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Some days it got pretty busy! Here one boat is coming out of the lake while another awaits their turn to put in.
Labor Day weekend marked the end of our 2020 Courtesy Boat Inspection season on Clary Lake. We had a volunteer at the State boat launch every weekend this summer, from 6 AM until 2 PM starting on Memorial Day weekend. All told we staffed 134 shifts for a total of 273 hours and conducted 421 boat inspections (including kayaks and canoes). For comparison, last season, our first summer doing CBI, we got a late start and ended up staffing just 85 two hour shifts during which we conducted 270 inspections. Last year we found 4 plants and this season we found 5. None of the plants found were considered invasive. Continue reading →
The hearing for oral arguments in the matter of Aquafortis Associates LLC (AQF) v. Board of Environmental Protection (docket AP-20-4) took place yesterday afternoon in Lincoln County Superior Court, Judge Daniel Billings presiding. The hearing was held using Google Meet (picture at left) and a few CLA board members including myself joined. I had planned on recording the hearing and making that recording available for viewing, but unlike Zoom meetings (with which I’m more familiar), recording is not an option with Google Meet. I did however take copious notes. Attorney for AQF Dennis Carrillo presented his case first, followed by Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak who represented the Board of Environmental Protection and finally, counsel for the Clary Lake Association Randy Creswell spoke. Judge Billings periodically asked questions. The hearing was scheduled to last 1 hour but it went considerably longer, about an hour and a half. Continue reading →
I have archived the August 2020 Water Level Chart (at left). August was characterized by extremely dry and and extremely hot weather which lead to considerable lake water loss due to evaporation. The anticipated influx of runoff from tropical storm Isaias at the beginning of the month never materialized, so our efforts to create a little headroom for storm water runoff only resulted in lowering the lake level two and a half inches, not that anyone noticed! From that level (-0.65 feet below the HWM) the lake level fell steadily at the rate of about 1/4 inch per day until a series of popup thunderstorms starting on August 24th brought some much needed rain to the area that helped keep the lake level from falling further. The lake ended up at -0.90 feet below the HWM. Historically, the water level in Clary would never have been this high in August. Continue reading →
We were as surprised as anyone when a No Swimming sign appeared at the State boat launch on Clary Lake a few weeks ago. We spoke to Diano Circo, Chief Planner at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) and asked about the sign. It appears there have been numerous complaints of swimmers not getting out of the way when a boater wants to launch or retrieve their craft, both at the Clary launch and at other State-owned launches around the State. According to Mr. Circo, the IF&W has decided to post all State-owned boat launches. Whether this is true or not we can’t say, but another reliable source has confirmed that the State does plan on taking this action in the near future. Department of Conservation rules of conduct at State boat launch facilities prohibit swimming at State-owned boat launches but the no swimming rule has generally not been enforced. That “look the other way” stance has apparently changed. Continue reading →
It appears the Aquafortis Associates LLC [AQF] appeal of the Water Level Order Transfer (docket AP-20-4) is going to hearing after all! A one-hour hearing for oral arguments has been scheduled in Lincoln County Superior Court on September 8th at 2:30 PM. The hearing will be held in front of the Honorable Daniel Billings using Google Meet (Google’s version of Zoom). I assume the hearing will be available to the general public but I don’t have information about how to connect yet. When I do I’ll make that information available. The State will be represented by Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak, the Clary Lake Association will be represented by Attorney Randy Creswell who so ably represented us during the Bankruptcy proceedings (and got us the dam!), and AQF is being represented by Dennis Carrillo. The Clary Lake Association is named as a Party in Interest in the appeal. Continue reading →
Jack Holland conducting courtesy boat inspections at the State boat launch. Photo by George Fergusson
Our Courtesy Boat Inspection program is running like a well oiled bicycle this summer, thanks to an energetic and committed volunteer work force. We got a bit of a late start last year, but this year we started boat inspections on Memorial Day weekend and have managed to have volunteers at the State boat launch every weekend from 6 AM until 2 PM ever since. To date we’ve staffed 93 two-hour shifts for a total of 192.1 volunteer hours and have conducted 315 inspections. So far this year we’ve only found one plant on an inbound boat that turned out not to be invasive. State-wide there have been 4,312 shifts (most are two hour shifts but some are longer) and 54,815 inspections conducted and 1,616 plants were found, 67 of which have been identified as invasive plants. I’d say the program is working! You can look at the data directly using the 2020 Maine Courtesy Boat Inspection Dashboard. Select the Clary Lake Association from the “Select Organization” list to see our data. Continue reading →
I have archived the July 2020 Water Level Chart (at left). For the third month in a row we’ve managed to maintain a relatively stable water level despite mild drought conditions prevalent at the start of the month. The lake level fluctuated only 1.5 inches from low to high over the course of the month, starting out at -0.50 feet and ending the month with the lake level at -0.41 feet. A number of people have let us know that they think the lake level this summer has been about perfect. We were shy of the monthly average rainfall until two back-to-back squalls on July 30th dumped a little over an inch of rain and pushed our monthly rainfall total to 3.77 inches, a little over the average for July of 3.54 inches. Because of an extra dry June, we’re still 0.28 inches below average for this date.
Tropical storm Isaias is due to pass through Maine this coming Tuesday night into Wednesday, and it has the potential of dropping several inches of rain, if not more. We’ve temporarily increased outflows so as to create a little head space to accommodate the anticipated storm water runoff. We don’t expect any significant flooding or a major change in the water level when it’s all said and done. Continue reading →
On Thursday July 9, 2020 Aquafortis Associates, LLC [AQF] filed their reply brief in the matter of AQF v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection [BEP] Docket No. WISSC-AP-20-4, it being an appeal of a Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] Order issued in December 2018 transferring the Clary Lake Water Level Order to the Clary Lake Association. AQF filed their initial brief on May 29th of this year; their reply brief is a combined reply to both the BEP’s brief filed on June 19th and the Clary Lake Association’s brief filed on June 25th. This latest document includes 52 pages but there are a number of attachments; the actual reply brief itself is actually only 16 pages long:
Now that AQF’s petition has been fully briefed, the next step is up to the Court. The judge may schedule a hearing for oral arguments or he may just issue a ruling. I have no idea what to expect or when to expect it. I’m going to refrain from further comment at this time.
Bill & Sue McKeen getting a plug in for the Whitefield Library.
Well the 4th of July 2020 Clary Lake Boat Parade happened, here are pictures to prove it. There were so many boats traveling at different speeds it was impossible to get one picture that showed all of them. There were boats all over the lake. What a sight! It was so well attended and so much fun that I can’t imagine it won’t happen again next year. Many thanks to Shanna Pease for organizing it!
Here’s a gallery of pictures. I took a lot of them, and people sent me even more pictures. It took a while to sort through and resize them and in the process I lost track of who took what so I’m sorry for the lack of attributions.
Ex-president and current CLA Board member Malcolm Burson has offered to lead one or more birding excursions in the Marsh at the northwest end of Clary Lake some weekend later in July (date to be determined). Both Malcolm and his partner Eleanor Goldberg are long time birders with considerable experience spotting and identifying birds. The plan would be to meet at and leave from Malcolm’s camp around 7 AM and head down the channel towards the dam.
Since birding at this time of year is mostly all about bird songs, participation is restricted to canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric trolling motors! To keep it to a manageable sized group, we’d like to limit it to roughly 6-7 vessels at a time, that way social distancing can be maintained without people getting too spread out. If there’s sufficient interest we’ll schedule a second expedition later in early August.
Right now Saturday July 18th or Sunday July 19th are looking like workable weekends. If you’re interested in participating in this event please let us know as soon as possible and include your preferred day (Saturday or Sunday) so we can start to finalize plans. You can use our Contact Form or just let George Fergusson know. Thanks!