Woods Pond is said to be named after Bridgton’s first surveyor, Solomon Wood, who came to the area in the fall of 1776. Today the town beach and boat launch provide easy access for swimming, fishing, boating and sailing. In 2003, Woods Pond became the first waterbody in the area to have a milfoil wash station, which was designed, installed and paid for by the Woods Pond Association, LEA and the Town of Bridgton.
Woods Pond’s relatively shallow depth and warm waters make it ideal for warmwater fish. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white perch and chain pickerel all do well in the pond. It is also regularly stocked with brown trout from state hatcheries. Although brown trout is more tolerant of warmer waters than most of its relatives, populations are maintained only through stocking. Landlocked salmon is poorly suited for the pond, but small stockings are occasionally done by the state. Woods is also home to rainbow smelt, yellow perch, white sucker, hornpout, pumpkinseed sunfish, American eel, and fallfish and common shiner.
The average Secchi disk (clarity) reading for 2019 was 4.40 meters, fell into the moderately clear range, and was shallower than the long-term average of 4.84 meters. The average total phosphorus reading of 9.71 ppb fell into the moderate range and was higher than the long-term average of 8.13 ppb. Deep water phosphorus values stayed within the low range. The chlorophyll-a average of 3.00 ppb fell into the moderate range and was slightly less than the long-term average of 3.07 ppb. Long-term trend analysis indicates chlorophyll–a concentrations in Woods Pond are stable, total phosphorus concentrations are increasing, and clarity readings are increasing. The average color reading for 2019 was 49 SPU, indicating that water in Woods Pond is highly colored. Suitable fish habitat was present through June, became marginal in July, and became unsuitable in August and September.
Woods Pond surface water chlorophyll, phosphorus, and Secchi depth data summary. Colored boxes represent the long-term range of values, from minimum to maximum, obtained on Woods Pond. 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.
A recent survey of the Woods Pond watershed revealed 79 active erosion problems affecting water quality in the pond. Looking at a map showing all the sites, it is easy to pick up on a common thread. The vast majority of these problem areas are found along roads. In fact, over 70% of the sites identified were associated with public or private roads.
Hopefully, some of these roads will receive renewed attention as a result of the survey findings. Although lakefront property owners have the most to lose if water quality deteriorates and the most to gain from better quality roads, fixing these problems usually requires everyone working together and contributing towards the solution, which is no small task.
After completeing the survey, the Woods Pond Watershed Based Plan was also developed to help guide further conservation work on the pond.
From 2014 to 2016 LEA worked with many local and regional partners to implement erosion control work throughout the Woods Pond Watershed. Projects were completed with funding from the US EPA Clean Water Act and match from landowners and private partners which accounted for more than 60% of the total cost. Through this grant, large scale conservation practices were installed at 17 sites around the pond and at a dozen smaller, residential sites. Several educational workshops were also held throughout the project. For more information about this work, check out the Woods Pond Final Project Brochure.
As a result of the survey and the contiuing active involvement of the Woods Pond community, LEA was awarded a grant through the United States Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act to address many of the worst sites documented during the survey. This large, two year grant (2014 and 2015) will focus on providing matching funds to individual landowners, businesses and the town of Bridgton to put conservation practices on the ground. Technical assistance, educational programs and workshops will also be made available at no cost to watershed residents. Please contact Colin Holme at LEA if you are interested in finding out more about this project.
2 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.
83 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.
2 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 12 percent of the watershed is taken up by the pond.