Water conservation

Ross Swain and the Ellis Pond Sidekicks defend their beloved Silver Lake

Members of the Ellis Pond Sidekicks and the Lake Stewards of Maine pose at Roxbury Pond last summer during a vegetable paddle sponsored by Lake Stewards of Maine. The group discovered native and invasive aquatic plants in Maine. The event was chaired by Invasive Species Program Director Roberta Hill and Education and Outreach Coordinator Drew Perlmutter. From left to right, Amy and Kurt Berg, standing, Drew Perlmutter, Carl Wahlstrom, Elisa Knapp, Nancy Wahlstrom, Nancy Lovelace, Barbara Chambers, Anita Derouche, Ross Swain, Mary LaPointe, Michele Windsor, Roberta Hill and Lora Greene. We don’t see Jim Greene behind Nancy Wahlstrom. Submitted photo

ROXBURY – Ross Swain started Ellis Pond Sidekicks and his Facebook page four years ago to educate people on how to keep the pond healthy. The members of Sidekicks are now over 1,000.

A resident of East Andover, Swain owns a renovated camp on Ellis Pond which has been in his family since the 1950s. The pond, which straddles the Roxbury-Byron urban line, is also known as Silver Lake and Roxbury Pond .

Swain is a director of the Ellis Pond Sidekicks and writes monthly newsletters to give people who love and love the pond a better understanding of what can be done to help protect water quality.

He and his wife, Christine, volunteer with Lake Stewards of Maine, a nonprofit lake watch organization. Although he had no scientific background and described his pre-retirement career as a “handyman,” he credits his knowledge of the lake at 27 years of choosing the brains of Lake Stewards’ staff. Maine.

Swain visits his lookout point at Ellis Pond’s “deep hole” every two weeks to observe and record the clarity and depth of the water for Lake Stewards of Maine.

In his November 4 newsletter, he explained how he confirms that the pond has completed its “fall renewal or mix”. He also noted on the group’s Facebook page how members can click on links that explain this annual event.

One point that he made the Facebook page, and that he understands does not agree with some lakeside landowners and other stakeholders, is that he thinks it is best to have a slightly lower water level in the pond. “If you have a water level above historical levels,” he said, the water eats away at the banks, eroding the banks along the shore, which also erodes the water quality of the river. pond.

In a graph on his Ellis Pond Sidekicks page showing water levels measured from the top of a large submerged boulder to the surface of the lake, much of this year’s level was between 18 and 24 inches, this which, according to Swain, is best for water quality and for preventing erosion of its banks.

In comparison, on September 29, 2020, the level of 14.5 inches, the lowest recorded since 1999. The highest water level recorded on the Swain chart is 52.5 inches on July 25, 2008.

Swain also included a link on his Ellis Pond Sidekicks page to a page to raise $ 2,000 for scholarships for three students to attend the University of Maine’s 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond in the summer, for lake-related donations, nonprofits in Maine and New Hampshire and for a garden and flags on Main Street in Roxbury Pond.

In 2019, Swain was recognized in the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District 2019 annual report for his work as a ‘Citizen Scientist’ at Roxbury Pond. He notes, among many attributes, that scientific observations by him and his wife of the pond of a late-season algal bloom in 2013 led to a watershed study in the spring of 2014 and a grant successful water protection program in 2016-2018.

Ross Swain of East Andover works with an aquascope and a Secchi record in 2009 on Ellis Pond in Roxbury. His group administrator, the Ellis Pond Sidekicks, has been recording water quality for the nonprofit Lake Stewards of Maine for over 20 years. Submitted photo

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