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Spruce Creek Watershed-Based Management Plan in the Works

The Kittery Quarterly
July 2007

The Towns of Kittery and Eliot are working together with volunteers and board members to develop a watershed-based management plan for Spruce Creek. The Spruce Creek Watershed-based Management Plan will serve as a blueprint for restoring and protecting the estuary which serves as a drainage basin for more than 50% of the Town of Kittery and a small portion of Eliot.

With crucial input from stakeholders, the Management Plan will identify the most pressing problems in the estuary and establish goals, objectives, and actions for resolving them. The Management Plan will also contain strategies for monitoring progress and financing implementation. The plan will be a living document that will be reexamined and revised on a regular basis to ensure that the goals, objectives, and specific actions continue to address the most pressing problems.

The Kittery Town Council has generously committed to funding this effort and has contracted with Forrest Bell of FB Environmental in Portland to help guide the Towns through this process.

Because the Spruce Creek Watershed has been given a "TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) designation" by the State of Maine based on high(?) bacterial counts in the clam flats, the Watershed-Based Management Plan will have to include some modeling on pollutant and bacterial load amounts and to give estimates for their planned reductions.

In keeping with Maine Department of Environmental Protection and EPA guidelines, the Watershed-Based Plan will need to be designed to achieve pollutant load reductions and address EPA's nine minimum elements for watershed planning:
1. Identification of Causes & Sources;
2. Estimation of Load Reductions from Planned Management Measures;
3. Description of Management Measures;
4. Description of Technical & Financial Assistance Needed;
5. Information & Education Outreach;
6. Implementation Schedule;
7. Milestones to Measure Progress Implementing Management Measures;
8. Criteria to Determine Progress in Attaining Water Quality Standards & Load Reductions; and
9. Plan to Monitor Progress Compared to Criteria.

At a Community Forum held in November of 2006, a group of 30 attendees worked together towards defining problems, goals and priorities for protecting and restoring the watershed. The FB Environmental team then took the 17 areas of focus identified by the group, narrowed them down to five main categories, and walked the Steering Committee through a project-level categorization and prioritization of these goals at its first meeting held in June 2007. The group will continue to work to identify issues, goals and projects in these five main topic areas:
1. Protect and restore vegetated buffers / control invasive plants
2. Reduce bacteria loads / open shellfish beds
3. Treat impervious surfaces / minimize stormwater impacts
4. Increase conservation lands within Spruce Creek Watershed
5. Evaluate and assess water quality.

The Steering Committee will meet several more times through late fall to draft, refine and finalize the Spruce Creek Watershed-Based Management Plan. The document will become a strategic plan of actions needed over a 5- to 15-year timeframe to achieve the load reductions called for in a TMDL in order to restore a non-point source pollution (NPS) impaired waterbody, as well as include the community’s goals and objectives.

For more information on the plan, please review the information on the Spruce Creek Association website at If you’d like to participate in the development of the management plan or contribute your thoughts or ideas, please contact Jon Carter or Phyllis Ford.