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LEA is a LakeSmart hub for only these 6 towns (Bridgton, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Sweden, Waterford). If you are outside of our service area, visit

LakeSmart is a program that educates landowners about best practices to protect the lakes they live on! The goal is to reduce or eliminate erosion and storm water runoff because it carries pollutants, including phosphorus. Properties which are particularly lake-friendly receive the LakeSmart Award, with accompanying signs for display!

LakeSmart is a program of Maine Lakes run in the Lake Region by the Lakes Environmental Association. If you live in LEA’s service area, contact to get involved in LakeSmart! If you live outside of our service area, contact or visit

2022 LakeSmart Award Recipients

What does LakeSmart look like?

LakeSmart properties are more natural than suburban; preventing erosion, providing wildlife habitat, food for pollinators, cooling shade, privacy screening, and so much more. They are functional properties, too…with docks, decks, recreation areas and winding paths.

How does it work?

Interested owners can request a free property evaluation. The evaluation involves a volunteer walking your property with you, looking at different criteria that affect lake health. Some questions LakeSmart volunteers are looking to answer are:

  • Is there erosion on the driveway?
  • How often do you pump your septic system?
  • Are pathways limited and protected with mulch or other stable ground cover?
  • How thick is the vegetated buffer* between the house and the lake?
  • Is there erosion on the shoreline?
  • Is the leech field healthy? (No woody plants or obvious malfunction)

*a vegetated buffer is the trees, shrubs and groundcover plants between your house and the lake that catch sediment and other pollution.

The evaluation report provides recommendations intended to make your property more lake-friendly by eliminating and preventing erosion or other pollution. Its a normal part of the process to not meet the requirements on your first evaluation! Common recommendations for improvement are:

  • Increase native plants on your property
  • Reduce lawn area
  • Divert stormwater to natural areas (away from the lake)
  • Cover pathways with erosion control mulch
  • Stabilize the shoreline with native plants
  • Pump the septic system regularly (every 3 years for a lakefront property!)

If your property meets LakeSmart requirements, you get the LakeSmart award! Each award is accompanied by two distinctive signs intended for display at the shoreline and at the road.  These signs may encourage lake-friendly practices throughout your neighborhood.

If your property does not, you receive a report with recommendations for improvement. There is not pressure or obligation to make these changes! If you choose to make changes, your property can be re-evaluated for award!

How do I get started?

If you live in LEA’s service area (Bridgton, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Sweden, & Waterford) contact! If you are outside of this area, contact


What does erosion have to do with this?

Soil naturally contains phosphorus, which feeds algae blooms on lakes. If stormwater carries soil into the lake, it can turn green and swampy (which is gross and unhealthy!)

Can you have a lawn and be LakeSmart?

Maybe. If your lawn is limited to the leech field or other small areas its possible you are still LakeSmart. However, having large expanses of lawn will prevent you from becoming LakeSmart.

Why is lawn bad for lakes?

Lawns often require fertilizer and pesticides which pollute lakes. Lawns offer little habitat to wildlife and pollinators. Lawns do very little stormwater infiltration and can cause runoff problems.

Does LakeSmart cost money?

Nope! Free to all. The program is supported by a network of volunteers and donations to Lakes Environmental Association and Maine Lakes.

What’s the deal with phosphorus?

It is not just in lawn fertilizer.  The number one pollutant of lakes is eroded soil carried in stormwater runoff from yards and roads.  Phosphorus attached to the soil particles feeds algae in lakes.  Algae blooms ruin the lake’s usefulness and lakeshore property values. Phosphorus is naturally occurring in soil and plants, but human development has introduced it in excess to lakes and ponds.

I don’t think my property is LakeSmart. Now what?

Have an evaluation and figure out how you can improve! This is an opportunity to improve your impact, not a judgement of your property.

I want to do more. How can I help?

If you would like to volunteer for the program, contact 🙂

2022 LakeSmart Awards

LEA is proud to announce the 2022 recipients of LakeSmart Awards in its regional Hub area. LEA thanks each of these individuals and families for helping to ensure that the beautiful lakes and ponds of this region stay pristine for generations to come.

Woods Pond

          Susie Albert & Andy Pond

          Dick & Etta May Bates

          Bob Spiwak & Maureen Debrot

Moose Pond

          Lee & Bill Bearse

          Cindy & Mitch Coddington

          James Dillon

          Alice & Gary Gold

          Jenny & Shawn Hagerty

          Gail & Matt Hoffman

          Bill & Linda Monroe

          Terri Koehler & Ed Nikonowicz

          Kenneth Sharples

          Laurie Vance       

Keoka Lake

          Alan & Patty Graves

          Charlie & Antoinette Tarbell

          Wilma Johnson Realty Trust

Kezar Lake

          Steve Gates

          Mike Gildesgame

          John Niejadlik

          Kevin Rooney

          Linda Wallace

          Moira & George Yip

Five Kezars

          Margaret And George Chapman

Etta May & Dick Bates
James Dillon
Marilyn McGoldrick & Kenneth Sharples
Susie Albert & Andy Pond

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