An Act To Protect Maine Lakes
Sec. 1. 38 MRSA §410-L, first ¶, as enacted by PL 1997, c. 643, Pt. YY, §1, is amended to read:
The Lakes Assessment and Protection Program is established within the department to monitor and protect the health and integrity of the State's lakes through activities identified in section 410-M.
Sec. 2. 38 MRSA §410-M, as amended by PL 2011, c. 655, Pt. EE, §22 and affected by §30, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
§ 410-M. Lakes assessment and protection
In implementing the Lakes Assessment and Protection Program, the commissioner shall ensure that the department:
Sec. 3. 38 MRSA §418-B is enacted to read:
§ 418-B. Restrictions on application of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and soil amendments
Sec. 4. 38 MRSA §444-B is enacted to read:
§ 444-B. Photographic record of shorelines to assist enforcement
To aid in enforcing shoreland zoning ordinances, the following goals and requirements relating to establishing a photographic record of the shorelines of great ponds are established.
Sec. 5. 38 MRSA §450 is enacted to read:
§ 450. Training for municipalities
The department and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry shall develop and make available to municipal officials and code enforcement officers training relating to the provisions of this article including the importance of the law in protecting the quality of surface waters of the State, changes in department rules relating to shoreland zoning and municipal enforcement obligations. The training must be provided in multiple locations in the State and may be provided in conjunction with other training programs.
Sec. 6. Landscape contractor certification program. By December 1, 2015, the Department of Environmental Protection shall develop an environmental leader certification program for landscape contractors that provide landscape services to properties adjacent to surface waters of the State. The certification program must focus on low-maintenance landscape design and landscaping methods that are protective of water quality.
Sec. 7. Vacancies. By December 31, 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection shall hire qualified personnel for vacant staff positions that have been authorized by the Legislature for the purpose of education, monitoring, research and enforcement activities related to the protection of the health and integrity of the State's lakes.
Sec. 8. Reducing water quality impacts of camp roads, logging roads, driveways and boat launches. The Department of Environmental Protection shall evaluate options and develop a strategy for reducing risks to the water quality of lakes of the State from camp roads, logging roads, driveways and boat launches. In conducting the evaluation, the department shall seek input from the Maine Land Use Planning Commission, lake associations, municipalities, conservation organizations and other stakeholders. By December 1, 2015, the department shall submit its recommendations to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over environmental and natural resources matters, and the committee may report out a bill relating to the recommendations to the Second Regular Session of the 127th Legislature.
Sec. 9. Promoting voluntary certification for pollution reduction measures by lakefront property owners. By December 1, 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection shall evaluate the status of the LakeSmart program, which was transferred from the department to the Maine Lakes Society. The evaluation must include the following information for a period beginning on the date management of the program was transferred:
1. The number of property owners who received LakeSmart Awards;
2. The number of lake associations involved in helping promote the program;
3. The number of lakes for which property owners received LakeSmart Awards; and
4. Implementation challenges experienced by the Maine Lakes Society.
The evaluation must also include information relating to the financial sustainability of the LakeSmart program. The department shall solicit information necessary for the evaluation from the Maine Lakes Society and shall evaluate whether additional funding or technical resources from the department would help ensure the success of the program. The department shall make a report of its evaluation available for public comment. By January 15, 2015, the department shall submit the report and public comments to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over environmental and natural resources matters. The committee may report out a bill relating to the report to the First Regular Session of the 127th Legislature.
This bill amends the laws governing the Lakes Assessment and Protection Program. It prohibits the application of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and soil amendments within 25 feet of fresh surface waters. It establishes goals for developing a photographic record of the shorelines of lakes. It directs the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to develop training for municipalities relating to the laws regulating shoreland zoning. It also directs the Department of Environmental Protection to:
1. Develop an environmental leader certification program for landscape contractors;
2. Fill vacant staff positions;
3. Evaluate options and develop a strategy for reducing risks to lake water quality from camp roads, logging roads, driveways and boat launches; and
4. Evaluate the LakeSmart program.