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Sebago Maine Town Seal
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Natural Resource
NATURAL RESOURCES

Water Resources

Maintenance of the existing high quality of Sebago's water resources will continue to be a high priority for the Town. Sebago Lake, especially, is a resource of regional as well as local importance. Cooperation with other towns in the Sebago Lake watershed and the Portland Water District will be necessary in order to protect the lake's current "outstanding" water quality classification.
Other priority areas for protection are the Northwest River, and the many local ponds, streams, lakes and wetlands. There is strong local support for increased water resource protection regulations. Inter-local cooperation with the Towns of Naples, Bridgton, Hiram, Denmark Standish and Baldwin will be needed to protect regional water resources.
Groundwater protection also will continue to be important. Local residents prefer to rely on individual wells for their drinking water, and the maintenance of high groundwater quality throughout the town will be necessary if this practice is to continue.

Goal:

To protect the quality and manage the quantity of the Town’s water resources, including lakes, aquifers, great ponds, rivers and streams.


Policies
Strategies
Responsibility/Date

1.      Surface water resources –  general. Maintain the high quality of Sebago’s surface water resources.

A.      Phosphorus controls. Amend local ordinances to require the submission of a phosphorus control plan, and an erosion control plan for all new developments along water bodies and in the watersheds of great ponds. Require that phosphorus assessments and mitigation strategies adhere to the Department of Environmental Protection’s phosphorus methodology.

B.      Water quality monitoring. Work with the Lakes Environmental Association, the Portland Water District, and/or other organizations to ensure continued water quality monitoring of Sebago’s surface water bodies.

C.      Seasonal conversions. Strictly regulate conversion of seasonal dwellings to year-round dwellings in accordance with the State Plumbing Code and the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance to minimize the impact of inadequate subsurface sewage disposal systems.
D.       Potential sewage disposal problem areas. Identify areas where sewage disposal systems may not comply with state subsurface wastewater disposal requirements, because of small lots, high water table, or other such conditions.  Use property tax maps and the natural resources maps developed in conjunction with this Plan, as well as any other available resources, to identify such areas.

E.      Sewage disposal monitoring system. Develop a system for monitoring sewage disposal systems, in order to prevent surface or ground water pollution resulting from malfunctioning or inadequate systems.  Give top priority to identified areas where sewage disposal systems may not comply with subsurface wastewater disposal requirements.

F.      Pumping requirement. Require that all septic systems over 10 years old which are within 250 feet of any lake, pond or stream be checked regularly and be pumped out at least every five years, with provisions for enforcement by the Code Enforcement Officer.

G.      Sewage from boats. Consider working with the Portland Water District and other towns and the private sector to establish wastewater disposal services for boat owners.


H.      Milfoil. Work with the Portland Water District and other towns to continue efforts to control/eliminate invasive aquatic plants. Consider the inspection of motorboats, and aquatic plant surveys.


I.      Public education. Use the Town’s website, as well as periodic mailings (tax bills, annual report) to educate residents on the importance of protecting water quality.  Focus on practical steps the property owner can take such as limiting or avoiding lawn fertilizers, maintaining septic systems, correcting erosion, leaving as much of the shorefront as possible in its natural condition, on the proper methods for disposing of hazardous household materials and wastes, as well as actions that boat owners can take to minimize the milfoil hazard.

J.      Watershed management. Work with neighboring towns, the Maine DEP, the Portland Water District and the Cumberland Soil and Water Conservation District to develop approaches to regional watershed and aquifer recharge management.





Planning Board/Town/
2007





Planning Board/ Code Enforcement Officer/ Town/Ongoing


Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing




Code Enforcement Officer/2007




Code Enforcement Officer/2008





Planning Board/Town/2007



Planning Board/ Selectmen/Code Enforcement Officer/ 2008

Planning Board/ Selectmen/Code Enforcement Officer/2005

Planning Board/Code Enforcement Officer/ Ongoing







Planning Board/
Selectmen/Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing

2.      Sebago Lake. Work with other towns in the Sebago Lake watershed and the Portland Water District to protect Sebago Lake’s current “outstanding” water quality classifications.

A.      PWD notification. Continue to notify the Portland Water District of all subdivisions proposed (at the pre-application stage) within the watershed of Sebago Lake.


Code Enforcement Officer/Planning Board/ Ongoing



3.      Groundwater. Maintain the high quality of Sebago’s groundwater resources.

A.      Subdivision review. Amend the Subdivision Ordinance to include more specific groundwater impact standards for development throughout the town. Consider a requirement for a hydrogeology assessment that models and predicts nitrate-nitrogen concentrations and requires conformance with federal standards.




B.      Harmful substances.  Regulate activities potentially harmful to groundwater through performance standards in the Land Use Ordinance.  These activities include, but are not limited to, fuel storage, sand and gravel extraction, and industrial activities. Strictly regulate or prohibit potentially harmful activities, such as commercial fuel storage or processing, over the Town’s sand and gravel aquifers.

C.      Public well site identification. Identify potential sites for a public water supply well, should one be needed in the future. Consider existing, high yield sand and gravel aquifers such as the Northwest River aquifer as top priorities. Protect such sites through performance standards in the land use ordinance. Consider the purchase of land or easements to further protect such sites.



Planning Board/Town/2007






Planning Board/Town/2007






Selectmen/2008


Critical Natural Resources

The natural resources that have the highest priority for protection are the water resources listed in the previous section. There is local support for resource protection regulations that are more stringent than the state standards for areas such as wetlands. Flood hazard areas in Sebago generally correspond to the areas currently regulated under Shoreland Zoning.

Since the town’s adoption of the 1991 Comprehensive Plan, a Shoreland Zoning Ordinance was also adopted and has been vigorously enforced.  The town’s commitment to protection of critical environmental areas is evident in this ordinance which allows no commercial development within the Shoreland Zone, no building of any sort within a Resource Protection zone, a larger minimum lot size than the State allows (60,000 square feet, versus 40,000), and a requirement of 50 shorefront feet per back lot to discourage “funnel” development.
Goal:
To protect the Town's critical natural resources, including wetlands, wildlife and fisheries habitat, shore lands, scenic vistas, and unique natural areas.


Policies
Strategies
Responsibility/Date

1.      Local protection. Formulate local resource protection regulations that complement and strengthen state standards and laws. Protect wetlands, wildlife and fisheries habitat, rare and endangered botanical features and exemplary plant communities, botanical resources, and other critical natural resources and features.

A.      Local review requirements.  Amend the Land Use Ordinance to require that in development proposals, applicants field-map critical natural resources and features, including wetlands, wildlife and fisheries habitat and botanical resources including areas shown on the “Beginning with Habitat” maps on file in the Town Office. Require that identified resources and features be protected to the greatest extent possible.




Planning Board/
Town/2007







2.      Douglas Mountain Preserve. Protect the Douglas Mountain Preserve.


A.      Grant programs. Explore the use of state and federal grants to help in the preservation effort.

Planning Board/
Town/2007


3.      Flood plain management. Regulate or prohibit building within the 100-year floodplain so as to minimize the threat of future losses from inappropriate development.



A.      Floodplain management ordinance. Continue to strictly administer and enforce the Town’s floodplain management ordinance.

B.      Map revisions.  Work with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to facilitate revision of the floodplain maps so they reflect actual flood hazard areas.

Planning Board/Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing

Code Enforcement Officer/ Selectmen/2008

4.      Wetlands. Protect wetlands from the adverse impacts of development.


A.      Shoreland zoning.  Continue strict administration of the Town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.


B.      Other wetlands. Include wetlands of two acres or more within a Resource Protection District.  Establish a buffer of 100 feet around moderate to high value wetlands.


Planning Board/Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing

Planning Board/Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing



5.      Wildlife Resources. Protect wildlife and wildlife habitat to the maximum extent possible.

A.      Shoreland zoning.  Continue strict administration of the Town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.

B.      Habitats.  Encourage the retention of natural habitats throughout the community, both in the development review process and through the efforts of private conservation organizations.

Planning Board/Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing

Planning Board/ Selectmen/Ongoing


6.      Roadside buffers. Encourage property owners to retain a buffer strip of natural vegetation along major roadways.

A.      Standards. Include standards for the maintenance of roadside buffers in the Town’s Land Use Ordinance.

Planning Board/
Town/2007




(NATURAL RESOURCES – continued)

Agricultural and Forestry Resources

While agriculture is a minor land use in Sebago, farming provides economic and visual diversity, and thus plays an important role in the community. Development pressures on farmland have not been strong in the past, but as the most desirable lakeshore areas become fully developed, inland areas will face increasing pressure. Although cluster development can be an effective strategy for farm and open space preservation, there is disagreement among residents as to its appropriateness for Sebago.
Environmentally sound forestry practices are strongly supported by Sebago residents. Forest resources play a dual economic role in Sebago, both as a "crop" and as an element in the town's rural character that attracts vacationers.
Goal:   To safeguard the town's agricultural and forest resources from development that threatens those resources.


Policies
Strategies
Responsibility/Date

1.      Forest resources. Promote forest resource management practices that maintain the economic values, regeneration capabilities, wildlife habitat values and aesthetic values of the resource.  Endeavor to support the Town’s remaining resource-based industries.

C.      Shoreland zoning. Continue to regulate timber harvesting through the Town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.


D.      Tree growth tax program.  Promote continued and new participation in the Tree Growth Tax Program.


E.      Landowner survey. Conduct a landowner survey of forestlands. Ask Tree Growth enrollees what factors contribute to their withdrawal from the program, and what Town measures might help or hinder them.


Planning Board/Code Enforcement Officer/Ongoing

Planning Board/ Selectmen/Town Manager//Ongoing

Selectmen/2008





2.      Agricultural resources. Protect prime farmland soils from development pressures.

A.      Farm and Open Space Law.  Provide farmers and landowners with factual information about the State’s Farm and Open Space Tax Law.

B.      Development on prime agricultural soils. Where a new subdivision in the rural areas of Sebago will encroach on prime agricultural soils, work with the developer to encourage cluster development and retain some of the prime agricultural soils for existing or future farming operations.

C.      Landowner survey.   Conduct a landowner survey of farmers. Ask them what Town measures might help or hinder them.

Planning Board/ Ongoing



Planning Board/
Ongoing




Selectmen/2008