Annual Meeting 2017

Taylor Pond Association Annual Meeting

August 6, 2017

Approximately 40 people attended the meeting held at the Taylor Pond Yacht Club.

President Dana opened the meeting by introducing the board members in attendance.

Minutes The minutes from last summer’s annual meeting were accepted.

LakeSmart Program and TPA Grants Dana reported that he and Kristi had met with Maggie Shannon and became certified as LakeSmart  evaluators.  Dana has done 7 evaluations so far. The purpose of the evaluations is to help keep the lake healthy by educating property owners as to best management practices. The most important way to do that is to slow down the water that runs into the pond, which carries phosphorous and promotes algae growth. Commendations for a “LakeSmart” property are awarded with a sign. Dana awarded the sign to Susan and Woody Trask for their recent evaluation. Dana noted that the “evaluators” do not report any potential issues to any local or state authorities. The program is designed for education only and is entirely private.

Homeowners can request an evaluation anytime, but especially if they plan to do some upgrading to the outside of their properties. Dana (or Kristi) can make suggestions for best-practice improvements that can then qualify for a TPA grant of up to $500. See the recent newsletter for more information, or call Kristi at 577-6408 or Dana at 784-1908.

Water Quality Woody Trask reported that the water quality was great year last year. So far this year it is at high end of the normal range. Phosphorous levels are also good so far. July has been a dry month, so there hasn’t been much run-off.  Woody does a full battery of tests every month and then completes clarity readings in between times. Dana noted that our lake is considered at risk because of its shallow depth and dense population. There is no oxygen at the bottom during the summer, which is why Taylor Pond cannot support cold water fish such as trout or salmon. This year Michael Heskanen, a new property owner on the pond, has become certified to assist with the clarity readings.

Newsletter Dana thanked Susan and Joan Macri for their work in putting the newsletter together.

Nominations for Board Board members serve 2-year terms, and we have staggered terms in order to provide continuity. Up for re-election were Susan Trask, Marc Tardif and Barbara Mitchell. Woody Trask had volunteered to stand, and Bill Turner also volunteered at the meeting. The entire slate was elected unanimously.

Fire Safety Meeting  Susan reminded the attendees that the Auburn Fire Department, Maine Forest Service, and Auburn officials will host a community discussion on August 22 at 6:00 at City Hall.  Joan Macri reported that the new City Manager has put $40,000 of his budget to study fire safety at the NE side of the pond. Since there is an urban- wildlife interface around the pond, the Maine Forest Service has an interest. The City no longer has a tanker truck, so any homes without nearby hydrants are at risk during a fire event. Joan suggested that as many as possible attend this meeting and show your support.

In other business, the Doyons said that they have recently “rescued” several items floating in the pond and wondered what to do with them. If you notify Susan Trask at [email protected] of any items you’ve recovered, she can put the word out to the Membership. Susan also noted that a small kayak was recovered floating upside down that afternoon (August 6). It’s currently on the Trask’s dock. If anyone knows of someone missing one, contact her.

Presentation by Joe McClean, Wright-Pierce Engineering

Joe gave a slide presentation that detailed the studies that he has led under contract with the TPA. The task was to determine how best to deal with extended flooding such as we experienced six years ago. The study focused on Taylor Brook between the outlet of the pond and the Kendall property. The brook meanders around until it gets to the culverts under Hotel Rd, forms a more definite channel as it travels behind the Granit Mill Estates and then goes under a bridge (driveway, really) and over a dam at the Kendall property on Stevens Mills Rd.

He began the study by collecting all the information from previous studies, including FEMA. He then proceeded to:

  • Evaluate infrastructure
  • Assess stream form and function
  • Conduct a hydrologic analysis
  • Make recommendations

The stream is an undefined channel from the outlet to the culverts. The two different types of vegetation above and below the culverts are evidence of man-made interventions over time. A 1935 city map shows a “fish screen” followed by a one foot drop at the present culvert site. This fish screen functioned effectively as a dam.  There are water and sewer lines that go over and around the culverts. Another prominent feature is the beaver dams that are currently located behind Granite Mills Estates. The study found that those dams are keeping the present water level in the pond where it is. Without them, the water level would be a foot lower. Joe remarked that the beaver are “doing their job” to maintain current levels.

In dealing with a flood event, the major issue is getting the water out as soon as possible. The updated flood model from FEMA puts the 100-year flood level at 245.5’ (about 2 feet below where they had it recently). However, according to Joe, the FEMA analysis ignores the Taylor Pond Storage volume (i.e. the amount of water the pond can handle because of its volume). He believes there would not be enough water during a 100 year storm to raise the pond 8 feet.

The study concluded that we could make a significant improvement in the amount of time flood waters clear by:

  1. Creating a 30’ span at the Hotel Rd. site and
  2. Improving the bridge at the Kendall driveway or
  3. Improving the dam at the Kendall property

The Wright-Pierce study recommended that we should:

  1. Improve Hotel Rd. to larger span
  2. Coordinate with the Kendalls to improve the driveway bridge or dam
  3. Coordinate with Auburn and FEMA to revise Flood Mapping (this affects flood insurance)

The City of Auburn was making plans to replace the culverts at Hotel Rd. when they upgraded the road next year, and had received grant monies from the State to do that. They had planned to install a 20’ arch, which the Wright-Pierce study deemed inadequate. However, the City was only recently notified by the State DOT that they plan to replace the culverts in 2019. As a result, the project will move to another level of funding and public input.

Dana noted that this may become a political issue. We may need to organize and go to a DOT meeting in order to have input into the improvements made.

There were many questions about FEMA, flood insurance, and beavers, which Joe fielded.

Dana thanked Joe for the excellent presentation. Joe said that he would be willing to continue working with us and the City as the plans go forward.

The meeting was adjourned, and neighbors enjoyed light refreshments and conversation.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Trask, Secretary

TPA Grant Program Still Alive and Well!

By Susan Trask

Most of our readers know that the Taylor Pond Association has been consulting with property owners and awarding grant monies toward lake-friendly improvements. Last year we took a break as we re-evaluated our procedures and streamlined the process. We’re glad to report that the grant program is up and running once again, and it’s simpler than ever.

Board president Dana Little and member Kristi Norcross have been trained as LakeSmart evaluators, which means that we will no long need to use outside consultants to advise property owners as to the best practices to employ when improving their property. Keeping our program entirely in-house will both expedite the process and save the Association some money.

Because one of TPA’s main goals is to educate residents about ways that they can help ensure the health and beauty of our lake, we offer grants to those who wish to make improvements to their watershed properties. Here’s how the program works:

  1. You must be a TPA member. Road associations who apply must have at least 50% of the residents be members.
  2. Call Kristi Norcross (577-6408) or email her ([email protected] ) with your interest in making improvements to your lakeside property.
  3. Kristi will set up an appointment at a mutually convenient time for Dana or her to visit your property to discuss the improvements you wish to make. After your discussion they will write up a report of the suggested improvements.
  4. Complete any or all of the work recommended, saving all invoices. You may also count personal work, so keep track of any man-hours you expend. You do not need to complete all the items recommended. The items you do complete should comply with the best practices outlined in the report.
  5. Alert Kristi that the project has been completed. Either she or Dana will come by to view the work that’s been done and write up a summary.
  6. Submit your invoices and other records to Kristi.
  7. The Board will determine if the work done complies with the best-practice standards outlined. If it does, a matching grant of up to $500 will be awarded. (In other words, $1000 or more would need to be expended in order to receive the full $500.)
  8. Note: If the follow-up evaluation reveals that steps have been taken that are not in the best interests of the lake, the Board reserves the right to deny the grant request. To avoid having this happen, be sure to consult with Dana or Kristi before making any changes that are not in the original recommendations.

Important note: Even if you do not plan to apply for the matching grant, TPA will provide the initial consultation and recommendations for you at no cost to you. How can you go wrong?? There are no strings attached and no requirements at the outset other than a desire to learn about good lakeside stewardship.


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.

Why is it called Taylor Pond?

By Joan Macri

While no one can say for sure, according to an article in the Lewiston Evening Journal in the 1940’s by Stanley B. Attwood, a woman named Mrs. Ruby A. Briggs maintained that a Thomas Taylor and his brother Joshua had a land grant dating back to the 1700’s (400 acres) between the Androscoggin River and Wilson’s Great Pond (now Lake Auburn) that may have surrounded the entirety of Taylor Pond. In “Now and Then at Taylor Pond” by Helen Andrews (1985), several other theories are offered in addition to the Taylor brothers concerning various Tylors and Tylers dating back to early land grants as far back as 1735. The surveyor Phillip Bullen’s map of the area, drawn in 1798, does contain the name Wilson’s Great Pond but no label on our favorite lake.

Taylor Pond Water Levels Engineering Study

By Susan Trask

On the first weekend in June of 2012, Auburn received nine inches of rain in just three days. This event resulted in major flooding issues at the south end of Taylor Pond. Some residents were surrounded by water for up to two weeks, with basements flooded and sewage backing up through shower drains. In the fall of that year, the Taylor Pond Association convened a special committee to study the issues concerned with water levels. Over the next several years, the committee met with Auburn city officials, land use consultants, surveyors and environmental engineers in order to more fully understand how both natural and man-made features affect Taylor Pond’s water levels.

It has become clear that any possible remediation efforts need to be done carefully and in consultation and coordination with City and State entities. The City of Auburn funded a study of the Hotel Rd. culverts and then applied for a grant from the DEP to rebuild them. The application was denied in part because it did not include a study of the bridge and dam on the Kendall property downstream. The City asked the TPA to fund a further study, which after careful consideration, we agreed to do. The Board of Directors voted unanimously to authorize up to $10,000 in order to fund that study. Environmental engineering firm Wright-Pierce is currently collecting all available information and will construct a hydraulic model in order to analyze the effects of all the identified factors downstream of the Pond. Project Manager Joe McClean has been directing this study and has been in frequent communication with the Board. Special thanks go to board member Marc Tardif for all his diligent behind-the-scenes work on this project!

Joe McClean will be the featured speaker at the TPA Annual Meeting on August 6. Please make every effort to come and to be informed about the study’s findings to date and learn about next steps. We did receive the good news that the City’s second application to the DEP for the Hotel Rd. project was approved for $95,000. The results of the study that we are funding will certainly inform the new construction, and we look forward to continuing to work with the City, DEP and FEMA on this important project.

Looking Back: When Simpson’s Beach was Rice’s Beach

By Joan Macri

For the first half of the twentieth century, on a hot summer’s day, Rice’s Beach, now known as Simpson’s Beach, was the place to go. Located on the east shore of Taylor Pond  just off of Hotel Road, Rice’s Beach was a public beach that offered lovely white sand, benches, swing sets, teeter-totters, bath houses, and McGlinchey’s Store, where one could buy anything from franks to potato chips and soft drinks—just what one needed for a day at the beach. Over time, the bathhouses were replaced by four small rental cottages that were in high demand in the summer months.

Young swains would take their lady friends paddling in the canoes available for rent, occupy the benches overlooking the beach to enjoy a fine sunset, and finish off a perfect Saturday by enjoying a dance or two at Roy Wallingford’s dance pavilion, “The Showboat.”

Various camps encircled the beach. Some of the same families still own these properties today and have vivid memories of what Rice’s Beach once was and what is became over time.

David Rand’s family bought their place on Willard Road in 1932. He was three at the time and has spent his entire life observing all the changes. A civil engineer for the Maine DOT who surveyed the original path for the Maine Turnpike from Augusta to Sidney, he still thinks like the surveyor he once was and produced the wonderful maps seen below.  Drawn from memory, they vividly capture the amusements offered by Rice’s Beach and eventually Simpson’s Beach until the entire property was purchased by the Toussaint family in the 1990’s.

Mr. Rand recalls being struck by the way the four small cottages that replaced the original bathhouses were constructed. Built by Thomas Simpson when he took over ownership of the beach in the 1960’s, they were constructed largely of scrap lumber he had left over from his contracting jobs in town. According to Mr. Rand, Tom Simpson was “a clever carpenter who could get a cheap job that looked good.”  While they may have been “cute” in Mr. Rand’s then-young eyes, they were not built to last. Each cottage’s foundation was a 4’ by 8’ wooden board placed directly on the ground!

A boathouse close to the beach rented canoes by the hour.  A big swim raft and an enormous wooden diving platform dominated the water well into the 1950’s. By that time, the area was called Simpson’s Beach. Ken Lord, whose family bought their camp in 1943 on what is now Waterview Drive, remembers the attractions of the beach well. The beach area was public. There was a large building enclosed by screens with an arcade, a snack bar, popcorn machine, and an open area. According to Lord, it was akin to anything to be found in Old Orchard Beach, the exemplar of all things summer in those days. Behind this building was an old black train engine and sometimes even pony rides.

According to Lord, “the big attraction for us was the diving platform.” It contained three diving boards, the highest at 20 feet above the water. Lord was under strict instructions from his parents that he and his twin brother Keith were NOT to venture onto the highest board—so of course he did. He called himself a dare-devil back in those days and one day decided to not only go off the high board but to do a back flip! And he injured his neck. When he returned home, his mother immediately noticed there was something wrong and asked what he had done to his neck. He said “I don’t know” and his parents panicked. This was the early 1950’s and people were terrified of polio. They called Dr. Gross who immediately came to the house. Yes, doctors still made “house calls” in those days. The doctor examined Lord carefully and then assured the parents that, although he was not sure what was wrong with the neck, it was not polio. And, of course, Lord did not “fess-up.” After the Lords said goodbye to the doctor, they called Dr. Andrews, a chiropractor who lived nearby, who came over and manipulated Lord’s neck—and fixed the problem. When Dr. Gross returned the next day to check on his patient, he was amazed at the improvement in Lord’s neck. No one mentioned anything about the second house call the previous day. In the end, neither the doctor nor the parents were any the wiser.

Today Simpson’s Beach belongs to the Toussaint family and is private, but traces of its earlier history can still be seen. The stone seawall with a high curved arch is still there and a large wooden diving platform graces the cove, providing a great deal of fun for both the extended Toussaint Family as well a one particular cormorant who likes to survey the upper end of the pond from his perch high on the platform.

Thanks to David Rand and Kenneth Lord for their memories.

Resources include information from “Now and Then at Taylor Pond” (1985) by Helen Andrews and the Androscoggin Historical Society


By Dana Little

Hiding in the shallows around Taylor Pond you will find a small relative of the lobster called the crayfish. Typically a few inches long they hide out amongst rocks and logs. Scientists call the group of animals containing crayfish decapods (Greek term for ten-footed) due to having one pair of legs for each of the five segments of the thorax. Crayfish have a total of 20 segments to their body and each segment has an appendage. Each pair of appendages may serve a different purpose, some as mouthparts, one pair in front as legs with large pinching claws, nine smaller legs each with small pinching claws and the last few form part of the tail. Crayfish belong to the group of animals called crustaceans which includes crabs, lobsters and shrimp. In turn, crustaceans belong to the group of animals called arthropods (Greek for jointed feet) which includes insects and spiders. All arthropods have skeletons on the outside of the body (exoskeleton), a three segmented body (head, thorax and abdomen) and jointed appendages.  

Dr. Karen Wilson works at the University of Southern Maine teaching limnology (the study of freshwaters) and ecology. She contacted volunteers in 2016 to trap as many crayfish as possible from lakes in Maine. She has studied the effect of alien species of crayfish in lakes and the loss of plants and animals that results.  Alien crayfish have been introduced into Maine lakes when fishermen release unused bait crayfish either intentionally or unintentionally. Through her research she hopes to find the extent of invasion and the species found typically in Maine lakes. As part of her research I placed a trap for crayfish in the Taylor Pond last summer but caught no specimens. Fortunately I had a young partner, Merlin Smith, who provided me with many samples that I sent in to be identified. His technique of wading in the shallows and hand-catching produced many fine specimens! The results of Dr. Wilson’s studies have not yet been published.

Crayfish will eat almost anything organic, feeding upon both living and dead parts of animals and plants, in effect recycling otherwise wasted energy. They convert organic matter that is inedible to most animals into a delicious package. In Louisiana I have been served up trays containing dozens of “crawdads”, (their term for crayfish). One only eats the tails and I can attest to their being delicious. People locally seldom eat them, and, given the difficulty in catching them and their ability to concentrate pollutants in the water, this is probably wise. However I have watched herons and diving ducks feed on them with enthusiasm. Many animals prey on them including muskrat, mink, raccoon, pike, pickerel and bass. Over 400 different species can be identified in the US, but only seven species are native to Maine.  Although they have sharp claws to protect themselves and grab prey, they will not pinch you unless handled. The largest arthropod native to our pond, the amazing crayfish is best left alone to freely roam the water.