As president of the Webber Pond Association, I can attest to how important lakes are for a community. I want to thank Reps. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro, and Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow, for the role they played this legislative session, particularly with a bill to restore public fishing to the dock at the Vassalboro landing and for helping to preserve programs that protect lakes from invasive plants, such as variable-leaf milfoil.

They and their families have long involvement in the area’s ponds and lakes. Both are supporters of the long-term effort to restore sea-run alewives to Webber Pond. Nadeau is a member of the Webber Pond Association. Fowle has visited the fish ladder during the harvest and netted alewives.

Lakes are a critical element of the Maine lifestyle, which is the envy of the East Coast. There are few places anywhere that an ordinary person has so much access to high quality outdoor recreation.

As tourist destinations, lakes give a boost to many businesses. They contribute to the economy in a real way. Also, lakes with good water quality and a healthy fishery generate more property tax revenue by increasing valuations.

As a long-term observer, I can see the state gets back a healthy return for money invested in programs that promote good water quality and fisheries, although it is difficult to measure the actual dollars involved.

Bills and appropriations enacted in this year’s legislative session help sustain and preserve the quality of our lakes. However, more needs to be done in terms of both financing and operations at the state level. I hope a way can be found to do more in future sessions.

Frank Richards, presidentWebber Pond Lake AssociationVassalboro

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