President – Christopher Closs, Middle Toddy
Vice President – Robyn Silberstein, Middle Toddy
Secretary – Donna Foster, Middle Toddy
Treasurer – Barry Johnson, South Toddy
Board Members at Large
Lucy Leaf, South Toddy
Marc Restuccia, North Toddy
The TPA evolved from a meeting of camp owners that Bob Jones, a long-time summer resident of Middle Toddy, called in August 1998. At that time, rumor had it that the Town of Surry was about to establish a public boat landing on a lot the town owned in West Surry, and Bob felt that property-owners should be involved in the decision. About a hundred people showed up at a meeting in the Surry School and, though it turned out that the rumor was just a rumor, a number of us were so impressed by the response that we decided it would be a good idea to form an organization for the protection of the pond and its watershed. The following summer a smaller group met to establish the Toddy Pond Environmental Association (“environmental” was dropped in 2007) with Bob Jones as president of a ten-member board on which each of the three ponds, North/First, Middle/Second and South/Third Toddy was represented. Donna Foster of Middle Toddy succeeded Bob Jones as president in 2008 and Chris Dadian, also of Middle Toddy, succeeded Donna in 2016.
At the outset, the board identified several issues on which to focus its energies. These included watching out for loons as they paired, nested, hatched and raised their chicks; monitoring the quality of the water; marking submerged rocks in the narrows with buoys; and putting out an annual newsletter to inform members about environmental issues relevant to the pond.
A couple of years after inception, the board became aware that the most important threat to the pond was from invasive aquatic plants, such as Eurasian Milfoil and Hydrilla, which were clogging lakes throughout Southern New England and moving steadily north. We learned that a tiny fragment of any one of eleven species could take root in the muddy lake bottom and within just a few years cover the entire pond up to a depth of 25 feet, thereby making boating, swimming and fishing impossible, and severely impacting property values. In the late summer of 2001 we organized a roster of volunteers to inspect all boats putting into the water at the East Orland boat landing early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The following summer, Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) went into operation between July 4 and Labor Day (when boat traffic was heaviest). Under Donna Foster’s presidency we steadily expanded our CBI program, drawing on grant money and annual dues to support the hiring of paid inspectors to supplement our team of volunteers. By the high season of 2014, we had coverage seven days a week.
With the support of Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring program, we started training a team of “plant patrollers” to become familiar with all species of native aquatic plant so that, should they identify an invasive species in their area of the lake, they might immediately solicit the help of the manager of Soil & Water Conservation for its removal. Thus far we have been able to prevent any invasive aquatic plants from taking root in the pond. We have also participated in Soil & Water District’s Watershed Survey and, with funding from Maine Department of Environmental Protection, in a program to help fix erosion issues identified by the survey and to keep Toddy Pond clean.
The Newsletter, which since 2010 has been published in the spring as well as the fall, is now distributed to all Toddy Pond property owners (numbering about 450), whether or not they are members of the association. Another important development was the IRS’s 2015 approval of TPA’s application for federal tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
In October, 2014 the Verso Corporation announced the closing of the Bucksport paper mill, after nearly eighty-four years of continuous operation. Several months later Verso sold the mill to a Canadian metal recycler, American Iron and Metals (AIM), who decided to dismantle the mill, excepting its bio-mass power plant, with a view to subsequently selling the site. The announcement caused anxiety for all concerned with Toddy Pond and its future. Since the mid-1960s, the mill, under four different owners, had maintained and operated the Toddy Pond dam, which impounds water constituting about seven feet of the lake’s depth. A Lake Level Management Plan, developed by Champion Paper, owners of the mill in 1994, provided guidelines for maintenance of water levels not only in Toddy Pond but also in Alamoosook and Silver Lakes, whose dams were also owned by the mill. In May, 2015, representatives from TPA and the Alamoosook Lake Association met with AIM management, who committed to abiding by the maintenance plan.
Last but not least, the association invites all members to a June BBQ and to an August potluck supper, followed by the annual meeting at which program heads report on activities and an invited speaker talks about an environmental topic of general interest.