To fulfill our mission to "preserve and protect West Harbor Pond," the WHPWA performs two forms of water quality monitoring: clarity readings and water chemistry measurements.
The WHPWA performs Secchi disk clarity readings twice monthly from May through October in collaboration with the Lake Stewards of Maine (LSM). Water clarity is affected by algal growth and other suspended matter in the water, and the Secchi disk, which measures clarity, is a generally reliable tool for quickly and inexpensively assessing lake water quality. Collecting Secchi transparency data over time permits the WHPWA and the LSM to identify and track long-term water quality trends in the Pond.
With the support and equipment of the Boothbay Harbor Sewer District, the WHPWA also regularly collects and tests shore-side water samples for e. coli. At two locations in the middle of the Pond, the WHPWA tests the entire water column to measure dissolved oxygen and conductivity, key metrics that provide valuable information about the Pond's health.
Conductivity is a measure of the ability of water to conduct an electrical current and is affected by the presence of inorganic dissolved solids such as sodium. Measuring conductivity is a way to monitor the salinity levels in the Pond.
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) is a measure of how much oxygen is dissolved in the water. It is needed by fish to survive. DO is reduced by bacteria in the water that consume oxygen from decaying organic matter such as pond weed and leaves. For certain species of fish, like brown trout, the Pond's DO readings below the 12'-15' level are insufficient for these fish to survive, while the water temperatures above this level are too warm to support them.