Whether your idea of summer on Taylor Pond includes boating, floating, paddling, fishing, sailing, or simply relaxing in a deck chair on solid ground, you count on its clean water and accessible shoreline to get the most out of every precious summer day.  We all do.  Of all the issues on TPA agendas over the years, none is more consistent and more important than water quality.  It is no accident that our water is clear; it’s thanks to the stewardship of us all.

One of the best ways to maintain water quality is from the shore.  TPA offers help to property owners who want to make their shoreline more lake friendly.  Free property evaluations and matching grants up to $500 are available to members. Participation is completely voluntary. Property owners can opt out at any time (i.e. they are not required to implement any improvement suggestions and the property evaluation is purely educational, not regulatory). 

Evaluations do advise property owners on Maine’s shoreland zoning law and include customized recommendations for property improvements that will keep the pond healthy such as: 

  • Preventing rain runoff  from directly entering the pond
  • Planting a buffer along the shore 
  • Leaving grass at least three inches long when cutting
  • Avoiding pesticides and fertilizers
  • Reducing lawn sizes

Homeowners (or road associations) who do want to apply for a matching grant (up to $500) will follow these steps: 

  • An initial, free LakeSmart property evaluation 
  • Make improvements as recommended in the written evaluation
  • Provide proof of associated costs
  • Not make changes to the property that would worsen its score 
  • Have a follow up evaluation to ensure satisfactory work

To find out more or schedule a LakeSmart evaluation, call Kristi Norcross at 577-6408. 

Increased Phosphorus from Taylor Pond Yacht Club Threatens Taylor Pond

Dana Little

May 22, 2022

This spring Taylor Pond Association  tested the stream that crosses the  Taylor Pond Yacht Club property  and found high levels of phosphorus  draining into the pond. High levels of  phosphorus can cause algae blooms  that threaten our water quality. It is  not certain what caused these high  levels but they did coincide with  spring runoff following a timber  harvest. Woody Trask and I have been  investigating the possible cause. 

In late 2021, TPA was alerted to two  possible causes of increased erosion  and potential phosphorus runoff into  Taylor Pond. Underwood Farm, off  West Auburn Road, cleared trees  around a feeder stream supplying  Lapham Brook, the main inlet for  Taylor Pond. This clearing violated  Best Management Practices for  erosion control. The City of Auburn  became concerned because of the  potential to pollute Lake Auburn. As  a result, The city required Underwood  Farm to develop a phosphorus control  plan. The plan requires a 75-foot  buffer on each side of the stream. In  addition, they need to comply with  a manure management plan that  involves removing all manure and  trucking it off site on a regular basis.  Followup investigation of runoff  suggested that little water from the  farm makes its way to Lake Auburn  and that it primarily drains into Taylor  Pond. 

A second area of concern arose  this winter when Taylor Pond Yacht  Club conducted an extensive timber  harvest on their 44 acres. A small  stream courses through the property  and empties into Taylor Pond. The  harvesting machinery crossed the  stream using a temporary bridge and  erosion of the bank was visible at the  site. In addition, trees were harvested  on both sides of the brook and  

deeply rutted trails were created with  the potential for soil, and therefore  phosphorus, washing into the pond.  

Because of these two issues we began  testing for phosphorus in selected  feeder streams to Taylor Pond. We  had not been testing feeder streams  prior to last year. For the last 36  years we have been testing the water  at the deepest spot on the pond  using techniques taught to us by  the Auburn Water District and Lake  Stewards of Maine. Lake Auburn  has had its feeder streams tested for  years and their technicians provided  us with expertise to test Taylor Pond’s  streams. We sent the water samples  to the state lab in Augusta and A&L  Lab in Auburn for testing. 

Initially, we just checked Lapham  Brook and obtained a level of 8 (parts  per billion) in December and this  rose to 12 in March. By comparison,  the average phosphorus last year  in Taylor Pond was 12 (the 36-year  average was 10.25). Levels in this  range will not typically cause harmful  algal blooms. This provided some  small reassurance that Underwood  Farm was not causing problems for  Taylor Pond. 

We then tested the brook crossing  Taylor Pond Yacht Club property in  January, prior to spring runoff, and  we obtained a level of 4. However, in  March, after the completion of timber  harvesting, this rose to 37. This high  level was obtained after a rain event  and the snow had mostly melted. If  all streams leading into Taylor Pond  had levels this high, we could face a  significant algal bloom. Algae can not  only be unsightly and decrease home  values, but they can also produce  toxins that can be harmful to pets,  people and wildlife. 

On April 19th we repeated the  testing on the Taylor Pond Yacht  Club stream and Hodgkin’s Brook  just after another heavy rain event.  We tested Hodgkin’s Brook because  it is another small feeder stream  running into Taylor Pond. The results  for the Yacht Club stream came back  at 8 and Hodgkin’s Brook at 7 for  phosphorus. This reassured us that  high levels of phosphorus are still not  entering the pond. Actions have been  taken by Wylie Mitchell to reduce the  likelihood of further erosion into the  Yacht Club stream, using hay bales as  barriers, spreading hay and seeds on  exposed soil. Taylor Pond Association  will continue to monitor feeder  streams regularly and as needed if  concerns are raised.  

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.  


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. 


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. 


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.  


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 danawl585@ or Kristi Norcross Knorcross@ or 207-577-6408. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.