Dana Little

In June of 2023 Taylor Pond Association conducted a Watershed Survey which reviewed every property in the watershed; volunteers visited most of those properties. The results of that survey were posted on our website www.taylorpond.org (see December 11, 2023 post). In follow-up, Taylor Pond Association has worked with Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District (AVSWCD) to apply for federal funding to reduce “nonpoint source pollution”. Nonpoint source pollution comes primarily from erosion of soil into the pond. Soil washing into the pond carries phosphorus which promotes algae growth and can cause a decrease in water quality. Overgrowth of algae can be unsightly, smell bad, and produce chemicals that can be toxic to wildlife, pets and even people.

The grant was submitted in May 2024, requesting between up to $150,000 toward improvement of the Taylor Pond watershed. A funding decision won’t be made until this fall. If funded, the federal grant money would cover 60 percent of the total project cost and require local funding of the remaining 40 percent. Local dollars could include labor, materials, and equipment used in funded projects. We contacted people, businesses, and road associations eligible for federal matching dollars by letter this spring. We also contacted the towns of Minot and Auburn to coordinate efforts to address issues identified in the survey.

While only the largest projects are included in this federal matching grant opportunity, Taylor Pond Association still offers local LakeSmart matching grants of up to $500 to property owners who want to make their shoreline more lake friendly by decreasing sources of soil erosion into the pond. Association volunteers will conduct a LakeSmart property evaluation and make recommendations for improvements that will keep the pond healthy.

We are fortunate to be working with Emma Lorusso, Project Manager with AVSWCD who wrote the watershed survey reports and federal grant application. If our project is funded, she will coordinate these efforts. Ms. Lorusso will speak at our annual meeting this year to present the survey data, review the grant process and answer questions. The annual meeting is on Sunday, August 25, 2024 starting 7 pm at Taylor Pond Yacht Club.

Collecting data at an erosion site on Wyman Road, June 3rd, 2023.


Woody Trask

Whereas 2022 was an exceptionally good year for Taylor Pond water quality, 2023 was an exceptionally poor one—especially with regard to color and clarity. The highest clarity reading in 2023 was a depth of 19 feet, more than 5 feet less than 2022’s top reading. The average of all 2023 clarity readings was only 14 feet, more than 6 feet less than 2022’s average of 20.2 feet. Clarity is determined by lowering a black and white disc into the water until it is no longer visible.

The water was also much more highly colored (yellow/brown) in 2023 compared to 2022. The average 2023 color value was 31.25, which was over twice the coloration value in 2022. Low coloration in 2022 was attributed to a year with low precipitation. Similarly, 2023’s high coloration level can be attributed to very heavy rain events with significant particulate transport into the pond. Fortunately, perhaps miraculously, the materials causing the high color and low clarity did not result in high phosphorus concentrations that could have created a serious algae bloom problem.

With so much rain in 2023, the water level of the pond rose to levels that had not been seen in many years, causing concern for bank erosion from wave action and boat wakes. This could only have added to the coloration issue. As many of us experienced, the high water level also caused havoc with dock panels, floats, toys and other things that wandered away from home.

The water temperature in 2023 was slightly colder than it was in 2022. This may have reduced the potential for algae blooms. The average temperature was 72 degrees, 3 degrees lower than 2022 and about 2 degrees colder than the ten-year average. Tests on water samples taken monthly indicated phosphorus levels were only slightly higher than the historical average, somewhat surprising considering the number of rain events causing high coloration. All of the other tests normally conducted to assess water quality — pH, alkalinity and conductance –were all within the normal range of variation from the historic mean and showed no reason for major concern.

A concerning situation that could increase the potential of algae blooms during the summer of 2024 is the very short period of ice cover we experienced this past winter. “Ice In” didn’t occur until January 9th and “ice out” occurred on March 15, giving a total of only 66 days of ice cover, one third less time than the historical average. Since algae needs sunlight as well as phosphorus to grow, fewer days of sun blocking ice cover could mean a higher potential for algae growth. Lake Auburn experienced the same short ice cover period and the water disrict has expressed concern that algae blooms are quite likely to occur this summer as a direct result. If you see what appears to be an algae bloom on Taylor Pond, please report it to a TPA Board member or take a picture and post it on Taylor Pond Ripples so that it can be verified and recorded.


Clouds over Taylor Pond

FaceBook: Taylor Pond Ripples

Last spring Taylor Pond Association started Taylor Pond Ripples, a private Facebook group for Taylor Pond residents. From all indications, the group has served its intended purpose well—including reuniting owners with floating pieces of their docks during last summer’s high water and sharing information and many wonderful photos and videos. Joining the group is simple–search for Taylor Pond Ripples on Facebook. (You do need a Facebook account to join.) When you ask to join, you’ll answer two simple questions about your connection to the pond and your agreement with the group rules. If you are a member, you can also invite neighbors to join. Join now and connect with neighbors online (as well as in real life).

Northern lights over Taylor Pond, taken by Joan Macri on May 9th, 2024.


Dana Little

Boat Launch Among the many issues we have addressed this year, the one that garners the most attention is the impending closure of the boat launch on Sunrise Lane in 2025. The closure stems from the owner’s frustration with some inconsiderate users who fail to pay for launching, make excessive demands to open at inconvenient times or leave a mess on the property. A boat launch is understandably a valued service, but also a huge responsibility and imposition on the property owner. Board members Peter Bingham and Kristi Norcross are taking on the task of assessing the problem and looking for solutions. Their report is on page 4 of this years newsletter.

Watershed Survey & Grant Application Many volunteers completed a comprehensive watershed survey last year that identified 83 opportunities to improve properties and/or roads in the watershed and decrease erosion into the pond. In partnership with Androscoggin Soil and Water Conservation District, we have submitted a federal grant application to help pay for repairs/improvements. Details are on page 5 of our newsletter. In addition to this effort to fund larger projects, TPA continues to offer up to $500 in matching funds for property owners to prevent soil erosion. Eligible projects include having a vegetative border next to the shore (instead of a lawn), adding riprap, minimizing lawn area, cutting grass no shorter than 3 inches and avoiding the use of any pesticides or fertilizers. Contact us for a LakeSmart evaluation to learn how you can protect the pond from your own backyard.

Invasive Plants are one of the biggest threats to the pond. While most surrounding waters have invasives, Taylor Pond has only native plants. Because of the pond’s shallow depth, invasive plants could take over much of the surface area of the pond making boating or swimming unpleasant. The best way to avoid invasive plants is to remove any plant material from your boat or trailer, drain out any water and let the boat dry for several days. The state summarizes this in the motto, “Clean, Drain and Dry.” One can be fined up to $2,500 if found transporting invasive plants or animals and a new law, as of June 2023, now requires that: “Prior to entering a water body and when preparing to leave launch sites, boaters are required to remove or open any devices designed for routine removal/opening (for example: hull drain plugs, bailers, live wells, ballast tanks) to encourage draining of areas containing water. This must be done in a way that does not allow drained water to enter any inland water of the state.”

Many thanks to members of the Association who contribute their yearly dues, board members who contribute their expertise and all homeowners who work so hard to keep the pond healthy.

Maine boating regulations require:

  1. Boats must maintain no more than “headway speed” (i.e. minimum speed needed to maintain control and forward motion) within 200 feet of the shoreline.
  2. All children 10 years old or younger must wear a PFD (i.e. life jacket) when aboard any vessel.
  3. All watercraft (including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards) must be equipped with an appropriate PFD for each person aboard and proper light if operating at night.
  4. Water skiing is prohibited between the hours of ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise.
  5. Anyone towing a water skier or tuber must have an additional watcher at least 12 years old aboard.
  6. On Taylor Pond, at any one time there are more kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and small sailboats on the water than motorized craft. Please be considerate of others at all times. If you are transiting at night, be aware that loons and ducks may be in your path. Be vigilant!

Milfoil: Taylor Pond is one of the few area lakes that is not infested with milfoil, an invasive feathery plant that can completely take over a shallow lake in a season. Before launching a boat always check carefully to be sure that not a speck of plant material is on it. Just a tiny piece tucked away in a propeller can produce a whole colony of milfoil. The best, and almost only, defense is prevention.  A one-inch piece of milfoil kept in a freezer for a year is still hearty and robust once submerged in water again.  Thank you for your vigilance.


Brian Cullen

Shoreland zoning laws are intended to protect the quality of Maine’s lakes and ponds. In general, shoreland property is defined as the areas within 250 feet of “great ponds,” such as Taylor Pond, and within 75 feet of streams. Construction, landscaping, and other land use activities that are routinely permitted on non-shoreland property, may be constrained or precluded altogether within the shoreland zone.

Although shoreland zoning standards are mandated by the state of Maine, enforcement of those standards is primarily the responsibility of the respective municipalities where the shoreland is located. As a result, the local authorities must develop their own expertise and capacity for investigating and enforcing shoreland zoning standards. Accordingly, the investigation and enforcement of shoreland zoning violations may vary significantly across the state. Locally, the City of Auburn Planning, Permitting and Code Department is the resource for code guidance and enforcement by well-informed professionals.

Local authorities may be challenged when a property owner mounts a vigorous legal defense to a shoreland zoning citation. To support its citation, the municipality may need to hire outside attorneys and experts and incur significant expense. Naturally, the more extensive the alleged violations are, the more costly they will be to prosecute. The costs of enforcement are borne by the municipality, not by the state. Even after successfully prosecuting an enforcement action, the municipality may have difficulty recovering financial penalties from and/ or enforcing property remediation orders against a property owner.

Recently, the Maine legislature passed a new law to increase the enforcement capabilities of local authorities. The new procedures strengthen a municipality’s ability to compel a shoreland property owner to remediate zoning violations and to recover financial penalties and legal costs from the responsible property owner.

The impetus for this new legislation was a well-publicized zoning dispute between the Town of Raymond and a corporate property owner, involving two lakefront properties on Sebago Lake. The Town charged the property owner and its contractors with making impermissible changes to the two lakefront properties, including removal of lakefront trees and other vegetation and installation of hundreds of feet of riprap, all without a permit. Among other defenses, the property owner claimed that the contractors were solely responsible for obtaining and complying with all necessary permits.

The property owner had sufficient financial resources to fund an aggressive legal defense of the alleged violations. The Town unsuccessfully requested financial assistance from the State and the City of Portland (which gets its drinking water from Sebago Lake) to prosecute the zoning violations. Ultimately the Town spent over $300,000 on outside legal expenses to support its case. Of further significance, the principal shoreland contractor filed for bankruptcy protection during the litigation.

The Sebago case was recently settled with no admission of wrongdoing by the property owner or the contractors. Under the settlement, the property owner agreed to restore the shorefronts to their pre-disturbed condition and to make a substantial monetary payment to the Town. In further consequence of this litigation, legislators representing the Town of Raymond sponsored the new state law to increase the shoreland zoning enforcement powers of municipalities.

The new enforcement provisions allow a municipality to file a civil lawsuit against a property owner who wrongfully fails to abate violations, and/or pay assessed penalties. If the municipality prevails in the civil litigation, it can also recover its attorney’s fees and legal expenses from the property owner. After prevailing, the municipality can place a lien on the subject property in the amount of the total judgment it has received. The municipality can also deny the issuance of otherwise meritorious building permits or revoke previously issued permits pertaining to a property which has unabated shoreline violations.

In short, the new law does not change the zoning standards applicable to shoreland but does strengthen the ability of municipalities to enforce their existing standards. Municipalities forced to litigate violations can now recover the legal expense of prosecuting a successful case. Municipalities can also more easily use property liens and permit revocations to compel payment of financial penalties and/ or remediation of the subject shoreland. These changes will give more clout to municipal enforcement actions and potentially decrease the financial burdens of enforcing shoreland standards.

                                                                                                                                    Brian Cullen

Double rainbow over Taylor Pond June 14, 2024.

Crescent Beach

Luci Merin

As early as the summer sun comes up, I was awake to watch it this morning. My sunrise view to the east looks directly at Crescent Beach. This time of the year the sun rises just to the north of the beach and is in the very left of my frame. By December the sun is thankfully rising much later and is far south of the beach in the right of my view. No matter the time of year, that contour of sandy shoreline is in just about every picture I take facing east, from sunrise to moonrise.

Except for a single visit when my children were small, the view from across the pond is my only, but daily, connection to Crescent Beach. I’ve watched it fill with beach goers on a hot summer day, sit quietly idle in the winter, and cradle flocks of migrating birds fall and spring. Its distinct outline is a reference when pointing out a feature in or above the water to someone. I’m just an observer.

The lucky ones have been part of the Crescent Beach community. Neighborhood children who visited the beach most days, their parents who did the same when they were young, and even their grandparents who remember when Linwood and Deanna Andrews bought the slice of land on Taylor Pond in 1961 and started the journey that would span a lifetime. Stories of days on the beach, juke box music, hot French fries, and cooling swims all include a common theme—Mr. and Mrs. Andrews greeting them at the gate or over the snack counter. They may have started out to create a summer beach business, but the Andrews ended up building a beach family instead.

Having greeted beachgoers through the summer of 2023, Linwood Andrews passed away late last year. I know the Taylor Pond community joins me in extending sincere sympathies and strength to his wife Deanna and family. While the beach is closed and its future uncertain, it is certain that the Andrews family can be proud of the work they did, the memories they created and the legacy they built on the shores of Taylor Pond. From just an observer, thank you.

Beavers at Work

Dana Little

Beavers love Taylor Pond and can often be seen cruising along the shoreline. They can be a delightful sight, but they may also cause trouble. Homeowners are naturally exasperated when they flood a driveway or landscaping by damming up flowing water. Their habit of cutting down trees for food or to construct their homes or dams can be annoying if the tree they chose is one you just planted. A few years back, I purchased and planted a 16-foot Red Oak in my front yard. Within days it was beaver food—a short stick with no bark and the guy lines still attached.

Photo by By D. Gordon E. Robertson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Although beavers can cause localized flooding with their dams, they are not the cause of flooding in Taylor Pond. There are multiple beaver dams in Taylor Brook beyond Hotel Road, and they help to slow down water flow and keep water levels higher during low rainfall periods. During high rainfall periods water easily flows over the top of beaver dams, which helps to prevent flooding. Taylor Pond Association hired an engineer in 2018 to analyze the reasons for flooding. He attributed it to three obstructions: water flow, (namely a narrow Hotel Road culvert which has since been replaced with a spacious bridge), the Kendall dam and the narrow culvert under the Stevens Mill Road extension that accesses the Kendall property. These obstructions to water flow, unlike the beaver dams, do not allow overflow of water and therefore contribute to flooding.

Another benefit of beaver dams is to slow the flow of water into Taylor Pond. There are at least two beaver dams on Lapham Brook between Youngs Corner Road and the entrance to Taylor Pond and one on Hodgkins Brook between Perkins Ridge Road and the pond. These beaver ponds help settle any sediment that the brook might carry and naturally filter out the phosphorus that could enter the pond. By slowing the flow of water, they also reduce erosion of soil into the pond that can carry phosphorus. 

The small ponds that beavers create attract a large diversity of wildlife. Warm-water fish ply the waters, frogs line the shores, mink hunt around them, herons and kingfishers seek them out to feed and otters prefer their quiet waters.

If we removed all beavers from the waterways around Taylor Pond, we would experience more flooding and poorer water quality. In addition, we would see a decline in the biodiversity of our local environment. So, how do we deal with the nuisance they cause? First, be aware that according to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, “It is illegal to destroy or damage a beaver house or a beaver dam.” Your best action is to call the local game warden to find a solution. If indicated, a game warden may kill a beaver or destroy the dam that is causing a problem. I have found that encircling trees with turkey wire to a height of three feet suffices to keep the beaver from chewing down my prize trees. To learn more about beavers and avoid conflict I recommend reading the “Living with Wildlife” section on Beavers at the Inland Fisheries &Wildlife website.


Debbie Hammond

Last summer Taylor Pond became home to a loon nesting platform launched by
resident volunteers in partnership with Maine Audubon Society. The platform,
essentially a floating island designed to protect a loon nest from predators, was moved
to the north end of the pond (by the inlet) this summer in hopes of attracting a nesting
pair of loons. Audubon staff recommended the new location for its calmer water and
hopefully less boat traffic. Experts recommend watching loon behavior on the platform
from a 50 yard distance with binoculars so as not to interfere with nesting.
In 2023, the official loon count included two pairs of adult loons on Taylor Pond. This
year’s loon count is scheduled for July 20. There have been early sitings of a pair of
loons on and around the platform; time will tell if a loon family ensues and there are
chicks to count this year! In the meantime, some of the greatest dangers to nesting
loons are excessive boat wakes which flood nests and disturbance by people who get
too close to the nest. Please give these loons plenty of space this summer!


Peter C. Bingham and Kristi Norcross, Co-Chairs 2025 Boat Launch Initiative

Exploring the waters of Taylor Pond by boat is one of the great joys of waterfront living. As residents, we have benefited from the use of the boat launch on Sunrise Lane for many years. As many are already aware, this launch will be open for the 2024 season, but is scheduled to close at the end of September. Concerned members raised the question of alternatives online in Taylor Pond Ripples and at last year’s annual meeting.

The Taylor Pond Association Board established a committee to explore options for boat access to Taylor Pond, co-chaired by Peter Bingham and Kristi Norcross. The committee has been researching alternatives and is hoping to establish launch access for Taylor Pond residents/property owners.

Toward that end, Taylor Pond residents/property owners were surveyed in May about boat launch use. From 103 respondents, 75 required access to launch a total of 112 watercraft. The need is significant, which confirms that a boat launch is neither a small nor simple undertaking and that Taylor Pond Association is both ill-equipped and ill-advised to take on such a responsibility. We have, however, identified a couple of potential partners and are in the process of exploring operational details, including access, cost, etc. It is our goal to have a more complete update well ahead of the Annual Meeting in August. We will keep members informed through email and Taylor Pond Ripples.


Taylor Pond Association will have its annual meeting at the Taylor Pond Yacht Club the last Sunday in August, the 25th at 7pm. We will have a brief business meeting followed by a talk by Emma Lorusso. You can also check out our annual newsletter here.

Emma Lorusso is Project Manager for watershed projects with the Androscoggin Valley
Soil & Water Conservation District (AWSCD), helping towns and lake associations access federal grant funding to clean up our lakes, ponds, and streams. Emma received a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She fought wildland fires out west and taught English in China before returning to New England, where she enjoys kayaking, gardening, and foraging for wild mushrooms. During her time at AWSCD, she has developed a youth education program for local schools, and hosted dozens of unique programs for the public–getting locals involved in agriculture, foraging, recreation, and more.

Emma worked with Taylor Pond Association to coordinate the 2023 Watershed Survey, and wrote the three reports necessary to apply for federal funding under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. She will present information collected from the reports and detail next steps in the “319” process.