April 27, 2017

2017 Ice Out on the Lake

Filed under: General Info,Lake Observations — Buddy @ 9:53 pm

Ice out occurred on our lake this year on April 21st.


August 22, 2015

Tense Moments Identifying an Aquatic Plant on Androscoggin Lake

Filed under: Events & News,Lake Observations — Buddy @ 12:45 am

There are currently 24 water bodies in the state of Maine which have been identified with infestations of invasive aquatic plants.  Looking at the current invasives map published by the Maine DEP, it is easy to see that the majority of infestations in Maine are of variable water-milfoil.  Last year, only 23 water bodies were on the list of invasive plant infestations.  Sadly, the 24th lake to be added this year was Annabessacook Lake, in Winthrop.   The good news is that early detection of variable water-milfoil on Annabessacook has allowed concentrated efforts by both the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP) and the Maine DEP to make good progress toward possibly eliminating this nasty invasive from Annabessacook.

While 24 water bodies is still less than 1% of the total number of water bodies in our state, an inspection of the invasives map quickly highlights the threat to our own beautiful lake.  The proximity of other infested water bodies to our north, south, east, and west is alarming.

Boat inspections are vital to keeping invasives out of our lake.   And, our lake association, ALIC, continues to promote inspections both through education and by sponsoring a program of Courtesy Boat Inspections at the state launch.

But, when the first line of defense fails, early detection is key.  Early detection can help to isolate an infestation to a small area, increasing the chances of eradication.   Last year, ALIC rolled out an “eyes on the water” initiative for Androscoggin Lake.  This program helps people to adopt small segments of shoreline around the lake and to become familiar with the native plants in both their adopted segments and around the lake.   By learning how to identify what is native to our lake, participants in the program quickly learn how to send out an alert when something suspicious, or unfamiliar, is found.  ALIC provides participants with one-on-one hands-on training, tools, resources, and support.

Yesterday, I went out with a new “eyes on the water” volunteer, Alberta Messer, to harvest aquatic plants in her adopted lake segment near her camp, around Davis point, and into the western end of the cove near the Yacht Club.  This was something of a training exercise, with focus on how to best collect aquatic plants for further inspection.

This afternoon, I met with Alberta again to continue our training exercise by identifying all of the plants that we had seen and collected the day before.   Everything seemed fairly routine;  I’ve already trained a number of participants;  and, I wasn’t really expecting any surprises.   But, then, as we were starting to wrap up the identification part of our training, we found some milfoil!

Okay, yes, milfoil!   But, no reason to panic yet.   There are actually several varieties of milfoil which are native to Maine lakes.  And, in fact, plant patrol teams on our lake have identified at least one native milfoil in our lake, alternate-flowered water-milfoil.   While it is not commonly found in our lake, it is present, and it is native.

We inspected the harvested specimen closely.   It had whorls of finely divided feathered leaves, typical of many milfoils, both native and invasive.  Each whorl of leaves was typically comprised of 4 leaves, but a few with 3.  Each leaf had 5 to 7 leaflet pairs.   And, each whorl was about 4 cm apart.   Looking at the Leafy Milfoil Comparison Chart, we came to the conclusion that this was either variable water-milfoil (invasive) or alternate-flowered water-milfoil (native).

Did we have an invasive on our hands? … tense moments ensued.  This did not quite look like any variable water-milfoil specimen that I had seen in the past.   But, perhaps, it was just an immature specimen.  Frankly, I did start to panic a bit.  I called Debbie Hite, ALIC Executive Director and plant identification expert, to let her know what we had found.   Debbie rushed over.  She, too, felt that the plant was likely alternate-flowered water-milfoil (native), especially given its small size and only a pinkish, rather than reddish, stem.   But, given that this was certainly a variety of milfoil, we decided it best to follow protocol for any and all milfoils and to submit the sample to the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP) for absolute identification.

I was able to deliver our specimen to VLMP by 4:30pm today.   And, luckily, VLMP was able to confirm that our specimen was, in fact, alternate-flowered water-milfoil (native).   Sigh of relief …

The whorls on our specimen were distinct, evenly spaced, and of small diameter;   the stem was pinkish, rather than reddish.  An invasive variable water-milfoil specimen would have sported whorls that were so closely spaced that it would be difficult to distinguish one whorl from the next;  and, whorls would be of larger diameter.

Everyone who has any connection with Androscoggin Lake is certainly concerned with the threat of invasive species to our lake.  Whether you are an ALIC member, a lake shore resident, a resident of Leeds or Wayne, or an occasional visitor to our lake, please do your part.   Inspect your boats for potential hitchhikers.  If you are a business or campground on the lake, put in place a program of voluntary inspections.   Volunteer to help out with our courtesy boat inspection program.   And, participate in our “eyes on the water” program by adopting a lake segment;   monitoring your lake segment can require as little as 2 hours per year of your time!

To find out more about either the “courtesy boat inspection” program or the “eyes on the water” program, send e-mail to

To date, there are no known infestations of invasive aquatic plants on Androscoggin Lake.   Let’s all what we can in helping to keep it that way!


April 17, 2015

Thinning Ice

Filed under: General Info,Lake Observations — Debbie @ 4:53 pm

The ice is ebbing away from the shoreline and there are pockets of thin ice throughout the lake. There’s open water in the south end of Frenchman’s Cove in Leeds and the Dead River is flowing freely. Won’t be long now before Ice Out. Post your observations on our FB page and stay tuned for more.

October 8, 2014

Gauge on the Dead River retired by the USGS

Filed under: Dam Maintenance,Events & News,General Info,Lake Observations — Buddy @ 11:35 pm

Unfortunately, the USGS gauge on the Dead River will be taken out of service on October 31, 2014.

Since 2003, this gauge has provided many of us with valuable data regarding the level of our lake.   Both historical and instantaneous lake level data has been available at the USGS site.  The ALIC website,, includes a link to the USGS page for this gauge.

The USGS page for the Dead River gauge currently includes the following alert:

Due to lack of funding, data from this station will be discontinued on October 31, 2014. Please contact Greg Stewart at 207-622-8201 x118 or for any questions.

ALIC has already taken steps to capture and save as much of this data as possible for archival purposes.  But, if you want to take advantage of the full set of analytical tools available at the USGS site, our understanding is that you must do it before October 31.


John (Buddy) Cummings
Secretary, Androscoggin Lake Improvement Corporation (ALIC)

June 24, 2014

Recording lake levels

Filed under: General Info,Lake Observations — Debbie @ 4:15 pm

ALIC is conducting an informal study of lake levels as they vary throughout the summer. On the 15th and 30th of each month, designated observers around the lake are 1.) recording the USGS gauge readings – accessible on our website – and 2.) noting shorefront conditions such as available beach area, exposure of rocks, etc. ALIC members are invited to also participate when they are in the area by reporting their observations via e-mail to All of the reports will be compiled and a meeting called later in the summer to discuss the implications.

July 1, 2011

Eagle observation

Filed under: Lake Observations — Debbie @ 3:07 pm

A recent inquiry from the Monmouth end of the lake regarding apparent inactivity of the eagles prompted me to check in with Anne H.,  our wildlife observer, who offers the following report.   Keep your eyes to the skies and share your observations on our website.   

“I saw them quite often early March and April before the trees leafed out. The old favorite perch tree blew down and I haven’t been able to find the current favorite perch. They didn’t use Norris Island much at all. They were working on the nest and as far as I could tell from my much abbreviated monitoring (checks every couple of days rather than multiple daily checks), they were incubating. I don’t think it’s the same pair because the perch patterns were so different but of course that is total guesswork on my part. Then the trees leafed out and I couldn’t see them any more. We went out in the boat a couple of days ago and didn’t get real close to the island, I saw nothing. We did see what appeared to be 6 loons all in a group which is pretty weird this time of year I think. “

April 4, 2010

Loons and Peepers

Filed under: General Info,Lake Observations — Blog Admin @ 11:32 pm

April 1:   No joke.    I heard the first loon calls of the season this morning.    Later in the day, the peepers and bullfrogs formed an evening chorus which resonated from the flooded shoreland of our property.    Welcome back, lake creatures! 

March 17, 2010

Ice Out!

Filed under: Events & News,Lake Observations — Blog Admin @ 9:22 pm

Who would have thought last year that we’d have open water on Androscoggin Lake on St. Patrick’s Day?     Looks like the last thin sheet of ice lingering on the Leeds side of the lake may be melted tomorrow.    Last spring’s ice out was April 12.    Happy Spring, everyone! 

May 1, 2009

Spring View

Filed under: Lake Observations — Blog Admin @ 4:20 pm


This photo of Frenchman’s Cove was taken by Debbie late last Spring. Now,  April 4, 2010 the boulder pictured is almost completely submerged by the current high water level due to three days of rain last week.  

July 18, 2008

Plant Survey turns up Blob

Filed under: Lake Observations — Debbie @ 2:18 pm


On Friday July 18, one of the plant patrol teams came across this blob attached to a semi-submerged log in the Inner Cove on the Wayne side of the lake.   It is a firm, gelatinous mass weighing nearly two lbs.   An e-mail inquiry to VLMP (the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program) produced a “positive” identification.   Our blob is a bryozoan colony of water invertebrates (aka “zooids”) which are filter feeders.  Their life cycle is short – a few weeks – depending on water temps, predatory fish, snails, and some aquatic insects.  The presence of such a colony is a positive indicator of lake water quality as one cannot flourish in contaminated water.    An interesting and satisfying find!

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