Island Pond hugs the border of two towns – Waterford and Harrison – in Oxford and Cumberland Counties, respectively. Island Pond is an important asset to the quality of life and economies of Waterford and Harrison. The shoreline is fringed with 16 seasonal and year-round residents. Fernwood Cove Summer Camp for Girls annually attracts 355 campers to the lake and has 100 staff members. Island Pond drains to the Crooked River, which flows to Sebago Lake and provides drinking water for more than 200,000 people in southern Maine.
Island Pond provides good habitat for warmwater fish species, but it also has considerable area suitable as trout habitat. Although there are abundant populations of bass, pickerel, and other warmwater competitors, management for trout is still possible. A cool well-oxygenated layer of water provides refuge for the trout during the summer and an abundant smelt population provides them a good forage base. Annual stocking with trout is necessary to maintain the fishery, because natural reproduction is very limited.
The average Secchi disk reading for 2021 was 5.5 meters, which falls into the moderately clear range. The average total phosphorus reading of 8.1 ppb falls into the moderate range. The average deep water phosphorus value was not significantly above surface water phosphorus values, which suggests phosphorus recycling is not problematic. The chlorophyll average of 4.1 ppb falls into the moderate range. Long-term trend analysis indicates chlorophyll concentrations in Island Pond are stable, total phosphorus concentrations are stable, and clarity readings are stable. The average color reading for 2021 was 27.9 SPU, indicating that water in Island Pond is highly colored. Suitable coldwater fish habitat was present through June. However, as water temperatures increased and deep water oxygen was consumed, conditions became moderate in July and unacceptable in August through September. Low oxygen conditions were present in deep water from June through September.
Island Pond’s 2021 Quick Stats
Island Pond’s surface water chlorophyll (ppb), phosphorus (ppb), and Secchi depth (meters) data comparison. Colored areas represent the long-term range of values, from minimum to maximum. Area thickness indicates frequency of measurements at that value. Area thickness increases as more measurements are reported at that value. The vertical black line represents the long-term average value. The large red dot represents 2021’s average value. The small red dots represent individual readings taken in 2021.
In the spring of 2007, LEA worked with the Island Pond Association and Fiddlehead Consulting to conduct a survey of erosion sites within the pond’s 1243 acre watershed. As part of the project, volunteers and technical staff identified 47 erosion sites that are having a negative impact on the pond. Most of the sites documented were on town roads and residential properties. The report includes a brief description, location information and recommendations on how to correct each problem. In addition to documenting erosion, the project served as an educational tool for citizens to learn about water quality and how our activities affect ponds and lakes. To view a copy of the recent survey click on: Island Pond Watershed Survey.
5 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.
3 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.
67 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.
16 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.
A trace percentage 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.
The remaining 9 percent of the watershed is taken up by the pond.