The purpose of the Survey was to apply for a DEP 319 Friends of Messalonskee (FOM) Watershed Protection Project Grant, with 7 Lakes Alliance as the grantee as the FOM organizational structure is too small for the financial tracking requirements. In 2023, FOM received an $111,884 grant that runs for 2 years (through 2024). FOM will now apply for a second round of 319 grant funds through 7 Lakes Alliance.

There are 3 basic programs through the Messalonskee Watershed Protection Project that use BMPs to control the erosion from roads, lawns, driveways, and poor walkways:

1) The Friends of Messalonskee (FOM) LakeSmart program offers free landscape planning assistance to help landowners identify and remedy erosion issues at lakefront homes and camps.

2) The 7 Lakes Alliance Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program helps property owners with residential “hard landscaping” and buffer planting.

3) The Road/Driveway Repair Project that provides property owners with cost share funds for approved projects.

In 2023, across all three projects, 35 different sites around the lake received some type of improvement or service that will slow down the runoff into the lake.

LakeSmart Program

LakeSmart is a statewide education and reward program that helps lakefront homeowners manage landscapes in ways that protect water quality. The program is free, non-regulatory, and voluntary. Participating homeowners receive individualized suggestions for keeping pollutants out of lake waters.

Landscape Management and Planning can include:

  • Plant selection for buffers

  • Rain gardens

  • Erosion control mulch

  • Bare soil plantings

  • Native vegetation

  • Lawn improvement

  • Trail and path stabilization

 You can schedule a free visit to your residence with Friends of Messalonskee (FOM)’s LakeSmart program.

For more information about the program, click on the LakeSmart Award. If you are interested in helping prevent pollutants from entering our lake please click here for the request form and send to Janna Townsend or Bill Tiernan at friendsofmessalonskee@gmail.com.

Hardscaping done at a home on the lake

7 Lakes Alliance YCC program

7 Lakes Alliance is FOM’s partner in the Watershed project. 7 Lakes operates the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) that employs high school and college students to install erosion control projects on private property to prevent dirt and stormwater runoff from getting into our lake. YCC is a low-cost option for landowners who want to protect the lake but need assistance fixing erosion problems.

Conservation practices and planning assistance include:

  • Infiltration trenches and drywells to collect stormwater from roofs

  • Infiltration steps- filled with crushed stone for steep walkways down to the lake

  • Vegetated buffers on the shoreline to stabilize banks and prevent erosion

  • Improvements to ditches and culverts

  • Tools for diverting runoff off of roads and driveways (e.g., rubber razors)

  • Erosion Control Mulch (ECM) for bare soil, paths, and eroding slopes

  • Recommendations for gravel and surface materials to repair driveways and roads

Reservations must be made and are first-come, first served as openings occur, and according to the severity of the erosion problem.
Contact FOM at friendsofmessalonskee@gmail.com . You will be contacted by the YCC to schedule a site visit.

Road and Driveway Repair Projects:

A primary threat to water clarity in Messalonskee Lake is polluted runoff or nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. Stormwater runoff from rain and snowmelt picks up soil, nutrients, and other pollutants as it flows across the land and washes into the lake.

In an undeveloped, forested watershed, stormwater runoff is slowed and filtered by tree and shrub roots, grasses, leaves, and other natural debris on the forest floor. It then soaks into the uneven forest floor and filters through the soil.

In a developed watershed, however, stormwater does not always receive the filtering treatment the forest once provided. Rainwater picks up speed as it flows across impervious surfaces like rooftops, compacted soil, gravel roads and pavement, and it becomes a destructive erosive force.

Runoff from current development and roads, as well as future development and conversion of small camps to larger year-round homes should be managed properly to prevent delivery of pollutants into Messalonskee Lake. Roads and their counterparts- poorly maintained gravel roads, and driveways, road shoulders, winter sanding, ditches, and culverts- all influence lake water quality.

Messalonskee Lake is on Maine DEPs Nonpoint Source Threatened Lakes Priority List due to its sediment chemistry having the potential to release phosphorus into the water column. Through the Messalonskee Watershed Protection Project, individual property owners, road associations, towns and other organizations can access matching funds over the next two years for Construction- based erosion control projects such as driveways, roads, culverts, etc.

For further information email friendsofmessalonskee@gmail.com . 

Do It Yourself Conservation Practices:

Ensure you know whether or not your “do-it-yourself” project needs a permit. Contact your local Town Code Officer – before starting a project within the shoreland zone (within 250 ft. of the lake).


Belgrade Code Officer: 
Hans Rasmussen


Oakland Code Officer: 
Nathan Smart 
207-465-2842 (office)
207-649-4760 (cell)


Sidney Code Officer:
Keegan Ballard 


Best Management Practices Fact Sheets explain how to install your own conservation practices. Fact sheets on 20 common practices can be found here.