Maine DEP Releases Updated Volunteer Lake Watershed Survey Guide

November 28, 2011

Kristin Feindel, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Watershed Assessment and Planning, or (207) 215-3461

-Now is the time to start thinking about a springtime watershed survey and the new manual from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is here to help guide your group-

While winter is barely upon us, it’s already time to begin planning those all important springtime watershed surveys. We at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection know how valuable these volunteer watershed surveys are in protecting water quality, and as a result, have been hard at work leading the first update in more than a decade of the Citizen’s Guide to Volunteer Lake Watershed Surveys.

Volunteer lake watershed surveys are one of the first steps to protecting lake water quality. In watershed surveys, trained volunteers identify sources of water pollution and help their communities find ways to eliminate them. During the past 20 years, over 100 lake watershed surveys have been conducted in Maine. Through these surveys, thousands of pollution problems have been identified and many of them have been eliminated or reduced.

In addition to initiating important improvements in water quality, lake watershed surveys have resulted in many lessons learned and innovative ways of working locally to share information and help get problem sites fixed. The survey steps are explained with ease in the Citizen’s Guide to Volunteer Lake Watershed Surveys, originally published by the Maine Congress of Lake Associations (COLA) in 1992.

That invaluable guide has undergone an extensive revision recently, led by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The updated version, the first since 1997, includes these lessons learned, innovative approaches and the latest survey method step-by-step. It is now available for free download or linking at

The manual includes background information on the connection between lake water quality, runoff, and phosphorus; how to plan for and conduct a survey; and what to do after the survey is complete. Sample outreach materials from watershed surveys conducted across the state are also included.

For questions about the manual or watershed surveys in general, contact Kristin Feindel, Maine DEP Watershed Assessment and Planning, at or (207) 215-3461.