Document Type


Study Date



Salmon Lake has a history of algal blooms which have decreased the recreational and aesthetic value of the lake (Nichols et al. 1984). As early as the 1920’s, Salmon Lake was reported to have poor water quality. Algal blooms were reported throughout the 1970’s. Numerous complaints led to a study in 1975 by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) and another in 1984 by the U.S. Geological Survey to determine the cause of the accelerated algal growth in the ponds. Both studies concluded that the primary cause of these algal blooms was high concentrations of phosphorus in the water. Through many smaller tributaries exist, three tributaries entering the ponds, Cold Brook and two unnamed streams, were reported to contribute to 69% of the phosphorus load. Major potential sources of phosphorus on the basin were identified in the 1975 MDEP study, including agricultural activities, logging, and the Oakland landfill.

The six major components of our study are: 1) to determine the water quality of Salmon Lake including abiotic and biotic parameters, focusing on phosphorus loading, 2) to assess potential nutrient areas by determining the water quality of the tributaries and possible sources of phosphorus leading into the lake, 3) to determine historical and current land use patterns within the watershed area and their influence on phosphorus levels in the lake, 4) to construct flushing rates and water budgets for the lake and the individual ponds; residence time of lake water is crucial to phosphorus accumulation, 5) to make future projections on levels of phosphorus and lake quality as a function of the land use and development in watershed, and 6) to make recommendations to the Lake Association, MDEP, and the towns of Belgrade and Oakland regarding ways to protect Salmon Lake from future nutrient loading, potential areas for future development, and areas unsuited for development.

The preservation of Salmon Lake is important because of its aesthetic value, recreational uses, and ecological significance as part of the Belgrade chain, as well as its use as a supply of drinking-water. The goal of this report is to increase understanding of the importance of lake water quality. Informing residents is fundamental to the future quality of Salmon Lake. We hope that this study will encourage residents of Oakland and Belgrade to take an active role in protecting the lake.


Publication Date: Spring 1994

Date of Study: Fall 1993

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