The Open Space Institute and its partners are working against time to save the forests and drinking water resources of Maine's Sebago Lake.
The clear, deep water of Sebago Lake is one of Maine’s most important natural assets. Sebago Lake doubles as a recreational destination and a vital water supply. It lies less than 20 miles from Portland and provides drinking water to approximately 15 percent of the state’s population. Thanks to forests upstream that naturally clean the water, the lake is so pure that it does not require the expensive, chemical-laden filtration that most surface water sources do.
But as development encroaches upon Sebago Lake, only 10 percent of the watershed is conserved. In fact, the U.S. Forest Service ranks the Sebago as one of the most at-risk, forested watersheds in the nation because it is an unprotected water supply for such a large population.
“The unspoiled forests that cover the watershed of Sebago Lake are the priceless natural filter for much of the drinking water consumed in Maine,” says Paul Hunt, environmental manager of the Portland Water District. “Helping landowners conserve the forested land they’ve owned for generations will help keep Maine looking like Maine and ensure the water supply will continue to be one of the most pristine in the country.”