Long Creek Watershed Managment District Overview


Where is Long Creek

Long Creek WatershedLong Creek is a meandering urban stream system with four primary branches that converge before flowing into Clark’s Pond in South Portland, Maine. The Long Creek watershed encompasses 3.5 square miles in a commercial/retail district located in four municipalities: Portland, Scarborough, South Portland, and Westbrook.

Why is Long Creek Regulated?

Long Creek is an urban stream system that is classified by the Maine Water Classification Program as a Class C stream. Long Creek currently does not meet the water quality standards established for Class C Streams, which “must be of sufficient quality to support all species of fish indigenous to the receiving waters and maintain the structure and function of the resident biological community.”

Long Creek has long been the subject of many studies and reports. What the data suggests is twofold:

  1. As stated in the Long Creek Watershed Management Plan (LCWMP), “years of urbanization have significantly impaired the stream’s health, as well as its ability to support recreation and wildlife, such as brook trout.”
  2. Water quality impairments are a result of increased concentrations of metals, chloride, phosphorus, nitrogen, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and reduced dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations. 

Historically, there have been very few regulated point source discharges and other stormwater controls (i.e., water quantity and quality) in the watershed. Substantial nonpoint source (NPS) discharges from the existing built environment have contributed to the degraded water quality. Stream health and water quality has also been adversely affected by altered hydrological conditions and increased water temperatures from lack of shading in certain areas. 

In 2009 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exercised a provision in the Clean Water Act, known as Residual Designation Authority (RDA), which requires stormwater permitting for designated discharges in the Long Creek watershed. The resulting permits, a collaboration between EPA and DEP, require “an operator of property…to obtain a Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit” for any parcel or property in the Long Creek watershed with one or more acres of impervious cover (IC). This precedent-setting use of the RDA provision led to the establishment of the Long Creek Watershed Management District and a corresponding annual IC fee.

Who are the Stakeholders?

We implement the Long Creek General Permit on behalf of 89 permittees who manage 88% of the watershed’s IC (and 98% of the total regulated IC). The permittees include:

  • 83 private landowners, primarily commercial and retail properties with IC ranging from rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots
  • 3 of the 4 municipalities, whose IC primarily consists of roads and sidewalks
  • 2 state entities: Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA)
  • 1 quasi-municipal entity: ecomaine, a regional waste management facility providing recycling and waste-to-energy services to a number of southern Maine municipalities

Long Creek at Sable Golf