquatic animals. Warm water fish (such as Sunfish, Perch, Pickerel and Bass) have no difficulty in Taylor Pond because they stay near the surface where the water is well oxygenated.  Cold water fish (such as Trout and Salmon) need the deeper colder water, below 20 degrees Celsius, to thrive. By July or August, this colder, deeper water no longer contains enough oxygen for fish.  In addition to the difficulty for fish, oxygen depletion near the bottom of the pond tends to release phosphorous into the water.  This is demonstrated by the higher phosphorous levels found in the bottom grab samples by the middle of the summer. The oxygen depletion found below 4-8 meters is similar to what we have found in the past and continues to reflect the fragile state of Taylor Pond. The DO and Temperature profiles for 2021 are on a separate chart (attached).

Conclusions:

The conclusions remain essentially unchanged from last year, although the higher than usual temperature is a possible concern . The water quality of Taylor Pond is considered to be average compared to other Maine lakes.  The potential for an algal bloom continues to be low to moderate, with the average Phosphorus of 12.0 µg/L for 2021 being in line with the historical average.  Taylor Pond remains one of the 181 Maine lakes on the Maine Department of Environmental Protections Nonpoint Source Priority Watershed list.  This list contains those lakes considered to be threatened or impaired by nonpoint source pollution from land use activities on the surrounding watershed.  In addition the Stormwater Management Law considers Taylor Pond to be a lake “most at risk”. 

Taylor Pond fails to meet standards for the highest water quality due to the depletion of oxygen found at depths below 5 meters during the summer (see DO/Temp chart).  In addition, phosphorous levels remain just below the threshold of 15 which could trigger an algal bloom.  Monitoring of Taylor Pond has been conducted regularly since 1975.  During this time there has been no consistent trend in the parameters measured.  Since 2004, the years Taylor Pond has been monitored by volunteers, there have been no appreciable algae blooms.  

Because of the shallow depth of the pond (mean depth 17 feet) and low flushing rate (1.34 flushes per year, the number of times the water, on average, empties from the pond) Taylor Pond will likely always remain vulnerable to phosphorous loading and therefore algal blooms.  Because of oxygen depletion of deep water during the summer, the pond will likely never sustain a cold water fishery.  Finally, each new structure or expansion of an existing structure, whether a home, garage, driveway, road, lawn or beach, potentially increases the phosphorous loading of the pond.  

Taylor Pond continues to have many attractive qualities.  The shallow depth means that it quickly warms in the summer to provide excellent swimming close to the towns of Auburn and Lewiston.  It freezes quickly in the winter to provide skating, skiing and ice fishing during the winter.   It has an abundant bass, pickerel, and recently pike populations that thrive in its warm waters and attract people who enjoy fishing.  The Department of Marine Resources considers the pond to be prime spawning habitat for alewives and trucks adult fish above the dams on the Androscoggin River into Taylor Pond.  It has a naturally high level of biologic productivity that sustains an abundant wildlife population for all to enjoy.  It remains a place that never ceases to astound us with its beauty. 

METHODOLOGY:

Samples are collected at the deepest point in the pond.  This point has been determined previously and the historic location has been noted on maps available to the samplers along with GPS coordinates.  This spot is reached by boat and verified each time by visual triangulation or GPS reading.  In addition to visual triangulation an ultrasound depth meter is used before collecting core and grab samples.  Grab samples are taken using a Van Dorn Water Sampler.  Core samples are taken with a core sampler  home-manufactured from a 50 foot flexible PVC tube.   The method for grab samples at a specified depth and core samples are done according to the protocol of the Maine Bureau of Land and Water Quality, Division of Environmental Assessment.

COLOR:  Performed on core samples using a Hach color wheel (CO 20-100) and units are in Standard Platinum Units (SPU).

PH: Performed on core samples using a Hach Bromothymol Blue test kit for pH.

CONDUCTANCE:  Performed on core samples using a HM Digital, Inc. Model COM-100 water quality tester for EC/TDS/Temp. Conductivity is measured in uS/cm.

ALKALINITY:  Performed on core samples using a titration method with a Hach color wheel measured in milligram per liter. 

PHOSPHOROUS:  Performed on core samples and bottom grab samples.  Samples are collected in the field, refrigerated and sent to the DHHS lab by mail. Measurements are in parts per billion (ppb). The results are the average of four samples taken once a month from June to September.

SECCHI DISK:  Performed using the method taught by the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program. Only certified users performed this task. Measurements of depth are in meters.

DISSOLVED OXYGEN:  Performed in the field using a YSI 550A DO meter with 50 foot probe which measures temperature and dissolved oxygen from the surface to maximum depth.  The sampler and meter is yearly certified by the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program as to method and accuracy. Measurements of dissolved oxygen are in milligrams per liter (mg/l). Water temperature is recorded at each depth tested.

TROPHIC STATE:  Carlson’s Trophic State Index (TSI) is used in these calculations.  For Secchi disk depth TSI = 60 – 14.41 x (Natural Log of Secchi disk depth in meters). For total phosphorus TSI = 14.42 x (Natural Log of total phosphorous) + 4.15. 

2021 Annual Meeting Minutes

The 2021 Annual Meeting was held virtually (via Zoom), with 41 participants  representing 30 households. 

President’s Report (Dana Little): The meeting opened at 7 pm with a 15 minute social  chat. The meeting was called to order at 7:15. Dana introduced himself and the board  and welcomed participants and noted that despite the challenge of a virtual meeting,  attendance was good. In addition to the president and board members present (Ed  Gray (treasurer), Luci Merin (secretary), Kristi Norcross, Woody Trask, Barbara Mitchell,  Donna Morin, Larry Faiman), 33 members joined the online meeting, Dana noted that  the Association meets to fulfill requirements of our nonprofit charter and remains  dedicated to protecting the quality of water and life on Taylor Pond. We had hoped to  have an in person meeting but because it would have to be indoors, this was better 

Review of TPA Activities (Dana Little)  

•TPA volunteers work throughout the year to monitor water quality, reporting data to  Lake Stewards of Maine. Archival information about water quality and is available on  the TPA website at taylorpond.org.  

•Volunteers also casually look for milfoil and other invasive plants throughout the  summer and haven’t found any.  

•The Association takes an interest in the water level of the pond, especially where  flooding is a concern. TPA’s advocacy was part of the process resulting in the new  bridge being built on Hotel Road over Taylor Brook, which will lower the flood level by an  inch. To further lower the flood level of the pond, work would need to be done where  Taylor Brook crosses the Stevens Mill extension (Kendall property). This could lower  the water level by another 12 inches requiring construction of a passive or earthen dam,  a $75,000-$100,000 project. Such a project would possibly quality for a federal grant.  The association may want to press the City of Auburn to make repairs to the Stevens  mill extension crossing. 

•TPA participates in the LakeSmart Program to encourage stewardship among property  owners on the pond. Two grants ($500 each) were made last year. Two property  evaluations has been done this year and 3 more are waiting to be done. •TPA publishes an annual newsletter and responds to inquiries from various sources. 

Secretary’s Report (Luci Merin): Minutes of the 2020 meeting were posted on the TPA  website earlier at www.taylorpond.org A motion to accept the 2020 minutes as written  was made by Dana Little, seconded by Woody Trask and was accepted unanimously. 

Treasurer’s Report(Ed Gray): 

•$35,802.21 is the current account balance. TPA has received 141 membership  renewals out of 210 invoices sent out this year. This renewal rate is excellent compared  to other associations around the state.  

•It is very helpful to the treasurer to have email addresses for dues renewals, so please  keep your up-to-date with Ed Gray edwin_gray@hotmail.com 

•Dana noted that the account balance may seem high, but could be depleted quickly if  we need to address any invasive plant issues, contribute to work related to the water  levels, such as the engineering study we commissioned several years ago at at cost of  $10,000. Even more costly—Sebago Lake spent $100,000 to address invasive plants.  

Water Quality Report (Woody Trask): 

•2020 was an average year with clarity and phosphorous readings as expected •Water clarity is excellent and had highest reading ever recorded 7 meters (23 feet) •Surface temp of water is 79 degrees, which warmer than recent averages and  hopefully won’t result in algae 

•2021 started unusually, with it being January 11 before ice fully covered pond. With Ice  Out occurring April 4, there was a very short ice cover period. According to specialists,  longer ice coverage is better for pond water quality, especially phosphorous levels.  Readings are at 12 parts per billion (PPB), which is okay, but approaching the limit of 15  PPB where algae blooms become prevalent. Residents may see some algae,  particularly in a cove where wind blows in, but there are no significant blooms to report.  (Lake Auburn has had 2 algae blooms and fish kills.) Property owners can help keep  phosphorous out of the pond by planting buffers along the shore and not using  fertilizers. 

•Questions about dark red or brown streams appearing in shallow areas 2-3 times a  year were raised. Without seeing them, it was supposed that they were the result of  disturbed sediment from storms or animals.  

Election of Board Members: By a unanimous show of hands, the following board  members were reelected to 2 year terms expiring 2023: Luci Merin, Barbara Mitchell,  Woody Trask. New Board Member Brian Cullen was nominated by Barbara Mitchell,  seconded by Woody Trask and elected unanimously to a two year term ending in 2023.  Board members Dana Little, Ed Gray, Larry Faiman, Donna Morin, Kristi Norcross, and  Bill Turner continue as board members with terms expiring 2022. Board Member Marc  Tardif retired from the Board and was thanked for his service.  

Other Business: 

•It was asked if there was interest in a Labor Day Boat Parade, since the July 4th Boat  Parade was (mostly) rained out. Members noted that Labor Day is busy with back to  school and that a lot of people take their boats out that weekend. No plans for a boat  parade. 

•A resident asked about weeds—reed type weeds spreading and sticking out of the  water—are they beneficial? Is it okay to pull they out? No, you should not pull out 

the weeds, as this disturbs the soil and increases phosphorous in the pond. Yes,  the plants are beneficial as they produce oxygen and hold onto phosphorous.  Called “Juncus,” these are a genus of flowering plant/grass commonly know as rushes  that grow in some areas of the pond and not others. It is really abundant on the north  end of pond where the stream (Hodgkins Brook) comes in, which brings sediment into  the pond. Beaver dams in this area are good for the pond to slow the water and  sediment coming in. There are lots of weeds on the west side of the pond, but not the  east. The beach has had a lot of sand dumped in it so there is no grass there. Taylor  Pond is called a pond because plants can grow on the bottom. Bodies of water that are  too deep for plants to grow are lakes. The deepest part of pond is only 45 feet. 

•Question was asked about invasive plants and policies about removing plants before  entering water. Maine state policy is that boaters can’t transfer plants from one body of  water to another, but it is a little scary that there are so many places people can enter  water around Taylor Pond. It is up to everyone using the pond to inspect their own boat  or the boats of guests to keep invasive out. This also brought up the example of  invasive fish that were introduced by fishermen and have wiped out other species. 

•Another question was asked about banning jet skis? TPA has not gotten into that but  we can discuss if membership is concerned. At this point there don’t seem to be too  many; if the pond were ever to get a public boat launch it would likely attract more  creating a possible nuisance. Getting into it would likely be a divisive issue. Issues  typically addressed by TPA have an impact on the quality of the water and/or quality of  life on Taylor Pond.  

•That discussion raised a final question about voting. Does each household/ membership get one vote or does each person in a household get a vote? By-laws will  be checked. 

Meeting adjourned: 8 pm. Motion by Woody Trask, Seconded by Barbara Mitchell,  Passed Unanimously. 

Annual Meeting will occur 8/29/2021

Taylor Pond Association 

August 23, 2020 

Our originally planned meeting at Taylor Pond Yacht Club has been changed to a virtual Zoom meeting due to COVID-19 concerns. The meeting will commence on Sunday, August 29, 2021 at 7pm.

You should have received the link by email, it is not being included here for security reasons. If you need the link you can obtain it from any board member.

7 pm-Zoom Link Open for Chat 
7:15 pm-Official Meeting Begins

Annual Meeting Agenda
   a. Welcome
   b. Approval of 2020 Annual Meeting Minutes
        (View online on the TPA Website after 8/25/21)
   c. Review of the year
   d. Grant Program results
   e. Water Quality results
   f. Treasurer’s report 
   g. Open for questions
   h. Nominations and then election of board members

The minutes from our 2020 meeting are posted below and will need to be approved at our 2021 meeting.

The 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually (via Zoom), with 32 participants. 

President’s Report (Dana Little): The meeting was called to order at 7:05. Dana  welcomed participants and noted that despite the challenge of a virtual meeting,  attendance was good. In addition to the president and board members present (Ed  Gray (treasurer), Luci Merin (secretary), Kristi Norcross, Woody Trask, Barbara Mitchell,  Donna Morin, Larry Faiman), 24 members joined the online meeting, Dana noted that  the Association meets to fulfill requirements of our nonprofit charter and remains  dedicated to protecting the quality of water and life on Taylor Pond.  

Secretary’s Report (Luci Merin): Minutes of the 2019 meeting were posted on the TPA  website earlier in the day at www.taylorpond.org and on screen at the meeting for  review. A motion made at the conclusion of the meeting to accept the 2019 minutes as  written was accepted unanimously. 

Treasurer’s Report(Ed Gray): $4,825 has been collected so far from 102 renewing  and new members out of 189 invoices sent out. This is a little lower return than 2019,  but this year’s membership fee was considered optional if members were struggling due  to the pandemic. With participation at over 50%, especially since we did not send  reminder invoices with the newsletter this year, our association maintains good support  from the Taylor Pond community. Current balance in the bank is $32,741.05. The  Association’s biggest expense remains the design, printing and mailing of the annual  newsletter. Additional expenses included state and federal fees, dues to Maine Lakes  Society and Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, and water testing lab fees.  (Detail printed in TPA Newsletter.) 

Water Quality Report (Woody Trask): The water quality report revealed a generally  good, average year, with the possible concern of a warming water temperature. Ice out  was early in 2020 (April 2), 20 days earlier than 2019, but it did not yet create a high  water temperature. Average for 2020 so far is 77 degrees, while the 2019 average was  78.5 degrees. More weeks of open water are generally considered by lake scientists to  be undesirable since it results in a longer period of sunlight exposure and warming,  conditions conducive to algae growth.  

Water clarity has been good—a 7 meter reading at the end of May was a new high over  the previous high of 6.5 meters. July clarity was 4.7 meters and August just over 5  meters. Clarity readings are taken at the deepest part of the pond (40+ feet) and  therefore not affected by wildlife and watercraft stirring up the pond bottom along the  shore. Phosphorous readings are all in line with historical averages and quality  standards.

Election of Board Members: By a unanimous show of hands, the following board  members were reelected to 2 year terms expiring 2022: Dana Little, Ed Gray, Larry  Faiman, Donna Morin, Kristi Norcross, and Bill Turner. Board Member Jan Phillips  retired from the Board and was thanked her for her service.  

Other Business: 

BettyAnn Sheats provided an update on the Taylor Brook Bridge flood mitigation.  It looks promising that the bridge project will be on the State DOT work plan and  schedule for 2021. She reiterated that the plan is still an upgrade to a bridge from  earlier discussion of a culvert, which should provide greater protection.  

Barbara Mitchell noted a high number of small, biting flies (smaller than a house  fly) on the pond surface this season, wondering what they were. No answers!  In response to a recent email sent to TPA members about swimmer safety, it was  noted that motorized watercraft are responsible for operating safely, including  maintaining NO WAKE speed until 200 feet from shore. In addition to swimmer safety,  low speed along the shoreline helps minimize disruption of the pond floor and maintain  good water quality. 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:35. 

Respectfully Submitted, 

Luci Merin, Secretary

2020 Taylor Pond Water Quality Report

by Woody Trask

An October morning on Taylor Pond

This report summarizes the findings of the 2020 water quality monitoring program for Taylor Pond in Auburn, Maine (MIDAS ID#3750). Clarity readings and samplings were conducted monthly from June through September by Woody Trask with additional clarity readings taken May through September by Michael Heskanen.

Since 2004, Taylor Pond Association has been collecting its own water samples and performing most tests. Phosphorus analyses are conducted by the DHHS Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory.

Result summary: Results were quite consistent with readings obtained for the past several years with one notable exception. A new maximum clarity reading of 7.0 meters obtained on May 30 exceeded the previous high by 0.75 meters (about 2.5 feet). The average clarity was slightly higher than last year mostly likely due to a dry summer with less runoff going into the pond.

The average 5 meter core sample phosphorus reading was up slightly from last year but was consistent with the historical average. The bottom (12 meter) phosphorus reading by contrast was much lower than last year and was well below the historical average.

Water coloration was the same as last year and close to the historic average. 

Readings for pH and alkalinity were unchanged from past years. Conductivity was slightly higher.

The average surface temperature taken at 1 meter depth was 23.3°C (73.9°F), 0.3°C (0.5°F) lower than last year and 0.4°C (0.72°F) higher than the average for the past 10 years.

 “Ice in” occurred on the 4th of December 2019 (1 day earlier than 2018) and the “ice out” date was April 2nd (3 weeks earlier  than 2019). The historical average for ice out is April 14. 

The results of this year’s monitoring are given below and in a separate DO/Temperature report.

Parameter2020Mean for Taylor Pond since 1975Historical Mean for all Maine Lakes
Color21.2521.0428
pH7.17.016.82
Alkalinity2017.111.9
Conductance, µS/cm10591.246
Total Phosphorous 5m core sample, µg/L11.0vs. 10.25 in 201910.2112
Total Phosphorousbottom grab, µg/L17.5vs. 15.25 in 201924.58(not published)
Secchi depth (meters) minimum4.2vs. 3.8 in 20191.7 (minimum ever recorded)0.5(0.9 in 2012) 
Secchi depth mean (m)5.35vs. 5.0 in 20194.704.81(5.2 in 2012)
Secchi depth max (m)7.0vs. 6.2 in 20197.0 (a new record high)15.5 (13.4 in 2012)
Trophic State (by Secchi disk)35.849.2045
Trophic State (by core Total Phosphorus)38.742.75
(not published)

Color:

Organic material that remains from dead plants and animals provides most of the water color.  Lakes drained by areas with more coniferous forests tend to be brown in color due to the slow degradation of the leaves of these trees.  Taylor Pond had a color measured at 21.25 in 2020, which is slightly higher than last year and lower than the mean for all Maine lakes of 28.  When the color is greater than 25 a lake is considered “colored” and the transparency is reduced.   

PH:

A measure of the acid-base status of the pond.  Taylor Pond had a pH of 7.1 in 2020 which is slightly higher than the mean of 6.82 for all Maine Lakes.  Acid rain caused by industrial pollutants can cause the pH in lakes to drop below 6.  This drop in pH kills off the healthy zooplankton (microscopic animals) leading to death of fish and overgrowth of algae.   The pH of Taylor Pond has been very stable over the years.

Alkalinity:

A measure of the capacity of the water to buffer against a change in the pH.  Taylor Pond’s alkalinity in 2020 was 20 (the same as last year) compared to a mean for all Maine lakes of 11.9.  This indicates that our pond is unlikely to have a problem with acidity.  The level of alkalinity in Taylor Pond has remained constant and is not of concern.

Conductance:

Conductance indirectly measures the relative number of dissolved ions in the water — the higher the concentration of ions the greater the conductance. Conductance is used as a rough estimate of the amount of pollutants which usually are present as ions.  Although conductance is easy to measure it is not considered highly reliable.  Taylor Pond’s conductance for 2020 was 105 compared to a historical mean of 91.2 and a mean of 46 for all Maine lakes. 

Total Phosphorous:

A phosphorus analysis provides the most reliable measure of the capacity of Taylor Pond to have an algal bloom.  Algae in Maine waters tend to be limited by the phosphorous content of the water.  If you provide enough phosphorous algae grows rapidly.  Algae cause depletion of oxygen in the water which kills animal life, colors the water green and when it dies creates unpleasant odors.  Taylor Pond’s phosphorous was done using a 5 meter core and bottom grab sampling technique.  Taylor Pond’s core sample phosphorous readings this year averaged 11.0 µg/L which is comparable to the historical mean of 10.21 and lower than the 12 reported for all Maine lakes.  In 2020 there were no 5 meter core results close to the 15 µg/L level that can initiate algal blooms.  Lakes are categorized as oligotrophic (low level of biologic productivity), mesotrophic (intermediate) or eutrophic (high biologic productivity) based on how much phosphorous they contain.  A lake with a phosphorous of less than 10 is considered oligotrophic, between 10 and 30 is considered mesotrophic and over 30 is considered eutrophic.

The bottom grab sample average of 17.5 µg/L was higher than last year’s average and lower than the historical average.

Secchi Disk:

Secchi disk readings provide the easiest method for measuring the clarity of the water.  Algae, zooplankton (microscopic animals), natural water color and suspended soil all reduce the transparency of the water.  Algae cause most of the change in transparency in Taylor Pond, but pine pollen at times is also a major contributor.  The mean transparency for 2020 was 5.35 meters, 3.5 m. higher than last year due primarily to a highest reading ever of 7.0 meters taken at the end of May. The mean for 2020 was higher than the historic average for Taylor Pond of 4.70 and higher than the historical average for all Maine lakes.

Trophic State:

This is a measure of the biologic productivity of the pond — the higher the number, the more biologically productive the lake and typically the poorer the water quality.  The scale ranges from zero to over 100.  Ponds in the range between 40 and 50 are considered mesotrophic (moderately productive).  Values greater than 50 are associated with eutrophy (high productivity) and values less than 40 are associated with oligotrophy (low productivity).  Taylor Pond measured at 35.8 by Secchi Disk readings and 38.7 by phosphorous readings (considered the most accurate).  Taylor Pond’s Trophic State as measured by the Secchi disk is lower than the state average of 45.

Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature Profiles:

The amount of dissolved oxygen is measured at the surface and at one meter depth intervals monthly throughout the summer.  Generally down to a depth of 5 meters the oxygen level remains at a high enough level to sustain all animals.  Below 5 meters the oxygen levels early in the summer are high, but as the summer progresses the oxygen levels drop to levels (below 5 ppm) unable to sustain fish and other aquatic animals. Warm water fish (such as Sunfish, Perch, Pickerel and Bass) have no difficulty in Taylor Pond because they stay near the surface where the water is well oxygenated.  Cold water fish (such as Trout and Salmon) need the deeper colder water, below 20 degrees Celsius, to thrive. By July or August, this colder, deeper water no longer contains enough oxygen for fish.  In addition to the difficulty for fish, oxygen depletion near the bottom of the pond tends to release phosphorous into the water.  This is demonstrated by the higher phosphorous levels found in the bottom grab samples by the middle of the summer. The oxygen depletion found below 4-8 meters is similar to what we have found in the past and continues to reflect the fragile state of Taylor Pond. The DO and Temperature profiles for 2020 are on a separate chart (attached).

Conclusions:

The conclusions remain essentially unchanged from last year. The water quality of Taylor Pond is considered to be average compared to other Maine lakes.  The potential for an algal bloom continues to be low to moderate, with the average Phosphorus of 11.0 µg/L for 2020 being in line with the historical average.  Taylor Pond remains one of the 181 Maine lakes on the Maine Department of Environmental Protections Nonpoint Source Priority Watershed list.  This list contains those lakes considered to be threatened or impaired by nonpoint source pollution from land use activities on the surrounding watershed.  In addition the Stormwater Management Law considers Taylor Pond to be a lake “most at risk”.  

Taylor Pond fails to meet standards for the highest water quality due to the depletion of oxygen found at depths below 5 meters during the summer (see DO/Temp chart).  In addition, phosphorous levels remain just below the threshold of 15 which could trigger an algal bloom.  Monitoring of Taylor Pond has been conducted regularly since 1975.  During this time there has been no consistent trend in the parameters measured.  Since 2004, the years Taylor Pond has been monitored by volunteers, there have been no appreciable algae blooms.   

Because of the shallow depth of the pond (mean depth 17 feet) and low flushing rate (1.34 flushes per year, the number of times the water, on average, empties from the pond) Taylor Pond will likely always remain vulnerable to phosphorous loading and therefore algal blooms.  Because of oxygen depletion of deep water during the summer, the pond will likely never sustain a cold water fishery.  Finally, each new structure or expansion of an existing structure, whether a home, garage, driveway, road, lawn or beach, potentially increases the phosphorous loading of the pond.  

Taylor Pond continues to have many attractive qualities.  The shallow depth means that it quickly warms in the summer to provide excellent swimming close to the towns of Auburn and Lewiston.  It freezes quickly in the winter to provide skating, skiing and ice fishing during the winter.   It has an abundant bass, pickerel, and recently pike populations that thrive in its warm waters and attract people who enjoy fishing.  The Department of Marine Resources considers the pond to be prime spawning habitat for alewives and trucks adult fish above the dams on the Androscoggin River into Taylor Pond.  It has a naturally high level of biologic productivity that sustains an abundant wildlife population for all to enjoy.  It remains a place that never ceases to astound us with its beauty.  

METHODOLOGY:

Samples are collected at the deepest point in the pond.  This point has been determined previously and the historic location has been noted on maps available to the samplers along with GPS coordinates.  This spot is reached by boat and verified each time by visual triangulation or GPS reading.  In addition to visual triangulation an ultrasound depth meter is used before collecting core and grab samples.  Grab samples are taken using a Van Dorn Water Sampler.  Core samples are taken with a core sampler  home-manufactured from a 50 foot flexible PVC tube.   The method for grab samples at a specified depth and core samples are done according to the protocol of the Maine Bureau of Land and Water Quality, Division of Environmental Assessment.

COLOR:  Performed on core samples using a Hach color wheel (CO 20-100) and units are in Standard Platinum Units (SPU).

PH: Performed on core samples using a Hach Bromothymol Blue test kit for pH.

CONDUCTANCE:  Performed on core samples using a HM Digital, Inc. Model COM-100 water quality tester for EC/TDS/Temp. Conductivity is measured in uS/cm.

ALKALINITY:  Performed on core samples using a titration method with a Hach color wheel measured in milligram per liter.  

PHOSPHOROUS:  Performed on core samples and bottom grab samples.  Samples are collected in the field, refrigerated and sent to the DHHS lab by mail. Measurements are in parts per billion (ppb). The results are the average of four samples taken once a month from June to September.

SECCHI DISK:  Performed using the method taught by the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program. Only certified users performed this task. Measurements of depth are in meters.

DISSOLVED OXYGEN:  Performed in the field using a YSI 550A DO meter with 50 foot probe which measures temperature and dissolved oxygen from the surface to maximum depth.  The sampler and meter is yearly certified by the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program as to method and accuracy. Measurements of dissolved oxygen are in milligrams per liter (mg/l). Water temperature is recorded at each depth tested.

TROPHIC STATE:  Carlson’s Trophic State Index (TSI) is used in these calculations.  For Secchi disk depth TSI = 60 – 14.41 x (Natural Log of Secchi disk depth in meters). For total phosphorus TSI = 14.42 x (Natural Log of total phosphorous) + 4.15.  

Woody Trask

10/23/2020

Sunrise mist

The water measured 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the air 46 this morning creating mist rising from the surface. It looked to me like the sun was boiling the water.

August Pond Flowers

Native Swamp Loosestrife growing along the edge of Taylor Pond hang over the water.
Close-up of the bright lavender flowers of loosestrife.
Broad-leaved Arrowhead. Note the floating arrow-shaped leaves and three-petaled flowers.
Fragrant Water-Lilly, late in the season but still spectacular. The lower leaf is patterned with insect burrows.
Buttonbush, aptly named for its unique flowers, colonizes the wetland swamps around the pond and attracts hordes of bees.
Pickerelweed with purple flowers live in shallow water, an emergent Fragrant Water-lily in the foreground.
Spotted Touch-me-not thrives in shaded wetlands.
Bullhead-lily with large floating leaves and an emergent yellow flower lives in shallow water all around the pond.

TAYLOR POND VALUATION UPDATE

by Barbara Mitchell

The City of Auburn, Assessing Division has been engaged in a review of waterfront Taylor Pond property values. This multi-year appraisal process includes an analysis of sales and property inspections.  As of April 1, 2020 the analysis was not complete. As such there will be no market adjustments made for the upcoming tax year as a direct result of the study.

Although there will not be any overall market adjustments for the upcoming tax year, edits to value were necessary for some properties following inspections. These adjustments were for new additions, demolitions, decks, garages, miscellaneous outbuildings, additional bathrooms, condition changes or other corrections that were discovered during the inspections or subsequent to permit work.

The Taylor Pond study includes 196 total parcels. Only 28% of properties saw a value increase. For the most part, any adjustments were minor – often they were less than 1% of the improvement value. Value reductions were posted for 29% of properties and 43% of properties saw no change in value.  The Assessing Division intends to notify all Taylor Pond property owners whether or not their value changed in a letter prior to commitment, although  the COVID-19 outbreak hampered efforts to do this. They hope to notify individual property owners before July 1, 2020.

Homeowners should also be aware that the homestead exemption is being raised from $20,000 to $25,000 this year. This means that many Taylor Pond year round property owners (who have a homestead exemption) will likely see their taxes decrease, even if the property value increases – because very few increased more than $5,000. 

Property ValueNumber of Properties
REDUCED57
NO CHANGE84
INCREASED*55

*These increases were overwhelmingly minor, from 0.02% to 14.17%. Only three properties had an improvement value increase greater than 10%.

Source:  www.auburnmaine.gov

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

by Dana Little

Taylor Pond Association (TPA) is dedicated to protecting the quality of water in and life on the pond.  Thanks to the vigilance and partnership of property owners, we continue to report that both are very good!  As a community and as stewards of this valuable natural resource, we can take pride in our collective work…and then redouble our efforts to do even better next year.  Your individual work–avoiding pesticides and fertilizer, preventing runoff, being responsible boaters, and respecting wildlife habitat–is ongoing and critical to pond health.

Sunrise April 6th.

WATER QUALITY

Central to our mission is monitoring the quality of water in Taylor Pond.  Woody Trask manages testing and provides the annual water quality report, where we are reminded that invasive aquatic plants represent the most imminent danger to our enjoyment of the pond.  A pond filled with invasive plants can make swimming and boating unpleasant, even impossible.  Last year Michael Heskanen and I toured the entire lake looking for these aliens, and are happy to report that none were found from the surface.  This summer, we are looking for volunteer swimmers and divers to expand this surveillance underwater.  And as always, it is critical for boaters to thoroughly inspect their boats before launching.

PROPERTY VALUES & POND HEALTH

We work with local and state officials responding to inquiries, and advocate for the health of our pond.  Read Barbara Mitchell’s update on Auburn’s reevaluation of Taylor Pond properties and the status of planned improvements to the Hotel Road Taylor Brook culvert for flood mitigation. Please consider taking advantage of the LakeSmart program –a free evaluation of your property, suggestions for improvements that will keep the pond healthy and a possible  $500 matching grant to make those improvements.  

BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Please consider volunteering with Taylor Pond Association, which depends on the time and talents of many. There are many ways to serve, including attending public meetings, water quality monitoring, advocacy, education or Board membership. TPA maintains a website www.taylorpond.org where you can read more about the organization and its activities.  Learn more about lake stewardship in general, and how you can be involved, online at either the Lake Stewards of Maine (www.mainevlmp.org) or the Maine Lakes Society (mainelakessociety.org).  Both are holding their annual conferences virtually this year, providing these excellent education opportunities to a broader audience (see page 11). 

ANNUAL MEETING & COVID-19

Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for August 23 at Taylor Pond Yacht Club, pending COVID-19 developments and our ability to offer a safe meeting format.   We will keep you updated via email.  As noted on the invoice sent in May, dues are optional this year in response to the economic hardship of the pandemic and therefore a reminder invoice is not enclosed in this newsletter.  Your support of our mission, however you are able to show it, is always highly valued.  Thank you.