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Why Join Branch Lake Association

Often we are asked, why join BLA at a higher level than just $20.

There are plenty of reasons. Here is what more we could do to help preserve the beauty of Branch Lake if we had the funding: $20 Membership at this level just covers the cost of “keeping the lights on” - legal requirements and filings, insurance, and printing the newsletter.

$50 - This pays for a single (1) phosphorus analysis of our lake’s water. Phosphorus is the #1 killer of lakes - it promotes algae growth, contributes to a loss of water clarity and leads to oxygen depletion in deep water.

$200 - This pays for a single IPP ranger viewing scope. Our IPP rangers do a critical job, checking shallow areas of the lake for invasive aquatic plants. A scope is an essential tool for an accurate survey. We typically replace 2 a year.

$500 - This pays for two (2) hazard markers on the lake. We typically replace 2 a year. Hazard markers are important for boater safety and help prevent oil leaks into the lake from a boat which has hit a rock.

$1000 - The cost for one year of a comprehensive bacterial monitoring program around the lake. When a septic system fails, bacteria counts in the area increase sharply. Often, an increase in bacterial counts heralds a coming algae bloom (failing septics systems also put lots of phosphorus in the water)

$2500 - This is the cost of a comprehensive water quality sampling plan to measure phosphorus and other chemical measures of the lake’s water quality. Over time, these provide insight into long term trends and highlights hotspots that require more attention and remediation.

$3000 - This is the annual cost of a comprehensive invasive aquatic plant detection plan using environmental DNA (eDNA) eDNA is a new technology using genetic sequencing to detect specific species of plants. eDNA is the most accurate and effective way to detect an invasive aquatic plant infestation in the earliest stages, when eradication is easiest. IPP rangers, boat inspections are still crucial components of our prevention and surveillance plan, eDNA augments that program significantly.

$7500 - 3 grants to Road Associations around the lake to help fix road-caused pollution problems. Road associations are among our most important partners in helping to keep the lake healthy, as often, roads are the single greatest contributor to sediment pollution in the lake (sediment has a lot of phosphorus).

This program assists in important upgrades to private roads around the lake in order to reduce pollution to the lake

Benefits of Membership

Branch Lake Association works independently and with towns, Hancock County Soil & Water and other lake conservation groups to help maintain Branch Lake’s clarity and beauty. When you join the Branch Lake Association you are supporting:
  • Access to Forums, including a Lost & Found, Marketplace and Suspicious Plant Identification.
  • Access to Interests - find others on the lake who share your passions. 
  • Invasive Plant Patrol - A group of volunteers who survey the entire lake looking for invasive aquatic species. As with many things, early detection makes for easier removal of these invasive plants. Branch Lake has the longest continuously running Invasive Plant Patrol in the state of Maine.
  • Water Quality Monitoring – A group of volunteers who measure water clarity and, when budget permits, chemical sampling of the lake’s water to identify trends and problem areas needing attention.
  • Loon Count – Our annual Loon Count gives biologists a view into loon populations. Loons are the canary in the coal mine for the lake; declining loon populations are often the first sign of environmental stress on the lake, poor fish stocks and declining water clarity.
  • Navigational Makers – In partnership with the City of Ellsworth, BLA maintains navigational and hazard markers around the lake