President’s Annual Report:

Dana Little

May 22, 2022

On behalf of the TPA board of directors, I am  happy to share some of our activities in support  of TPA’s mission this year, as well as raise a few  topics to keep you aware of activities related  to preserving the ecology of Taylor Pond.  

THREATS TO THE POND’S HEALTH 

We were alerted to two threats to Taylor  Pond’s health this last year—construction of  a new horse farm on West Auburn Road and  logging at Taylor Pond Yacht Club. As a result,  we started monitoring for pollution entering  the pond via feeder streams that drain these  two properties. We found no evidence of  contamination from the horse farm activities  but were alarmed by elevated levels of  phosphorus from the Yacht Club stream.  Fortunately, these elevated levels have since  dropped to normal, but we will continue to  monitor and report back. You can read more  about this on page 8, in addition to a summary  of pending zoning changes which may affect  properties on Taylor Pond written by board  member Barbara Mitchell on page 7. 

PHOSPHOROUS CONTROL ORDINANCE  

In relation to water quality threats, one of our  board members, attorney Brian Cullen, brings  clarity to the City of Auburn’s phosphorus  control ordinance in an article on page 9.  The rules become applicable when new  construction involves more than 250 square  feet of ground floor area or with certain  earthmoving, tree or brush cutting or paving  activities. When one seeks a permit for such  activities, the city’s planning department will  guide you through the process. 

WATER QUALITY AND WARMING 

Another board member, retired professional  chemist Woody Trask, writes about water  quality testing on page 13. His report shows  the levels of phosphorus in the pond remain  stable with an average in 2021 of 12, below  the level of 15 at which algal blooms can  

occur. Records of ice in and out dates are  showing a trend toward later ice in and earlier  ice out dates. This trend has also been seen  in Lake Auburn and many other Maine lakes  and is consistent with global warming. The  monitors also measure the water temperature  which shows an upward trend over the last  fifty years. With less ice cover on Taylor Pond  warming will occur leading to an increased  likelihood of algal blooms.  

$500 LAKESMART MATCHING FUNDS  

I serve as our pond’s local contact for  LakeSmart, a volunteer run program run by  the nonprofit organization Maine Lakes. Last  year, I visited two homes, showed owners  how to make their property more lake  friendly, and helped them each earn $500  grants. Taylor Pond Association will match  up to $500 of your expenditures if you are a  member, have a LakeSmart evaluation, follow  the recommendations made and do nothing  to worsen your impact on the lake. If you are  interested, please contact me [email protected] gmail.com or Kristi Norcross [email protected] 

roadrunner.com or 207-577-6408. 

FIREWORKS 

According to fire department “Consumer  fireworks in the City of Auburn are a violation  of city ordinance and carry a fine of $200  to $1,000 for each violation. This includes  firecrackers, bottle rockets, and missiles.”  Please celebrate safely this summer. 

BOATING 

The most common violation of boating laws  that we see on the pond is excessive speed.  Within 200 feet of shoreline watercraft may only  travel at headway speed which is defined as the  minimum speed necessary to maintain steerage  of the watercraft. Boaters are responsible for  maintaining a safe distance from swimmers and  other boats and for the effects of their wakes  on the shoreline and other watercraft. 

LOON NESTING 

Loons enjoy our pond as much as we do.  Unfortunately, we rarely see any breeding  success. Although there are usually a half  dozen loons on the pond, the last observed  chick was several years ago. I have seen chicks  on ponds smaller than ours, so it is not our size  that inhibits them. I suspect it is the degree  to which the shoreline is built up with homes.  Michael Heskanen and Peter Durgin last year  constructed a floating nest to encourage the  loons to breed here. The nest is located at the  mouth of Lapham Brook, and we encourage  you not to disturb the site. 

SWIMMER’S ITCH (AND FEEDING DUCKS) 

I love all the birds we have on Taylor Pond and  you can read about them in my article on page  10. There are two health issues with having  birds too close to us, however. Swimmer’s  itch is caused by a parasite that depends on  ducks pooping in the water which releases  the parasite’s eggs. The eggs hatch and then  the parasite lives in snails before they drop  into the water and crawl into the exposed skin  of a swimmer. They cause an itchy rash that  can last several weeks. Keeping the ducks  away and drying your skin with a towel as  soon as leaving the water will usually prevent  problems. There is also a new influenza virus  carried by birds that so far seems not to infect  people but has caused the death of millions of  chickens across the country. In both cases bird  poop is the agent by which these diseases are  spread. Once you start feeding the ducks you  invite both infections into your home. 

BROWNTAIL MOTHS 

Unfortunately, Taylor Pond resides in the  middle of a zone of widespread Browntail  Moth infestations. Three years ago, I observed  them nearly denuding the trees above Kohl’s  along Gracelawn Road and I acquired an itchy  rash that lasted 3 weeks from their urticarial  

hairs. Their hand-sized silvery web nests can  be spotted at the tops of numerous oaks  and fruit trees around the pond. The State  of Maine maintains an excellent website  and professionals who can advise you on  management of this pest. The preferred  technique for removal is hand removal of the  winter nests. Spraying pesticides anywhere  near the shoreline is illegal. I recommend  hiring a licensed pesticide applicator if you  decide you cannot tolerate them. There is  a technique used by experts in which trees  close to the water can be injected safely to  kill the caterpillars. So far, I have preferred to  leave them for the Cuckoos to eat.