Annual Meeting

The 2022 Annual Meeting was called to order at 7 pm at Taylor Pond Yacht Club with 48 participants.

President’s Report (Dana Little) Dana welcomed participants, noting that it was nice to be meeting in person again for the first time since 2019 and reviewing a few highlights:

• volunteers have increased water quality monitoring to watch potential  issues related to a new Horse Farm in the watershed and tree clearing at TPYC.  Testing thus far does not show sustained adverse results.

•this summer’s significant drought has left some concerned about the low water level; the engineering consultant who did a study for TPA several years ago roughly estimates the cost to build a dam to supplement natural beaver dams at $200-250,000  and $30,000 for design;  no plan to pursue this at this time, with the hope that a better winter snowfall and summer rain will improve level next year.

•There seem to be a lot of Browntail moths this year.  With property on the waterfront, it is important not to spray infected trees.  If needed, a professional can be hired to inject the tree for treatment.  Spraying for mosquitoes is also discouraged near the water.  

•LakeSmart evaluations and grants are available to TPA members interested in planning their landscaping to benefit the pond’s ecology.  Interested property owners or road associations should contact Dana to schedule an evaluation.  Lake friendly improvements made following recommendations will be reimbursed with up to $500 in a matching grant.  Easy, low-cost basic practices that  all property owners can follow are to avoid lawn fertilizers/pesticides, plant clover in your lawn which naturally adds  nitrogen, and grow/cut  lawns to 3 inches.

•Testing for e coli on the pond this summer  confirms that the water is definitely not potable, but did not reveal worrisome  levels in the few areas tested.  That said, results will be  different across the pond, with water in areas of high use by people or pets of greater concern.  Testing in your immediate swimming area is really the best way to be safe.    

Treasurer’s Report (Ed Gray)

Current balance of funds is approximately $40,600.  This year a record high 160 members (out of 227 property owners)  paid annual dues.  Regular costs paid this year included design, printing and mailing of the annual newsletter,  water testing, memberships in organizations (LSM and Maine Lakes), filings, and office expenses.

Water Quality Report-Woody Trask

Water quality continues to maintain historic levels.  Water quality readings are reported online to Lake Stewards of Maine and the report for 2021 can be viewed on our website.  (The 2022 complete report will be available later this year once all results are complete and analyzed.) Lake Stewards of Maine is a nonprofit monitoring and advocacy organization located in Auburn; they offer training and are a  good resource for residents who want to learn more about preserving natural  water resources. This summer water has been particularly clear, with a record high reading of 7.58 meters.  It is possible that the lack of rain contributed to clarity, as well as the large number of natural springs feeding the pond.  The water in Taylor Pond turns over every 1.3 years, mitigating any quality issues.  Lake Auburn’s water only turns over every 4-7 years, so there are more potential issues with quality.  

Secretary’s Report (Luci Merin)

The minutes of the 2021 Annual Meeting were distributed at the meeting and available on the TPA website ahead of the meeting.  Dana Little made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Ed Gray and approved unanimously.  

The slate of nominees for two-year terms (to end Summer 2024) to the the Board of Directors was presented:

•New Members:  Mary Ann Ashton, Michelle Cullen

•Renewing Members: Dana Little, Larry Faiman, Ed Gray, Bill Turner, Kristi Norcross, Donna Morin

A motion to elect the slate of nominees to the Board  was made by Peter Bingham, seconded by Pat Garcia, and approved unanimously.

(Board Members Brian Cullen, Luci Merin, Barbara Mitchell and Woody Trask continue to serve terms that expire Summer 2023.)

Other Business

Peter Garcia, on behalf of Taylor Pond Yacht Club, extended an open invitation to Taylor Pond residents to join weekly summer Sunday sailing regattas hosted by TPYC. For more details check out TPYC website or call Peter.

Guest Speaker: John Blais, Deputy Director of Planning and Permitting, City of Auburn

Mr. Blais comes to his role in Auburn with varied experience, including that of a watershed project director and full-service guide specializing in freshwater fishing.  Regarding the fishing in Taylor Pond, he noted that the invasive Northern Pike have come down from Cobbossee Lake and the Androscoggin River.  In his experience, the Pike have not affected the populations of Small and Large Mouth Bass, which are common in Taylor Pond.  He noted that he recommends abandoning the older rubber worms as bait as they break apart easily, end up in the water and pose a danger to the ecology.  A newer material called ElaZtech is stronger and more environmentally friendly–unlike most other soft plastic baits, ElaZtech contains no PVC, plastisol or phthalates, and is non-toxic. 

Taylor Pond is 653 acres in area, but the Taylor Pond Watershed includes 4,700 acres.  A map of the TP watershed was distributed as part of a discussion about  zoning changes being proposed in Auburn and an approved change to the phosphorus control ordinance requiring  any new building or structure in the watershed to have a phosphorus control plan if the project has more than 200 square feet of ground floor area (previously 575 sf). When applying for a building permit, properties in the watershed will be held to this new standard designed to protect water quality by preventing direct runoff of rainwater into the pond.  Phosphorus, while naturally occurring in the ground, provides energy and food for algae and grasses to grow in bodies of water.  A handout detailed several best practices and options to address runoff.  The City of Auburn will provide free assistance to any project between 200-600 square feet to create a plan using best practices/ low impact development practices such as rain barrels, rain gardens, swales and vegetative buffers as detailed on the handout.  (Projects over 1,000 sq feet will need to hire an engineer to create a phosphorus control plan.)  Regarding vegetative buffers, there is an option to register the buffer with the City so that it becomes a permanent part of the property deed and cannot be removed by future owners.  You do not have to register an existing buffer, but the city will tie it to the deed at the property owner’s request.  

Not as a punitive measure, but as a means to protect Auburn’s water resources, the City has  compiled information on all the homes that have phosphorus control plans and intends to follow up to ensure that best practices continue to be followed in the watershed.  

In answer to questions about private road maintenance on the pond, keeping a crowned road is the best practice to mitigate runoff.  Without getting into individual issues on specific roads, it was noted that there are benefits to both gravel and paved roads ( if they have the right base of 18 inches of gravel).  Regarding the dust connected with gravel roads, it was suggested that 5-10% of the top layer of the road be made up of “fines”–clay or ground up  reclaimed asphalt to keep the dust down.  To the larger question of funding for road improvements around the pond, Maine DEP  funding through the Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Grants (“319”) was mentioned, if  road associations worked together.  Taylor Pond qualifies as a priority watershed and could apply to first develop a watershed-based plan and then to implement it.

In answer to  question about the change in the Lake Auburn Watershed lines made by the City, it was noted that the existing use in the contested area (a gravel pit) has no required mitigating practices in place to address runoff.  New construction, he predicts, will create half the impact of the current use due to required landscaping and state regulations that require a percentage of standing trees remain on new lot developments. 

Addressing browntail moth problems, tree removal could potentially be  approved (even though it is on the shore) with a  plan to replace the tree with a vegetative buffer.  In any case, having lawn all the way down to the water is not good practice. Alternate suggestions include planting hostas or blueberries on the shore and using erosion control mulch (ground up bark mulch).  The Lake Book, recently reprinted in a 4th Edition by Maine Lakes, is  a great resource for this and many other freshwater preservation issues. (A PDF file  can be accessed online at the Maine Lakes website, or order a hard copy from the same website.)

Mr. Blais invited TPA members to call or email him with questions at any time.  He can be reached at [email protected] or 207.333.6601 x1334  On behalf of the membership, Dana thanked Mr. Blais for his excellent presentation and time answering so many questions.  

The Annual Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm