CONCORD GULLY BROOK IN FREEPORT

CONCORD GULLY BROOK IN FREEPORT

FREEPORT

A restoration plan for Concord Gully Brook will be published next summer, and the town will then go about securing grants to bring the brook back to a Class A classification.

Kate McDonald, a project scientist for the Cumberland County Soil & Water District, is coordinating the schedules of stakeholders. Town engineer Al Presgraves also is taking a lead role as the town and state seek to improve the water quality of the brook.

The brook, identified by the town as a priority watershed, does not have the oxygen content to support certain fish and insect species.

As a Class B waterway, it is suitable for swimming but not for drinking. Class C is the lowest classification.

“It doesn’t have enough bugs and fish in it to meet that top classification,” McDonald said. “We’d like more mayflies and dragonflies. That’s what the fish eat. The gold standard is trout.”

Concord Gully Brook stretches for about 1 1/2 miles from the vicinity of Pine Street, off U.S. Route 1, to Allen Pond. The brook drains approximately 600 acres, including about half of downtown Freeport, before discharging into Allen Pond and the Harraseeket River at Porter’s Landing.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has identified the brook as an urban impaired stream due to degraded aquatic life and habitat.

McDonald provided some hints as to what might comprise the restoration plan.

“We’ll be working to increase the oxygen level in the water to improve habitat, such as leaves, sticks and shady areas along the stream banks,” she said. “You try to provide as much shade as you can along the stream bank because warmer water cannot hold as much oxygen.”

The Concord Gully Brook Watershed Survey, developed from 2010 to 2012, documented erosion problems and polluted runoff issues throughout the 600-acre watershed. The survey identified areas of erosion, woody debris and low culverts, McDonald said.

“It’s not an imminent hazard to anybody,” she explained, “but the town of Freeport has a state stormwater permit that they need to be doing work in their town to improve water quality.”

The project is a collaborative effort among the town, Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District, the state Department of Transportation, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, committed watershed residents and businesses, and the DEP.

Beginning last year, the town was awarded funds through DEP’s Nonpoint Source Grants program.

The first phase of funding was dedicated to identifying areas of nonpoint source pollution (such as nutrients, sediment, and other polluted runoff) and sections of the stream where funds could be directed to stabilize the stream banks, provide habitat for aquatic life, and reduce the impacts of stormwater flow in the stream.

THE WATERSHED

The main stem of Concord Gully Brook is approximately 1.5 miles in length and the watershed covers approximately 600 acres. The brook has three tributaries that drain into Allen Pond before entering the larger Harraseeket River Watershed at Porter’s Landing. The upper reaches of the brook watershed are relatively undeveloped but development does intensify along Lower Main Street (U.S. Route 1) and is expected to continue.

SOURCE: CUMBERLAND COUNTY
SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION.


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