September 2013 Currents

September 2013 Currents

Long Creek Watershed Management District 2013 Fall Update 2013 Fall Update

LC header
September 2013
On behalf of the Long Creek Watershed Management District Board of Directors, I'd like to thank all of the watershed property owners who are participating in the Long Creek's restoration. Your cooperation has enabled the District to make great strides in the three short years since our founding.
  
The efforts by the Board over the course of Fiscal Year 2012 (year ending June 30, 2013) have included:
  • Continued commitment to regular street sweeping, property inspection and maintenance, and landscape maintenance;
  • Partnering with landowners to install stormwater treatment systems and address stream restoration needs according to the schedule in the Management Plan; 
  • Focusing on stream monitoring and modeling to help us better understand the needs of the watershed and to help track improvements to the watershed over time; and
  • Being prudent and responsible in our spending and budgeting.

While many of these initiatives are either behind the scenes (such as monitoring) or operational (such as street sweeping), they are critical to keeping pollutants out of the stream and tracking our progress. That said, they do lack a "wow-factor," which makes me personally excited about the future Gorham Road and Maine Mall Road improvement projects. These are cooperative efforts between the District, the City of South Portland, and Maine DOT to improve stormwater treatment, while also enhancing the look of these corridors. These initiatives will have positive impacts on the watershed, and will transform the look and feel of these roadways and adjacent shopping areas. Projects like these can make the Long Creek watershed and the Maine Mall area more environmentally-friendly and more attractive to new businesses, visitors and economic activity.

Thanks again for your interest in Long Creek and we welcome you to check our website www.restorelongcreek.org or contact our staff for more information.

 

Best Regards,

Dan

Dan Bacon, Chairman of the Board

A Stream's Eye View

 
You may not have noticed but some very interesting things are happening within my banks and along my shores. Everyday lately it seems some surveyor is taking my measurements or a water quality drone is sampling my wares. All this activity is occurring in debut of my modeling career...hydraulic model that is.

 

The framework for my model is being developed by Kleinschmidt Associates, Inc. of Falmouth, Maine. The model will assist engineers in identifying the culverts, bridges and other constrictions that impede or force the concentration of my flow. Ultimately, my model will be used to identify sections of my banks that require adjustment to provide room to spread out during and heavy rain storms and spring melt.

Several vegetative plantings have become new additions along my banks. The buffers provide protection from the encroaching urban landscape and habitat for insects, birds and animals. In two instances, the plantings were performed by volunteer groups interested in protecting my watershed.

Some of the most exciting work being performed within my banks and upon my shores is the in-stream restoration of Blanchette Brook. New habitat is developing daily on my shores and within my banks throughout this section of stream that lies in my Westbrook headwaters. The Colonel Westbrook Associates and Avery landowners are graciously allowing the newly planted buffer vegetation to revert to a more natural state. Meanwhile, the boulders and root wads installed within by banks are establishing permanent habitat for aquatic organisms and delivering dissolved oxygen to my waters.

With each of these changes, I move closer to being the stream of my past. All these changes, though appearing perhaps subtle to you, are having a positive impact on my water quality and ability to provide habitat. Keep it up!

Sincerely,

Long Creek

Stream Monitoring Update
 

The Long Creek Monitoring Program began during the summer of 2010. FB Environmental of Portland (2010 & 2013-2015) and URS Corporation of Portland (2010-2013) have been contracted to test for metals, chloride (salt), oxygen, phosphorus, and petroleum hydrocarbons in the stream. Maine Department of Environmental Protection completed macroinvertebrate (stream-dwelling insects) sampling at five locations in 2010.

The District has developed a "scorecard" for each section of Long Creek. This tracking system allows the landowners to determine which sections of the stream do not meet the State water quality standards. The scorecards based on traffic lights range from red (fails to meet state water quality standards most of the time) to green (the site met the standards all of the time). The scorecards also include a description of the contaminants found and what the District is doing to clean up the stream.

 

  

Overall the monitoring program has shown that the water quality of Long Creek needs improvement:

  • Blanchette Brook (located along Thomas Drive and near the Colonel Westbrook Office Park) contains low levels of dissolved oxygen and high levels of metals, both of which harm the invertebrate community. The Colonel Westbrook Riparian Planting was completed in 2011 and the Blanchette Brook Stormwater Retrofits were completed in 2012. Both are expected to reduce contaminants and increase oxygen in the stream. Preliminary data suggest that we are seeing improvements in dissolved oxygen, and additional monitoring this summer will help us determine if this is an ongoing trend or short-term fluctuation.
  • The Main Stem also contains low levels of oxygen and high levels of metals and phosphorus and an impaired habitat in the eastern and western portions of the watershed.
  • The North and South Branches of Long Creek are located in highly developed areas and have low dissolved oxygen, high metals, high phosphorus, and high chloride due to salt applications in these portions of the Watershed. Dissolved oxygen levels improved between 2010 and 2012, and we are continuing to monitor in this section of stream.

The scorecards indicate a success story in the middle portion of the Main Stem and Blanchette Brook. These sections have good dissolved oxygen for some of the year, and the middle Main Stem has a healthy invertebrate community in spite of high metals and nutrients. These scorecards will be updated every year so that the landowners can track the Long Creek cleanup progress.

Lawyers Get Their Hands Dirty for Long Creek Restoration Effort  
 
On June 20, 2013, volunteers from the Maine State Bar Association Natural Resources & Environmental Law Section completed a planting in the Blanchette Brook riparian restoration area at the corner of Thomas Drive and Spring Street. The District initiated a streamside restoration and planting project in the section of Blanchette Brook that flows under Spring Street and along Thomas Drive in Westbrook in 2011. Volunteers added more than 120 additional plants to the perennial beds as part of their environmental public service project for 2013. The work was completed under the guidance of PR Webster, a Windham-based landscaping firm that is working under contract to the Long Creek Watershed Management District to maintain landscaped stormwater improvements.
 
Blanchette Brook During Planting
Volunteers planting
Blanchette Brook Volunteers
Volunteers from the Maine State Bar Association
 
 
Blanchett Brook After Planting
Blanchette Brook After Planting

Construction Update
  
Over the last few years, a variety of stormwater conservation practices have been constructed or retrofitted throughout the Long Creek watershed. In some instances, new practices have been constructed in areas where no stormwater control or treatment had previously existed. Existing sites have been upgraded or retrofitted to provide additional storage capability or improved treatment. With each project it is expected that the stream is seeing beneficial effects with each passing storm.
  
Blanchette Brook Restoration
Blanchette Brook Restoration
Gravel Wetland
Gravel Wetland
Installation of Conservation Practices on Philbrook Ave
Installation of Conservation Practices on Philbrook Ave.
Installation of Conservation Practices on Philbrook Ave.
Landscaped Underdrained Soil Media Filter Installed on Darling Ave.
Landscaped Underdrained Soil Media Filter Installed on Darling Ave.
Installation of Conservation Practices on Philbrook Ave
Installation of Streamside Vegetation on Philbrook Ave.
 
Posted in: General News 
Post Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 12:36 PM