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This data is extremely valuable, we thank you for your help. By Scott Williams Please note: this article is from the Winter edition of the Water Column When I was young it was often possible, and reasonably safe, to skate on small ponds in southwestern Maine by Thanksgiving, or shortly thereafter. We are working on definitions for both, in order to insure consistency in data provided by volunteers, recognizing that ice-in may be a more difficult call, and that both dates could be difficult for large lakes with complex shapes. For the past month, while gazing out at the sparkling waves and deep blue water, I have been struck by the feeling that something is seriously out of kilter.

Ice-in occurs when the lake is completely or nearly completely covered with ice.

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We want to stress that if there is a method already in place to continue using that method. But the complexity of lake ecosystems, along with our limited knowledge of the way that they respond to influences, allows us only to venture educated guesses as to what could happen if dramatic changes in the weather occur in the future.

There is no question that volunteer lake water quality monitors and invasive plant patrollers will play a vital role in our understanding of this phenomenon. However, there is relatively little information available concerning ice-in dates.

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The Maine Departments of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Public Safety have recently issued several warnings to stay off lakes and ponds that are frozen, due to dangerously thin ice. It just might complement some of the other data that have been collected on your lake over the years.

Global warming is a frightening prospect not just because of the consequences that are thought to be understood about this process, but more so because of what is not known. They are arranged in sequence, You can see the loss of the tree is highlighted by the red oval. Historically most people have only noted ice-out, but increasingly scientists are recognizing the importance of knowing how long lakes are under ice cover, and therefore ice-in is becoming more widely tracked as well.

If warmer weather increases over time, as climatologists who study global warming say it will, changes to our date now Maine will almost certainly occur, although exactly what those changes might be is the subject of a good deal of speculation. Local records were very helpful in the review of information conducted several years ago by USGS Hydrologist, Glenn Hodgkins, in which it was determined that the duration of ice cover for a of New England lakes has been getting shorter over the past century. As a storehouse of scientific information for Maine lakes, we feel that this is an important trend to monitor, especially considering the very unusual weather conditions that have occurred in recent years.

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However, lakes can thaw after an early ice-in, and remain open for weeks until the ice finally closes in for the winter. This strategy is employed widely in ecology work, from documenting glaciers, to tree cover, to erosion, to changes in marshes. Beyond the implications that this information may have for lake water quality, the public has had an interest in local information concerning ice cover on lakes for centuries.

Submit your ice-in and ice-out dates using our online submission form.

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The most important thing to remember in determining ice-out is to follow the method that has been used for your lake historically. However, the method of determination often varies from one lake to the next. Perhaps you have some of your own to share with us? All of this provides another valuable opportunity for volunteers to gather data that could ificantly improve our understanding of the impact of climate warming to Maine lakes.

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Regardless of the nature of the threat to our lakes, the information that volunteers collect will have a strong bearing on our ability to understand and protect our lakes, now and for the foreseeable future. In other words, his late season swim probably took place in November, as opposed to the middle of January.

The group that is making that determination has the final say and there are many examples beside the photo station from around the state. He has been involved in these lakes for many years, serving on the Belgrade Planning Board, the Wayne Comprehensive Planning Committee and select Board, and its Conservation Commission.

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The Mission of the Lake Stewards of Maine LSM is date now Maine help protect Maine lakes through widespread citizen participation in the gathering and dissemination of credible scientific information pertaining to lake health. Perhaps we should be paying closer attention to this phenomenon, as well, because the overall annual duration of ice cover on lakes and ponds can certainly influence many of the physical, chemical and biological processes in these complex ecosystems.

The continuity of the data is vital to accurate representation in the data. After all, record-breaking warm temperatures were documented throughout Maine in November and December. A photo station is a permanent structure that allows for a camera, smart phone, or simply a person to observe a specific area of the landscape. Ice-in and ice-out data would ostensibly be of general interest if made available on the LSM website link to individual lakes, with the potential to draw the general public in to consider the broader implications of lake data.

Our lakes and ponds could experience increased algal growth, reduced water clarity, lower levels of dissolved oxygen in the water as indicated by Green Lake volunteer monitor Bob Dunlap in a recent Water Column articleand an increase in the spread of invasive aquatic plants. In addition to being the primary source of lake data in the State of Maine, LSM volunteers benefit their local lakes by playing key stewardship and leadership roles in their communities.

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Because lakes can freeze and thaw multiple times, we track the first instance of ice-in as well as the point in time when the lake is covered until the ice goes out in the spring. If you live nearby the lake that you monitor, consider tracking the date when ice cover is first observed on the lake in early winter ice-inas well as the day when the lake becomes free of ice in the spring ice-out. Our Mission The Mission of the Lake Stewards of Maine LSM is to help protect Maine lakes through widespread citizen participation in the gathering and dissemination of credible scientific information pertaining to lake health.

Ice-in & ice-out tracking

LSM trains, certifies and provides technical support to hundreds of volunteers who monitor a wide range of indicators of water quality, assess watershed health and function, and screen lakes for invasive aquatic plants and animals. Please note: this article is from the Winter edition of the Water Column. Recent studies have shown that a warming climate is affecting this relationship. Nickerson Lake in Aroostook uses a weighted block and a battery clock to determine the ice-out time. In fact, many of our large lakes remain free of ice altogether, following several weeks of unusually warm weather.

The LSM collects information about when lakes freeze over in the fall or winter ice-inand when the ice melts in the spring ice-out.

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They hold a contest each year. When I was young it was often possible, and reasonably safe, to skate on small ponds in southwestern Maine by Thanksgiving, or shortly thereafter. This ensures that there is continuity over time and that if someone is unable to be at the lake during the change, the observation will not be missed.

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The photo station, ensures year-to-year changes can be recognized because the major components of the landscape do not change, while the more temporary elements do. This is a particularly critical time for volunteers to be gathering data, because it is possible that the influence of climate change will exacerbate many of the known threats to Maine lakes, including cultural eutrophication and the spread of aquatic invaders.

At the most simple, basic level, an increase in both water temperature and sunlight penetration into the water column, resulting from reduced ice depth and duration of cover, could cause an acceleration of biological processes in our lakes. Time will tell, but not without your help! Taylor Pond has a group of several volunteers that make the determination by calling one-another and coming to an agreement.

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LSM is a non-profit c 3 organization committed to the collection of information pertaining to lake water quality. Ice-out is determined when the lake becomes clear of ice in the spring. If you are looking at collecting ice-in or ice-out informati0n on your lake and there is no historical way this was collected, or that has been lost, we have several recommendations that may make the process easier.

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He has recently advanced the research regarding changes in the phenology of ice cover on Maine lakes. This is a great story, full of imagery and potentially useful anecdotal information. Stay tuned.

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It is important that the specified viewshed be an agreed upon by the group in charge of determining ice cover changes, and that it be in a location that is easy to access, but will not be removed, disturbed, or otherwise compromised in the foreseeable future. Speaking of record-keeping, as many of us who have spent time on or near a particular lake over the years know, a good deal of effort has gone into guessing, and ultimately tracking ice-out dates.

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It is important to have multiple people involved in this process, or at the very least a clear operating procedure by which the ice-in and ice-out dates are determined. This should all come as no great surprise. If you, or someone you know has kept track of ice data for the lake that you monitor, please consider sharing this information with all of us.

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For example, Earl Bacon father of DEP Biologist Linda Bacon used to enjoy being able to make the annual claim that he had been swimming in Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade just a day or two before the onset of ice cover.

It should be noted that skim ice should not be counted as an ice-in. Some methods for determining ice out We want to stress that if there is a method already in place to continue using that method.