Naples, ME – August 25th, 2023
In a continued effort to protect and restore Sebago-region waterways, Lakes Environmental Association (LEA), in conjunction with partner organizations, successfully completed a culvert replacement project on Burgess Brook in Jugtown Forest this month. This endeavor marks a significant milestone in the restoration of critical fish passages in the greater Sebago Lake watershed.
Last year, LEA and partners initiated the removal of an old stone dam that obstructed the natural flow of Burgess Brook, a vital tributary of the Crooked River. This year, the collaborative efforts focused on the replacement of an undersized and damaged culvert downstream, further enhancing fish passage and protecting against washouts. With severe weather events occurring more often, installing appropriately sized culverts will better protect against flooding and sediment entering waterways.
The team, guided by a stream restoration specialist and representatives from LEA, Sebago Clean Waters, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, and Hancock Land Company, removed the culvert directly downstream from the dam and replaced it with an open-bottom bridge. The new structure allows fish, amphibians, and other aquatic species to easily move upstream. Removing these two barriers will allow access to nearly two miles of priority brook trout and landlocked salmon habitat.
“Our goal is to preserve the water quality and natural beauty of our region’s lakes, streams, and rivers. This project exemplifies our commitment to sustainable practices that benefit both the environment and local communities,” said Lauren Pickford, Planning and Land Use Manager at LEA.
Jugtown Forest is owned by Hancock Land Company, a key partner in the project, and consists of 5,000 acres of privately owned working forest open to the public for hiking, horseback riding, ATVing, snowmobiling, and hunting. Unbeknownst to many private landowners, many old logging roads block fish passage.
This work is part of a larger project to correct stream crossings that are negatively impacting fish habitat and posing flood risks in the Sebago Lake watershed. Owing to its clean lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers, western Maine is one of the last strongholds in the state for native brook trout and landlocked salmon. Over the next few years, LEA plans to work with landowners and municipalities to open up many miles of stream habitat for these fish by upgrading failing culverts as part of its collaborative work with Sebago Clean Waters through the coalition’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service federal funding award. One key project currently in the planning stages among several partners, including Trout Unlimited, is at Edes Falls Dam, downstream from the Burgess Brook project on the Crooked River.
Lakes Environmental Association is a regional non-profit organization funded by members to protect the waters and watersheds in the greater Sebago Lake Region in the towns of Bridgton, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Sweden, and Waterford. mainelakes.org
Sebago Clean Waters is a coalition of the Portland Water District and ten local, regional, and national conservation organizations working collaboratively to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region through voluntary forest conservation and stewardship. sebagocleanwaters.org
Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, a Sebago Clean Waters partner, is a collaboration of agencies, organizations, and individuals working to conserve the ecological integrity of Casco Bay and its watershed through science, public stewardship, and effective management. CBEP is funded by EPA through the Clean Water Act. cascobayestuary.org
Colin Holme, Executive Director, Lakes Environmental Association, 207-647-8580, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Young, Partnership Director, Sebago Clean Waters, 207-351-0039, email@example.com
Matt Craig, Habitat Program Manager, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, 207-228-8359, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karyn Knights, Vice President of Operations, Hancock Land Company, 207-627-2123, email@example.com