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Highland Lake

Originally called Crotched Pond, Highland Lake stretches from downtown Bridgton up to the edge of Sweden. It has over 16 miles of shore frontage, two coves and numerous islands, which provide a variety of scenery and habitat to explore. Swimming, angling, water-skiing, sailing, rowing, wildlife watching and general relaxing are all common on the lake in the summer. In the winter, cross-country skiers, ice- fishermen and snowmobilers all enjoy the lake. It is also the center for many activities during Bridgton’s Winter Carnival.

Fishing

Highland Lake is best suited to warmwater fish as the small amount of cool water present in the summer months is low in dissolved oxygen. Brown trout, however, are more tolerant of warm water than other salmonids and is heavily stocked in the lake. Other species found in the lake include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, hornpout, Eel, white sucker, minnows

  • Lake Surface

    1,334 acres
  • Watershed

    5,178 acres
  • Max. Depth

    50 feet
  • Elevation

    426 feet

Water Quality: 2019

The average Secchi disk reading for 2019 was 6.73 meters, fell into the moderately clear range, and was slightly shallower than the long-term average of 6.74 meters. The average total phosphorus reading of 7.00 ppb fell into the moderate range and was higher than the long-term average of 6.57 ppb. Deep water phosphorus values reached into the moderate range. The chlorophyll-a average of 2.43 ppb fell into the moderate range and was less than the long-term average of 2.83 ppb. Long-term trend analysis indicates chlorophyll–a concentrations in Highland Lake are decreasing, total phosphorus concentrations are stable, and clarity readings are increasing. The average color reading for 2019 was 15.45 SPU, indicating that water in Highland Lake is moderately colored. Suitable fish habitat was present through June before transitioning to marginal and then unsuitable habitat in July through September.

2019 Water-testing summary

Highland Lake’s 2019 Quick Stats

Highland Lake surface water chlorophyll, phosphorus, and Secchi depth data   summary. Colored boxes represent the long-term range of values, from minimum to maximum, obtained on Highland Lake. The line represents the long-term average value and the large dot represents 2019’s average value. The small red dots represent individual readings taken in 2019.

2019 average vs. long-term average

  • Clarity: The average Secchi disk reading for 2019 was 6.73 meters, fell into the moderately clear range, and was slightly shallower than the long-term average of 6.74 meters.
  • Chlorophyll: The chlorophyll-a average of 2.43 ppb fell into the moderate range and was less than the long-term average of 2.83 ppb.
  • Phosphorous: The average total phosphorus reading of 7.00 ppb fell into the moderate range and was higher than the long-term average of 6.57 ppb.

    Highland Lake Watershed Project

    The pri­mary pur­pose of this project was to sig­nif­i­cantly reduce ero­sion and export of sed­i­ment and phos­pho­rus into High­land Lake. This multi-year grant, which ended in 2008, installed con­ser­va­tion prac­tices that reduced ero­sion and pol­luted runoff at close to 40 sites through­out the water­shed. Roads, res­i­den­tial areas and pub­lic lands have all been addressed. Fixes included new veg­e­ta­tive buffer gar­dens, infil­tra­tion trenches, and road work designed to improve drainage and reduce wash-outs. Landown­ers who par­tic­i­pated in the project received fund­ing for up to 50 per­cent of the cost of the work done. The project also hosted a series of work­shops to raise aware­ness about water­shed prob­lems and work to fos­ter long-term water­shed stewardship.

    Highland Lake TMDL

    A TMDL is a detailed watershed report with land use information and phosphorus loading estimates for a specific lake. The acronym TMDL stands for “Total Maximum Daily Load” and for Maine lakes it is used as a tool to assess and reduce phosphorus loading from within the entire watershed. Working with the Maine Association of Conservation Districts and Maine Department of Environmental Protection, LEA  helped compile, organize and write a TMDL for Highland Lake. The non-regulatory reports are intended to serve as a platform for future implementation work and watershed planning. It can also be used to compliment comprehensive planning updates. In addition to the land use inventory and phosphorus loading estimates, the report contains water quality, fishery and soils information, a shoreline survey and recommendations for future best management practices in the watershed. The completed Highland Lake TMDL is available now and can be viewed online through the Maine DEP website at Highland Lake TMDL.

    Watershed Soils

    10 percent of soils in the watershed are type A soils. Type A soils tend to be well drained sands, loams, and gravels.  When vegetation is removed and the soil is exposed they can be susceptible to erosion. Because they are often coarse with ample pore space, there is low runoff potential and water will not usually pool on them.  These soils can be good places to site leach fields or infiltrate stormwater from a home or residence.

    8 percent of soils in the watershed are type B soils. B soils have moderate infiltration rates and fine to moderate texture and soil size. They are usually made up silts and loams. Although not as well drained as A soils, they can also be good places to site leach fields and infiltrate stormwater.

    59 percent of soils in the watershed are type C soils. C soils have low infiltration rates and typically have a layer that impedes the movement of water. These soils are made of sands, clays, and loams and are one of the most common soil types in western Maine.

    1 percent of soils in the watershed are type D soils. D soils have a high runoff potential and very low infiltration rates.  Soils with a high water table, clay or other impervious layer near the surface are typically D soils.  These soils are often associated with wetlands.

    1 percent of soils in the watershed are type C/D soils. C/D soils are a mix of these two soil types.  They have fairly high runoff potential and low infiltration rates and often pool water.

    The remaining 20 percent of the watershed is taken up by the lake.

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