2013-12-06 / Front Page

Fence is a fix for park damage

By Sean P. Milligan
Contributing Writer


Local experts designed these “infiltration steps” to set a focal point for dogs wading into the pond at Hinckley Park. It’s thought that sedimentary pollution to the water is affecting water quality in both Kimball Brook and Trout Brook watersheds. (Sean P. Milligan photo) Local experts designed these “infiltration steps” to set a focal point for dogs wading into the pond at Hinckley Park. It’s thought that sedimentary pollution to the water is affecting water quality in both Kimball Brook and Trout Brook watersheds. (Sean P. Milligan photo) SOUTH PORTLAND – South Portland residents may have noticed a few changes around the ponds in Hinckley Park over the past couple weeks. The South Portland Water Resource Protection department has partnered with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to help prevent pedestrian traffic that has contaminated the water.

The restorations were made possible by a $20,000 grant. The money was part of the Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water project that focuses on water conservation and sustainability around the Gulf of Maine.

The money was spent on infiltration steps that create a uniform entry point into the pond and a fence around the area. Native vegetation was planted around the perimeter of the pond in an effort to stabilize the soil and prevent further contamination.

In addition, a “rain garden” has been created near the parking lot. The rain garden includes mulch that will act as filter for stormwater, reducing the amount of contaminants that reach the pond.

Hinckley Park is very popular with dog owners during warm-weather months. Foot and paw traffic along the edges of the water in the park have led to the erosion that has polluted the water.

“People and dogs had really beaten it down and were putting a lot of sediment into the pond,” said Fred Dillon, stormwater program director at South Portland’s Water Resource Protection department. “Sediment, believe it or not, can be considered a source of pollution because it carries nutrients with it.”

Hinckley Pond, part of the Kimball Brook watershed, is hypothesized to be one of the core causes of water quality issues in Kimball Brook and Trout Brook. Both Kimball and Trout fail to meet the state of Maine’s water quality standards.

The plan was set in motion when the Gulf of Maine Research Institute approached the Maine DEP to collaborate in applying for a grant as part of Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water project.

“I immediately thought about working with Fred (Dillon and the water resource protection department) on the project recommended for the Trout Brook water shed plan,” said Wendy Garland, environmental specialist for Maine DEP. “(W)e had a ready-to-go list of places that needed work to restore water quality in both Kimball Brook and Trout Brook in South Portland. We looked at doing the Hinckley Park project because they were looking to do projects that had high visibility.”

By doing the project at Hinckley, the consortium of conservationists could work on what they believe is a root cause of South Portland’s water problem while simultaneously raising public awareness of the issue. Hinckley Park, located off of Ocean Street and Highland Avenue, gets a lot of foot traffic, as well as a sizable number of motorists that pass by.

The restorations to Hinckley Park are just the first steps in restoring the city of South Portland’s water supply.

“We received some grant funds over the past couple years from the Maine DEP and the (Environmental Protection Agency) to develop a restoration plan for Trout Brook,” Dillon. “Now we have some funds to do some implementation work, actually build some stuff on the ground.”

The Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water project helps municipalities in northern New England states as well as the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Also receiving part of the total $100,000 grant fund were Dover and Portsmouth, N.H., Moncton, New Brunswick and Colchester, Nova Scotia.

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