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ICE COVERAGE

Maine’s lakes enjoy some of the best water quality in the country, for the simple reason that they have some of the coldest water in the country.  Lake health, including the health of the fish population, is directly correlated to water temperature, which, in turn, is directly correlated to the length of time that a lake maintains its ice covering.  Climate change is shortening the time each year when Maine lakes are ice covered, and this may eventually result in a decline in water quality and adverse effects for lake fish populations.  The Portland Press-Herald has published a couple of articles on this topic in recent years.  Please see: 

Diminishing Ice Cover on Maine's Lakes Could Impact Fish Populations. and

Increasingly early ice-outs on Maine waters open up new environmental problems, experts say (pressherald.com)
The Lake Stewards of Maine have also written on this topic: Ice Data in Maine Lakes.

 

As for West Harbor Pond, Leslie Volpe has been monitoring ice-in/ice-out since 2010, and the data that she has collected are compiled in the table below.   Leslie explains that she uses "the same criteria that the volunteer monitor for the pond has used for many years: we define ice-out as 75% open water AND an open channel that a boat could get through from inlet (culverts at Lakeside) to outlet (fish ladder at the causeway)".

 

You will note that in 2024 the Pond was ice covered for only 47 days, the shortest period in Leslie’s data (the previous shortest period was 2021, with 49 days).  This is just over 50% of the average value from the table, at 86 days.

© 2024 by West Harbor Pond Watershed Association.

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