Megunticook Watershed Association

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Thin Ice Warning!

Posted on | February 5, 2016 | No Comments

From the Maine Warden Service:  Thin Ice Conditions Continue Statewide


When going out on the ice, tell someone your plans (leave a note on  your windshield with your plans), wear a PFD under your coat.  Get some ice picks and a throw bag.  Be Safe, be Smart!  Here are a couple of videos about self rescue:  ice picks       throw bag.


Warden’s Report Early February

Posted on | February 4, 2016 | No Comments

Can you believe this weather?

Here we are into February and I have yet been able to call “Ice In” for Megunticook Lake and Chickawaukee Pond. As I am writing this I am watching the rain fall as the thermometer reads in the upper 30’s. (there are some high winds expected today). Tomorrow they are saying temperature’s could get up to 50 degrees again with the possibility of another rain shower…..this is not the February that I remember growing up, some people love it, others want their winter back…I just want people to be aware and safe if they have any thoughts about venturing out onto the hard water.
As you can see in the pictures below, Megunticook is still VERY open off the Rt#52 side and by the outlet dams. I suspect any place that has an inlet or outlet is unsafe, along with those areas around exposed rocks. I have seen people fishing on Megunticook, even seen them on snowmobiles and four wheelers,  but most all of them have been on the northwestern end of the lake where it has been frozen for some time.
The good news is that I have not had to make a single phone call to a camp/cottage owner advising them that their roof needs to be shoveled. Walking into some of these areas has been easy (compared to last year at this time), now I just have to make sure I don’t get stuck in the mud. I am continuing to place Property Cards around the lake and pond and conducting my security checks for the winter. The snowmobile is still parked at my house (now on the grass) and I’m not sure if it will ever see a 2016 Registration Sticker.
Please use extreme caution if you feel as though you need to go out on to the ice. Be safe, stay dry, tell a friend if you are going to go. Norton Pond should still be OK and parts of Megunticook too…..but please check to make sure before you go.

Lake Warden
Justin Twitchell

PS-  Here are some Critter Cam pics too


Great LakeSmart video

Posted on | January 30, 2016 | No Comments

Many thanks from our friends at the Maine Lakes Society!

Why Does Ice Float?

Posted on | January 30, 2016 | No Comments

Ice for Numb-ies:
In which I attempt to explain why ice floats and why that is a good thing

For a lot of us, chemistry is back in the hazy past and for at least some, it was hazy even then as eyes glazed over at the thought of covalent bonding and such. Time to rev it up again because there is something that is so very important about water chemistry that applies to our precious watershed and every body of water in the north. I will try to make it as unturbid as possible.

Water, remember, is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which are kind of like mutt and jeff. Hydrogen is very small, the smallest of all atoms. Its one electron zooms around its center single proton. Oxygen has a more complex structure and even though it is not a very large, in combination with hydrogen in the water molecule, it tends to hog the electrons from hydrogen so they are not shared equally. This means that the water molecule is more negative on one end and more positive where the hydrogens attach.

Now, since there are millions and millions of water molecules making up even a small amount of water, you can picture that the negative areas will attract the positive areas and vice versa, creating a kind of tug-of-war. This is very unlike any other liquid where electrons are equally shared, and is responsible for the defining characteristics of water. In the winter, in the north, one is the formation and character of ice, but there are other properties more noticeable in other seasons as well.

In the fall the water temperature starts to drop, and with it, if you could see what is happening at the molecular level, you would notice that the movement of the molecules slows d o w n. ( In a liquid, molecules are always moving and if the liquid is heated, they move faster; when it’s cooled, they slow). Along with this slowing comes an increase in the density of the liquid but with water, if you measure the density as water cools, it reaches a maximum density at 4 degrees C. or about 39 degrees F. This was the temperature of the lake water when I took it on December 18th. This was a lake whose entire water column had to be at 39 degrees because the denser colder water will always sink to the bottom. This was a lake just waiting for ice.

Getting back to chemistry for a quick moment, that slowly moving molecular water now is overpowered by the bonds between the adjacent molecules as they start to form a kind of grid held together by the opposite charges. At 39 degrees there are many molecules already in the grid formation but still enough of them fitting in between the grid. As the water cools further, these yet unattached molecules are forced out or added to the grid, which lessens the density. That water, less dense than that at 39 degrees, remains at the surface of the lake and is available for further cooling. At 32 degrees or 0 degrees C., all the molecules become fixed in the grid and solid ice forms. Ta-dah!! And since it is less dense even than 34 or 33 degree water, it floats! Underneath will always be heavier, denser liquid water, throughout the entire winter, no matter what happens on the surface.

So on my visit to the lake on Dec. 18, when I put in a thermometer and found the water to be 39 degrees, it was primed for freezing. If there were some windy days, that movement would prevent the grid from forming even as the water temperature dips below freezing, but ice might form at the windward edges. On a cold windless night, water will freeze first in protected areas and then in wider open ones, even freezing over completely in one night if the water is supercooled.

This year, it seems as if the lake has gone through a freeze/thaw cycle already. In reverse, when the air temperature warms, or the element of unseasonal rain occurs, the ice warms and the crystalline grid is disrupted, liquid water intrudes in the grid as ice melts and dense water is released. But not for long….

And now as snow covers the surface of the ice, you can picture life going on in very slow motion in the depths below, awaiting the release in the spring, thanks to this very unusual and unique chemistry property of water.


Many Thanks to member Amy Campbell for this article!

Megunticook Watershed Association is seeking a Part-time Year-round Lake Warden

Posted on | January 22, 2016 | Comments Off on Megunticook Watershed Association is seeking a Part-time Year-round Lake Warden

As you may have heard Justin is resigning as Lake Warden effective June 1.  We have opened the search for his replacement.

Here’s the copy from the Help Wanted Ad:

Megunticook Watershed Association is seeking a Part-time Year-round Lake Warden.
The successful candidate will oversee all activities in the watershed, patrolling by boat, snowmobile and car/truck. He/she should be a people person who will work with membership and the public to advocate for the watershed. He/she will be educating the public on land and water activities that are consistent with the goals of preservation, water quality, and safe, enjoyable water recreation. Experience with operating boats and snowmobiles a plus. Send cover letter and resume to or M.W.A. P.O.Box. 443, Camden ME 04843


Warden Report- Critter Cam Pics

Posted on | January 14, 2016 | Comments Off on Warden Report- Critter Cam Pics

From Justin-

Here is another round from the “Critter Cam”…we had a Fisher show up this time, I hope you enjoy.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be safe out there, the ice IS NOT safe. I am still collecting “Ice In” data as some of our local bodies of water have yet to completely freeze over. Megunticook and Norton had both frozen over at one point but both had open water after our last heavy rain storm.
Last Saturday I fished Norton Pond before the rain storm and did well, the boys and I caught several Largemouth Bass, Pickerel but only one Trout. At the time there was between 3″ and 6″ of ice (depending on where you were).


Critter Cam First Pics 2016

Posted on | January 14, 2016 | Comments Off on Critter Cam First Pics 2016

Here’s the first batch of Critter Cam pics. Enjoy!

Looking for that Last Minute Stocking Stuffer?

Posted on | December 20, 2015 | Comments Off on Looking for that Last Minute Stocking Stuffer?

Give the Gift of an MWA Membership!

Annual Membership Dues start  at just $35.00 for students.  Other levels include:

Friend of MWA…………………$50
Regular Member:……………….$100
Sustaining Member……………..$150 and above
Capital Fund Donor……………….$ Any Amount

The perfect gift for folks who love the watershed!

So send a check and some contact info for the new member the address below and we will set them up!

Megunticook Watershed Association
PO Box 443
Camden, ME 04843


Warden’s Report

Posted on | December 20, 2015 | Comments Off on Warden’s Report

Where’s the Winter Weather?

Well it’s that time of year again (I think), the boat has been removed from the water and given its bleach bath and cleaning.  The Rockport Town garage was gracious enough to allow me to once again use their indoor facility to clean the boat with their hot water pressure washer making the cleaning process as enjoyable as it can be.  By the end of the year the boat is a disgusting mess with all the dried dirt and slime from the Navigational Aid (buoy) removal.  I am happy to report that the boat is once again white and has been taken to Don’s Outboard to be winterized and shrink wrapped for the winter.

     November was good to the Twitchell Family as my youngest got his first deer on his first ever hunt on Youth Day, my oldest tagged out with a nice buck on the last day of rifle season, and I tagged out with a little buck on the 2nd to last day of the muzzle loading season…(yes my son showed me up…wouldn’t have it any other way).

Usually this time of year I am sending out a warning/reminder about ice conditions and to be safe but this year the mild weather has me thinking I should be out in the boat.  Last year “Ice In” was called on Norton Pond on December 31st.  Megunticook was later, January 7th.  I have a feeling that unless something drastic happens with our current weather conditions we won’t be seeing “Ice In” for a while.

     Going forward I will be conducting property checks by way of vehicle and foot patrols.  I will begin placing property cards at the start of the new year and with any luck I will get the chance to finish the job using the snowmobile.
I hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas with your families and a wonderful New Year
Ice Safety

Mt. Battie Walk Sat. Nov. 7th

Posted on | December 4, 2015 | Comments Off on Mt. Battie Walk Sat. Nov. 7th

From our good neighbors:

Coastal Mountains Land Trust

Saturday, November 7th at 10:00am, local geologist Dr. Steve Norton will lead this month’s Camden Area Nature Walk up Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park. Meet in the parking lot on the left at the start of the road up Mount Battie. There may be some trail walking, so bring suitable footwear. Coastal Mountains Land Trust and the Camden Conservation Commission will also be sponsoring monthly nature walks in 2016, starting next spring.

keep looking »


Megunticook Watershed Association
P.O. Box 443, Camden, ME 04843
Paul Leeper
Executive Director


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The Megunticook Watershed Association (MWA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of lakes, rivers and estuaries. Our organization and our members play an important role in keeping this wonderful resource available for recreation by locals and visitors to the midcoast region.