Megunticook Watershed Association

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Warden’s Report- Mayflies are hatching!

Posted on | May 11, 2017 | Comments Off on Warden’s Report- Mayflies are hatching!

Megunticook Watershed, Early Spring-  Around the watershed the annual Spring chores, raking leaves ,chainsawing downed trees, and getting the floats and ramps in place are getting done despite the cold and wet weather.  Many folks have remodeling, painting and roofing projects underway.  Some have been working all winter but many are spring jobs starting after the roads became passable.

Megunticook Rowing has started its season. The rowers can be seen most afternoons sliding along with the teams working on the rhythm and speed for upcoming races. The ROCKY HILL BASS ANGLERS were out on the lake fishing recently.  I talked to a few about the catch but the fishing was very slow with little to show for their time and effort.  Trout fishing on the lake has also been slow with some nice fish caught but not many fishermen braving the cold and wet conditions.  Water temperatures have slowly risen into the low 50s.

Loons are pairing up getting ready to claim and defend their nesting territories.  The loud cries we hear can be the loons fending off other birds trying to move in on their nesting spot.  They can get very aggressive at this time of year so be careful. Loons nest very close to the water’s edge because they walk so poorly on land.  Often their nests are only a few inches above the water . POWER BOAT WAKES can very easily flood or wash the loons nest away.  So take a look at your boat’s wake, if it’s over a foot tall it could destroy a loons nest . Last year we only had 2 loon chicks survive the summer so we all need to help them the best we can. Slow Down and Enjoy the Watershed!

We have eagles nesting again in the watershed after a break of a couple of years.  Have not seen or heard any sign of eaglets yet but let’s keep our fingers crossed, it’s still early in the season.

Finally, from the Maine Lakes Society, “Take a Break, Put down your Rake, and Save the Lake! Limit lawn size, mow less often and keep the mower bar high, leave grass clippings in place of fertilizer, don’t rake within 75 feet of shore.”

Stay safe and see you on the water   Dale Dougherty  Lake Warden

Springtime and Other Topics

Posted on | May 4, 2017 | Comments Off on Springtime and Other Topics

It’s spring here in the Megunticook Watershed,  docks are being put in and camps are opening. Below are a few items I’ve been meaning to distribute.

April in the Watershed-  Attached are a few pics from Warden Dale

LakeSmart– Springtime also means rain; we’ve been getting a fair charge of rain the last 2 weeks and are expecting 1 to 2 inches Friday night into Saturday.  All this rain means it is an excellent time to inspect, repair and improve your camp road.  Camp roads are a significant source of stormwater runoff around the watershed and the eroded gravel and dirt damage the water quality of Norton Pond and Megunticook Lake. Interested in improving your property and reducing your stormwater impacts to the watershed.  Contact me at  for your free LakeSmart evaluation this summer.  Many properties can be improved with some simple, low cost, suggestions. Here’s a FAQ about LakeSmart

Maine Lakes Conference-
47th Annual Maine Lakes Conference!  7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday, June 24, 2017
Wells Conference Center, University of Maine at Orono

Your Lake, Your Home: Community-based Lake Protection

This is a great chance to explore emerging lake science, learn how to supercharge our lake association, and network with others on the frontlines.

View the Full Program
Register Today!

Now a warning
…  Recently a MWA member sent me a link about Electric Shock Drowning and asked if it was a potential concern.  The short answer is electricity and water should always be a concern!  Fresh Water + Alternating Current (AC) = Danger.

Electric shock drowning is a cause of death that occurs when swimmers are exposed to electric currents in the water. In some cases the shock itself is fatal, while in others it incapacitates the swimmer causing them to drown. The main cause of electric shock drownings is faulty wiring on boats or docks that causes electric current to leak into the water.

Here is my thinking on the topic:

1. To my knowledge this has never occurred in the Watershed.
2. While we don’t have marinas and AC shore power for boats some folks do have AC power to their docks for lights etc.
3. I know my family has used AC powered battery chargers on our floats to “jump start” boat  batteries; and I know many other MWA members have as well.
4. Any AC power around the water is a risk.

So, as my sainted mother used to say “Word to the Wise”.  As I said, to my knowledge we have not had a drowning due to electrocution but…If you have AC power on your float, it should be installed by a licensed electrician.  If you are using an extension cord (say to power that battery charger) make sure it is good shape and plugged into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet.  Oh, and it’s probably a good idea to get the kids out of the water while your charging that battery.

Here’s some links for some more info:

Extension Cords ,on Docks and ,at the Lake

Stay safe and see you on the water!


Upcoming Events

Posted on | April 25, 2017 | Comments Off on Upcoming Events

 Camden Garden Club- Director of Botantical Gardens to address Garden Club April 27

Bill Cullina will speak to the Camden Garden Club April 27.

Camden — Bill Cullina, executive director of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, will be the guest speaker at Camden Garden Club’s first meeting of the year Thursday, April 27, at 9:30 a.m. at the First Congregational Church, 55 Elm St. The program is free and open to the public

His talk, entitled “Woodland Wildflowers – Jewels of the Forest,” will explore the nature of these captivating and mysterious beauties, what makes them so special, and how to establish them in a home garden.

Cullina was educated at the University of Connecticut, and Hobart and William Smith College in New York and began his career as a retail greenhouse manager. He moved on to become a research aide, performing experiments and collecting data on sylvicultural practices and forest ecology. He served as a nursery manager of niche gardens in North Carolina and is noted for his 13 years as the nursery director and head propagator at the New England Wildflower Society, where he developed the largest native plant nursery in New England, producing 75,000 woody and herbaceous plants annually for garden and restoration use.

The author of five acclaimed horticultural references, Cullina specializes in the photography of North American native plants and in 2011 he co-authored “Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens: A People’s Garden.” He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Award of Excellence for advancing the goals of National Garden Clubs of America.

For more information, visit or contact

Knox-Lincoln SWCD- Guided spring wildflower walk set for April 28

Courtesy of: Knox Lincoln County Soil and Water Conservation District Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is one of the spring ephemerals likely to be seen on a walk in Payson Park April 28.

Rockport — Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District is sponsoring an early spring wildflower walk at Payson Park, Route 90, in Warren, Friday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The woodlands along the river and canal system in this town-owned community park have unusually large displays of early spring ephemerals, including bloodroot, trout lily, wild hellebore, and, of course, skunk cabbage. Join Heather McCargo, founder and executive director of Wild Seed Project, to learn about the life cycle, habitat requirements, and ethnobotany of some of Maine’s woodland herbs, as well as a variety of other native plants typically found along waterways.

McCargo is an educator with 30 years of expertise in plant propagation, landscape design and conservation. She was the head plant propagator at the New England Wildflower Society’s Garden in the Woods (Framingham, Mass.) in the ’90s and designed the master plan for the medicinal gardens at Avena Botanicals in Rockland. She has a master’s degree from the Conway School of Landscape Design & a bachelor’s degree in plant ecology from Hampshire College.

Meet in the parking lot at Payson Park on Route 90 between the Oyster River Bridge and Lincoln’s Country Store. This is a relatively easy walk, but participants should wear waterproof shoes, as there is often water running on the paths at this time of year.

Cost for the program is $5 for members of Wild Seed Project; $8 for all others. For more information and to register, contact Knox-Lincoln SWCD:, 596-2040; or register online at

MerrySpring- Spring Foraging Workshop with Tom Seymour- April 29

2017 MAINE LAKES CONFERENCE Saturday, June 24, 2017

Posted on | April 25, 2017 | Comments Off on 2017 MAINE LAKES CONFERENCE Saturday, June 24, 2017

Maine Lakes Society

7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday, June 24, 2017  
Wells Conference Center, University of Maine at Orono


Distinguished Professor Dr. Ivan Fernandez of the Climate Change Institute and the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine will discuss the Forest-Freshwater Connection, and the role forests play in climate change adaption, at the 47th Annual Maine Lakes Conference on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at the University of Maine at Orono.

Dr. Fernandez is interested in how we are developing adaptation strategies for managing ecosystem response to climate change, particularly as it relates to terrestrial ecosystems and the freshwater resources they encompass. Along with understanding how we can accommodate the changes that have already taken place, and those anticipated in the future, he is also interested in how we can identify and promote the new ecological and economic opportunities that the inevitable change will provide.


Register before May 15th for the Early-bird discount!

Photo Credit:Moosehead Lake (Forest Society of Maine)


Posted on | April 14, 2017 | Comments Off on ICE OUT!

Megunticook Lake Ice Out – Thursday, April 13 at 2:20 PM.

Lake Warden Dale Dougherty called Megunticook Lake Ice Out yesterday, April 13, at 2:20 PM. He expected it to go out earlier in the day with the brisk winds but ice blocked a section of the lake across from Bishopwood Camp.

And the winner of the 2017 Ice Out Contest is? Elias Libby! The reason for the April 13th date, it’s his birthday! Elias guessed the correct date and was only 10 minutes off the correct time. He received his first prize, a $100.00 gift certificate from Maine Sport and a one year subscription to the Camden Herald, from Warden Dale and Megunticook Watershed Association President Maureen Flanagan.

The second place entry wasn’t too far off. Deborah Roberts guessed 1:59 PM, just 31 minutes off the correct time. For her efforts Deborah will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to Viking Lumber and Building Supply.

Ice out for Moody Pond and Norton Pond was called today, April 14th.

Thanks for all the entries this year. Be safe on the water, it’s still really cold!


Posted on | April 11, 2017 | Comments Off on Springtime!

Just a few pics from around the watershed. Last weeks rain raised the water to about 10 inches above the spillway which now is slowly receding. The ice is looking mighty slushy; and with the warm temps yesterday and today ice out should be soon!

Warden’s Report Late Winter, Early Spring

Posted on | April 2, 2017 | Comments Off on Warden’s Report Late Winter, Early Spring

Hello to all from the shores of Megunticook Lake.  One year ago on this date the ice was long gone and spring was under way.  This year the geese, ducks, and turkey vultures have returned from the southern regions only to be met with cold harsh weather.  It must be tough on all the wildlife in the area when the temperature ranges from the 50’s to the single numbers in the span of a few short days.  A few days ago I saw people out fishing in a canoe.  A short distance away was a group ice fishing at Barrett’s Cove.  With the recent change in Maine’s fishing laws this is now legal, open water fishing from the canoe and ice fishing from the ice at the same time.

Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) have become very popular, with thousands of users statewide.  From the Maine Wardens Service:

1) Anyone who is hired to take a paddleboarder out on the water in Maine (coastal or inland waters) must be a licensed recreational guide.

2) Stand up paddleboards are considered watercraft.

3) A person utilizing a standup paddleboard shall carry at least one Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device, otherwise known as a PFD or lifejacket, (a type I, II, or III) for each person aboard.

4) Children 10 years of age or younger must wear a Type I, II, or III PFD at all times on a standup paddleboard as is required for all watercraft.

The U.S. Coast Guard Regulations for SUPs, for USCG jurisdictions (saltwater).  The USCG has determined that SUP boards operating outside a surfing, swimming, or bathing area are “VESSELS” under USCG regulations.  What that means for you when you’re outside those areas.


Each paddler 13 years of age or older MUST have a USCG-approved Type I, II, or III PFD or appropriate type V. It doesn’t have to be worn. Although wearing it is strongly recommended.  A child 12 years old or younger must wear their USCG- approved life jacket.  The belt pouch-type inflatable personal flotation device (PFD) must be on person to meet the regulations.

Other required gear:

A whistle or sound producing device must be carried to warn other boaters.  If on the water after sunset, you need a flashlight or similar lighting device to warn other boaters

Remember that you are about the most vulnerable person on the water.  Watch out for powerboats, wear bright colors that show up in well, this can be a lifesaver.  Also many boating accidents involve alcohol so please wait until you are back on shore of the fabulous Megunticook Watershed.

Have fun out there, and above all, boat safe !



Signs of Spring?

Posted on | March 10, 2017 | Comments Off on Signs of Spring?

Get yer Ice Out guess in yet?? The lake is opening up and there are signs of spring everywhere. However… in the interests of full disclosure, NOAA weather has issued a Hazardous Weather Advisory. Tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 9 degrees with wind gusts to 45 mph. Oh, and plowable snow Tuesday and Wednesday.

But, getting back to spring and the Ice Out Contest. The Canada Geese are flying around looking for open water, and the Turkey Vultures have returned to the cliffs on Megunticook. So be a prognosticator and send in your guess as to the day and time the ice will be out on Megunticook. Send your guess to, Dale is the final arbiter of Ice Out.

Thanks to member Roger Wickenden for the pics from Maiden’s Cliff. Here’s a link to a quick video from last weekend along the Turnpike when it was 10 degrees and blowing Colddd!

Be safe and see you on the water (maybe soon?)


Why an Apple a Day Could be Bad for a Barred Owl

Posted on | March 8, 2017 | Comments Off on Why an Apple a Day Could be Bad for a Barred Owl

February 23, 2017 at 1:03 pm by Emily MacCabe

By Wildlife Biologist Erynn Call

Owl1-200x300Have you ever thrown an apple core out the car window and thought it was a harmless action, or maybe even a nice snack for a little critter?  Tossing out edible tidbits while driving can threaten wildlife, particularly raptors such as hawks and owls.  These birds are attracted to roadways as they provide convenient perches on power lines with clear views of their prey.  Vegetation is cut short and in winter roadsides make for easy hunting grounds as there is less snow.  If the surrounding landscape is covered in ice, capturing prey is challenging as rodents scamper underneath an impenetrable crusty layer.  Roads then become an even more appealing dining locale.

Adding food scraps increases the number of rodents and the chance of crossing paths with a car while swooping across the roadway.  Because this roadside hunting approach is easier than dodging through a field or forest after a meal, younger, inexperienced birds are often more susceptible to vehicle collisions.  One raptor that seems to be in this predicament often is the Barred Owl.  Avian Haven, a bird rehabilitator located in Freedom Maine, admitted 80 Barred Owls in 2015!

If you are fortunate enough to see a mid-sized (20 inch) owl, you can bet it’s this one.  The Barred Owl is one of Maine’s most common owl species.   Their distinguishing features include dark brown eyes, brown and white striped feathers, and lack of ear tufts (Great Horned Owls have these).  Their hooting call sounds like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?”  Pairs mate for life and during courtship the male and female call together.  They do not migrate and often reuse nests of other raptors, crows, and squirrels.   Cavities created by Pileated Woodpeckers make ideal locations for a Barred Owl nest.


In Maine, courtship begins in February, two to four eggs are laid in April and hatch about a month later.  After some initial exploration on nearby branches the young owls are ready five weeks after hatching to fledge or fly from the nest.  They are still cared for by the parents and tend to hang out in the parents territory while learning to hunt.  In total, parents care for the owlets for at least four months.  When the young are ready to be independent and settle into their own territory they don’t travel too far from their parents, typically less than six miles away.  The lifespan of a Barred Owl may be ten years or more, and they have been documented living up to 32 years in captivity.


Barred Owls typically hunt at dawn, dusk, or at night but will also search for food during the day.  Forests in spring, summer, and fall and provide a variety of delectable meals such as chipmunks, mice, voles, salamanders, frogs, and invertebrates.  A fish in shallow water might even need to watch out for an adventurous wading Barred Owl.  In winter, while some of these creatures are inaccessible, Barred Owls switch their diet to rodents and hone in on roadside hunting.  This menu is dangerous as collisions with passing vehicles are much more likely.
The number of owls you see can change annually based upon natural fluctuations in population abundances.  This rise and fall is related to complex factors such as interactions between weather patterns, seed production, and rodent populations.  Barred Owls are plentiful and doing well, and according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey their populations increased 1.5% between 1966 and 2014.   While they are a very common species, and populations are not in danger, your actions can directly benefit these beautiful birds!

What you can do to help Barred Owls and all birds of prey, on the roadways and beyond:

  1. Avoid throwing food out your car window.
  2. Be an alert driver and keep a keen eye on your surroundings.
  3. Keep your distance if you see an owl. It’s always best to avoid disturbing any wildlife – a quick photo could mean the animal has to expend valuable energy distancing itself or missing a chance at a meal.
  4. Avoid using rat poison – many raptors, including owls are killed by consuming poisoned rodents. Learn more by visiting
  5. Learn more about Barred Owls and other birds of prey by visiting the MDIFW web page or


Megunticook Ice Out Contest!

Posted on | March 1, 2017 | Comments Off on Megunticook Ice Out Contest!


By the looks of the pics at the bottom of this post, spring, and ice out may be here soon.  But then again, what do I know, I’ve never won the Ice Out Contest!


The Megunticook Lake Watershed Association is once again sponsoring an “Ice Out” contest.  The person who guesses closest to date and time the ice goes out on Megunticook Lake will win a $100.00 gift certificate from Maine Sport and a year’s subscription to the Camden Herald.  The second best guess prize is a $50.00 gift certificate from Viking Lumber with area stores in Lincolnville, Warren, and Belfast.

“Ice Out” is called when a boat can navigate in open water from the outlet dams to the Ken Bailey Bridge where Norton Pond empties into the lake.

Contestants can send their entries to or P.O. Box 443, Camden ME 04843.

When sending your entry please include your full name and contact number.  Get your entries in as soon as possible, after our recent warm-up the ice might not last long this year.  But, if you are a gambling sort, we will accept entries up to 24 hours from the Ice-Out time.  Please, one entry per person.  Our Lake Warden, Dale Dougherty, will call “Ice Out”.

Good Luck!

Here’s a list of recent Ice-Out dates.

19808-Apr199930-Mar(4:22 p.m.)
198130-Mar20001-Apr(6:25 p.m.)
198220-Apr200125-Apr(5:38 a.m.)
19836-Apr200229-Mar(10:45 a.m.)
198420-Apr200320-Apr(3:00 p.m.)
19854-Apr200417-Apr(12:35 p.m.)
19866-Apr200514-Apr(4:00 p.m.)
198713-Apr200628-Mar(5:30 p.m.)
19889-Apr200724-Apr(11:45 a.m.)
198913-Apr200817-Apr(6:34 p.m.)
19907-Apr200913-Apr(2:40 p.m.)
19916-Apr201019-Mar(5:02 p.m.)
199221-Apr(4:30 p.m.)201114-Apr(9:50 a.m.)
199323-Apr(8:15 a.m.)201219-Mar(1:25 p.m.)
199416-Apr(10:44 a.m.)201310-Apr(4:55 P.M.)
19953-Apr(6:05 p.m.)201415-Apr(9:55 A.M.)
199612-Apr(7:50 p.m.)201520-Apr1:58 PM
199720-Apr(11:20 a.m.)201611-Mar5:03 PM
199831-Mar(12:30 p.m.)
keep looking »