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Sebago Maine Town Seal
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Natural Resources
H. NATURAL RESOURCES

Topography

The Town of Sebago is bisected by the Northwest River, which flows south from Peabody Pond and east to Sebago Lake at East Sebago. Beech Ridge rises to 1011 feet between Peabody Pond and Hancock Pond in the northwest corner of town: several steep hills, including Peaked Mountain at 1105 feet, lie northeast of the river: and the Saddleback Hills, which include Douglas Mountain and Dykes Mountain, are found in the southwest quadrant of town. Douglas Mountain, at elevation 1407, is the highest point in Sebago and Cumberland County, Sebago Lake, at elevation 267, is the lowest point.

Soils

The most common soils in Sebago are sandy loams that have formed from glacial deposits.  Many of the soil types are stony and/or on steep slopes, limiting their potential for many types of land use.  Along the Northwest River and its tributaries there are deposits or organic and other poorly drained soils.

Six soil types that are considered to be of statewide importance for agriculture are found in Sebago.  The area southeast of Hancock Pond, east of Hancock Pond Road, and west of Route 107 has the largest expanse of prime agricultural soils, with others being found in and near Convene and Hillside.  Soils of statewide importance for forestry also are found in these areas, as well as west of Sebago Center.  Smaller areas of prime soils are scattered throughout town.


Soils that are suitable for septic systems are found throughout town.  The largest areas with severed constraints are adjacent to the Northwest River in the central part of town and the Douglas Mountain and Dyke Mountain area in the South.



Land Cover

Most of Sebago is forested.  Areas that have been cleared are generally immediately adjacent to homes and in the more densely populated village areas such as North Sebago.  Approximately one-third of the town is classified as tree growth; of this area, almost half is mixed hardwoods and softwoods, 30 percent is hardwoods, and 20 percent is softwoods.  Five percent of the area within the town’s borders is water bodies.

Forest resources are plentiful in Sebago.  About ten percent of the town is owned by paper or lumber companies.  


Wetlands

The largest area of wetlands is along the Northwest River and its tributaries, Bachelder Brook and Nason’s Brook, which flow into Sebago Lake.  Streams that flow into Southwest Pond, Hancock Pond, and Peabody Pond also support bordering wetlands.

Protection of wetlands is strongly supported by residents.  In the 1989 survey, 69 percent of respondents would like to see wetland protection regulations that are more stringent than the existing state requirements.  In 2000, 98 percent of respondents indicated that the protection of natural resources was important to them.

Prime agricultural soils are relatively scarce in Sebago.  In the past there has not been strong development pressure on agricultural lands because they are concentrated on the western side of town, while most development has occurred on the eastern side, near Sebago Lake.  As more homes have been built inland in recent years, this situation is beginning to change.

Surface Water Resources

There are eight lakes or ponds in or bordering the Town of Sebago, and with the possible exception of Mariner (Mill) Pond, all are Great Ponds  The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has collected information on the water quality status of some of these water bodies and categorized them based on water clarity and algae levels.  Table A-8 lists the water quality class assigned to each pond, as well as additional lakes outside the Town with portions of their watersheds in Sebago.  It should be noted that lakes with insufficient monitoring data are automatically assigned moderate sensitive/quality status.

Sebago Lake is used as a drinking water supply by the Portland Water District and some shorefront residences and also serves as a major recreational resource for the region.  Sebago Lake, Peabody Pond, Barker Pond and Hancock Pond have many homes, primarily seasonal residences, along their shores.  The other ponds have little or no adjacent development.





Table A-8
Lake Water Quality Classification

Water Body
Direct Drainage Area
(Acres in Sebago
DEP Water Quality Classification
F-Value
(Lbs/ppb/Yr)
Sebago Lake
12,214
Outstanding
364.46
Barker Pond
1,062
Moderate/Sensitive
15.01
Brown’s Pond
659
Moderate/Sensitive
5.71
Hancock Pond
1,025
Good
17.70
Mariner (Mill) Pond
2,379
Moderate/Sensitive
16.69
Peabody Pond
1,151
Moderate/Sensitive
21.69
Perley Pond
81
Moderate/Sensitive
0.99
Southeast Pond
1,312
Moderate/Sensitive
122.20




Water Bodies in Another Community; Portion of Watershed in Sebago
Adams Pond
76
Moderate/Sensitive
0.61
Cold Rain Pond
34
Moderate/Sensitive
0.28
Ingalls Pond
44
Good
0.52


DEP Water Quality Classifications

Outstanding:            Usually clear, very little algae
Good:                   Clear, little algae
Moderate/Stable:        Less clear, moderate algae levels
Moderate Sensitive:     Less clear, potential for algae blooms
Poor/restorable:        Consistent algae blooms - can be restored
Poor/low quality:       Long history of algae blooms, restoration not feasible


Summary of Monitoring Efforts/Quality/Status

Sebago Lake – Sebago Lake has outstanding water quality and is monitored closely by the Portland Water District. However, due to its regional significance it is on the NPS (non-point source pollution) Priority Watersheds List and list of lakes Most at Risk from New Development.


Barker Pond – There is very little monitoring data available.  However, according to the Maine DEP, existing data indicates that the lake has a moderate to high potential for nuisance algal blooms, moderate dissolved oxygen depletion, and moderate to high risk of internal loading. Due to its threatened status, there is a need to find a water quality monitor for this pond to get a better sense of the status.


Brown’s Pond – There is no monitoring data available for this pond. Since this pond is over 100 acres in size, the Maine DEP advises that a volunteer monitor should be found for this water body.


Hancock Pond – The Lake Environmental Association (LEA) and a Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP)-certified volunteer monitor Hancock’s water quality. According to LEA’s 2004 Lake Testing Report, the lake is listed as a Moderate to High Concern due to fluctuating conditions. The Maine DEP has included Hancock Pond on its NPS Priority Watersheds List and list of lakes Most at Risk from New Development. Hancock Pond has an active lake association.


Mariner (Mill) Pond - There is no monitoring data available for this pond.

Peabody Pond – LEA and a VLMP-certified volunteer monitor Peabody Pond. LEA’s 2004 Lake Testing Report states that the lake has excellent water quality, but lists it as a Moderate Concern due to low dissolved oxygen levels and possible impairment of the pond’s cold water fishery. Peabody Pond is on the State’s NPS Priority Watersheds List. Peabody Pond has an active lake association.

Perley Pond – There is no monitoring data available for this pond.

Southeast Pond - There is very little monitoring data for Southeast Pond. Since this pond is well over 100 acres in size, the Maine DEP advises that a volunteer monitor should be found for this water body.

Ground Water

There are seven significant sand and gravel aquifers located in Sebago.  All seven are rated in the 10-50 gallons per minute category.  Two of the aquifers are located under portions of the town that are densely developed: East Sebago and North Sebago.  The largest aquifer is located in the Northwest River corridor.  Other areas where aquifers are located include Hancock Pond, Barker Pond, Southeast Pond and on the Hiram border adjacent to Middle Pond.


With the exception of a few homes and businesses that use lake water, individual wells are the source of potable water in Sebago.  There is no public water supply system.  Table A-10 lists water supplies that serve 25 or more people at least 30 days per year.

Threats to Water Resources

There are no documented direct discharges to water bodies in Sebago.  Potential non-point sources of pollution include septic systems, underground storage tanks, road runoff, landfills, and salt storage facilities, which are described below.  No serious problems with water quality are known to be occurring in Sebago at this time; however, most individual wells are not routinely tested for quality, so it is possible that there may be problems that are undetected.  It should be noted, however, that in 1992, Portland Water District studied water quality at well points installed along the shorefront in Long Beach.  Their conclusions, which indicate overall satisfactory ratings, are available on file in the Portland office.

There is no public sewerage in Sebago.  Residences and businesses depend on on-site disposal systems.  Many of the older subdivisions in town have small lot sizes.  For example, the typical lot in Long Beach is 5000 square feet, with a septic system on each lot.  The current Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal code requires a (new) minimum lot area of 20,000 square feet if both a well and a septic system are needed, with at least 100 feet between them.

TABLE A-9
RIVERS AND STREAMS OF SEBAGO
Northwest River
Bachelder Brook
Mill Brook
Breakneck Brook
Douglas Brook
Stony Brook
Hill Brook
Hanson Brook
Lakin Brook
Middle Pond Stream
Nason Brook
Pikes Brook

There are two major drainage basins partially with Sebago; the Sebago Lake watershed and Saco River watershed.
The impact of road runoff on water quality has not been measured.  Because many of the roads in town are close to the edge of lakes, it is probable that chemicals, metals, and sediments from roads are being washed into water bodies.

The existing town transfer station is located adjacent to the major aquifer in town.  Nothing is disposed of on-site.  Everything brought to the transfer station is shipped to Pine Tree Waste facilities.  The old landfill is closed and covered.

The town’s sand and salt storage facility and the Public Works Garage are in East Sebago and are located over an aquifer.

Quality Gas and Village Auto Repair are located on Route 114 in East Sebago.  There is an above-ground storage tank which is enclosed by concrete, but exposed to the air.  In addition, both marinas on Sebago Lake handle petroleum products.


There is an abandoned sawmill site on the Northwest River, between Route 114 and Sebago Lake.  This mill has been abandoned since the 1960s.




TABLE A-10
WATER SUPPLIES SERVING 25 OR MORE PEOPLE
(currently in operation)

Name                            Groundwater or Surface Water                    Population

Camp O-AT-KA                            GW/SW                                   125
Camp Micah                                      GW/SW                                   350
Four Seasons Variety                               GW                                   36
Goodwin’s Lodge                         GW/SW                                    40
Rustic Barrel                                       GW                                          150
Nason’s Beach Campground                GW/SW                                   150
Richard’s Dairy Delight                     GW                                           25
Round Table Lodge                                   SW                                           50
Sebago Elementary School                            GW                                          125
Sebago Lake Camps                                   GW                                           32
Yankee Doodle Cottages                              GW                                           48


Water Resources Requiring Interlocal Management

Several water bodies and watersheds are in or border more than one town in the area.  These include:

-Sebago Lake (13 towns)
-Peabody Pond (Naples, Bridgton, Sebago)
-Hancock Pond (Hiram, Denmark, and Sebago)
-Middle Pond (Hiram, access through Sebago)
-Cold Rain Pond (Naples, watershed in Sebago)
-Southeast Pond (Hiram, Baldwin, Sebago)
-Barker Pond (Hiram, Sebago)
-Woods Millpond (Baldwin, Sebago)

The Portland Water District has prepared a phosphorus allocation plan for the direct watershed of Sebago Lake and a watershed management plan for the entire Sebago Lake watershed.

Hazard Areas

Flood hazard areas have been mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Most of these are along the Northwest River and its tributaries.

Wildlife Habitat

Beginning with Habitat Program.
A number of State agencies and conservation organizations are working together to secure Maine’s outdoor legacy through a program called “Beginning with Habitat.” The program is a habitat-based landscape approach to assessing wildlife and plant conservation needs and opportunities. The goal of the program is to maintain sufficient habitat to support all native plant and animal species currently breeding in Maine by providing each Maine town with a collection of maps and accompanying information depicting and describing various habitats of statewide and national significance found in the town.  These maps provide communities with information that can help guide conservation of valuable habitats.

The agencies participating in the Beginning with Habitat program include the Natural Areas Program of the Department of Conservation, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Audubon Society, the State Planning Office, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Service.

Types of Habitat in Sebago.  The Beginning with Habitat Program has identified three general habitat types in Sebago:
        
1.      Riparian habitat.  Riparian habitat is the transitional zones between aquatic habitats and wetlands and dry or upland habitats and includes the banks of shores and streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, and the upland edge of wetlands. Riparian habitat provides habitat for many plants and animals occurring in Maine.  Towns have the opportunity to protect a large portion of riparian habitat simply by fully enacting and enforcing Maine’s shoreland zoning provisions. This includes a 75-foot buffer around larger streams and a 250-foot buffer around rivers, lakes, ponds and non-forested wetlands greater than 10 acres.  As shown on the Beginning with Habitat maps, Sebago’s riparian habitat includes the 250-foot shoreland area adjacent to Sebago Lake, Peabody Pond, Mill Pond, Perley Pond, Hancock Pond, Browns Pond, Barker Pond, Southeast Pond, and major wetlands including those adjacent to Northwest River and Nason Brook.

2.      Large habitat blocks.  Large habitat blocks provide habitat for certain plants and animals not already included in riparian habitat (number 1, above) or high value habitats (number 3, below). Large habitat blocks are relatively unbroken areas of habitat which includes forest, grassland/agricultural, water or wetlands.  “Unbroken” means that the habitat is crossed by few roads, and has relatively little development and human habitation.  These blocks are especially important to species with large home ranges, such as bobcat, and other species such as the black-throated blue warbler, who may have small home ranges but will only be successful over the long term in larger habitat blocks. Large blocks are also more likely to include a wider diversity of species than smaller blocks.

Blocks between one and 19 acres are home to species typical of urban and suburban landscapes (e.g. raccoons, skunks, and squirrels).  Blocks of 250 acres begin to provide habitat for area-sensitive birds that are uncommon in smaller forests and grasslands such as the scarlet tanager and the grassland species upland sandpiper and grasshopper sparrow.  Moose, bald eagles, goshawks and similar species usually require 500 to 2,500 acres while blocks greater than 2,500 acres may hold the full complement of species expected to occur in Maine.

Large forested habitat blocks in Sebago include all of the land areas that are at least 500 feet from public roads.  The largest habitat block is the one associated with Northwest River.


3.      High value plant and animal habitats.  High value plant and animal habitats include rare plant locations and rare or exemplary natural habitat (for deer, waterfowl and wading birds, heron rookeries), and rare animal locations (for endangered species and species of special concern), as identified and mapped by the Natural Areas Program and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. High value habitat for United States Fish and Wildlife Service priority trust species is also included. Several of these habitats are offered some degree of protection under state law but may warrant further local protection. High value plant and animal habitats in Sebago include the following:

Rare or Exemplary Natural Communities.  This includes natural communities that are either rare types or outstanding examples of more common types (field-verified within the past 20 years).  Such communities include the freshwater forested and non-forested wetlands associated with Northwest River south of Folly Road, the unpatterned fen ecosystem along Northwest River, and the Pitch Pine woodland just east of Middle Pond in Hiram (located in both Hiram and Sebago).

Significant wildlife habitats.  These are habitats of State significance that are protected by Maine’s Natural Resources Protection Act.  Significant wildlife habitats in Sebago include:

Two deer wintering areas: one located just south of Folly Road and east of Perley Pond, and the second located between Route 107 and Hancock Pond.

A number of waterfowl/wading bird habitat areas including areas along Northwest River and Nason Brook, an area around Mill Pond, and an area southeast of Middle Pond in Hiram.

Rare animal locations. These include the New England Bluet (southeast side of Perley Pond); Pine Barrens Bluet (northeast side of Perley Pond); and the New England Cottontail (north of 114/107 junction).

Focus Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance. These are areas where the following significant natural features are known to occur together: rare plants and animals; exemplary natural communities; essential and significant wildlife habitats; and/or large undeveloped habitat blocks. The focus area in Sebago is Perley Pond.