By Woody Trask
In summary, 2016 was a better than average year for water clarity, including one reading that was just slightly higher than the previous record. Water levels were unusually low due to dry conditions, which may explain the high clarity readings, since fewer rain events meant less soil and nutrients being washed into the pond. Phosphorus level and the associated possibility of an algae bloom continue to be a major concern. However, I’m not aware of any blooms being reported.
The full battery of tests (color, pH, alkalinity, conductance, phosphorus and clarity) was conducted monthly from June through September, with additional clarity readings taken bi-weekly to establish a good data base. Phosphorus analyses of water samples taken from the surface and bottom of the pond were performed by the State of Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab in Augusta. Surface samples showed no increase in phosphorous levels compared to last year but the bottom samples were higher and will be closely monitored in 2017 to see if it is a trend or just an anomaly.
Even though the testing results for clarity included the best ever single reading, the average was about the same as last year. The readings averaged 5.39 meters (17.7 ft.) which is quite high compared to the historical average of 4.64 meters (15.2 ft.) — a positive indicator of the health of the Pond.
The overall water quality of Taylor Pond is considered to be average compared to all Maine lakes. Barring a major environmental event that causes significant soil erosion and phosphorus-rich run-off entering the pond, the water quality is expected to remain stable going forward.
The ice-out date for spring 2017 was recorded as April 19, which is a whole month later than last year and close to the historical average of April 14th. The pond also froze over the third week in December compared to January 5th last year. This was good, since a longer period of ice cover is generally considered beneficial to overall water quality.