This Earth Day: Watershed Erosion Requires Motorized Sports to Move
Erosion Mitigation Solution Underway
Kennebunk—April 19, 2022 — On this Earth Day, the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District (KKW) is pleased to announce a solution to address the severe soil erosion in the Branch Brook Watershed, part of the Kennebunk Plains. Central Maine Power (CMP), who owns the property, a transmission line right-of-way, has implemented an interim solution to stop the worsening erosion on the property while working with local stakeholders and restoration specialists to develop an approach to restore the area.
The watershed area has been used more frequently by ATV and dirt bike riders in recent years. These riders are not only trespassing in some areas, they are causing long-term damage. This sensitive habitat has very sandy soil and little organic matter and is easily disturbed when the vegetation is stripped away by motorized vehicles, seriously increasing the potential for landslides. Over time, this large-scale erosion can impact water quality.
“The Branch Brook Watershed in the CMP right-of-way has been eroding for the past two decades, largely due to persistent ATV and dirt bike riders trespassing in the area. This part of the Kennebunk Plains and Wells Barrens is a very unique glacial outwash of sifted sand and gravelly soil that is very prone to erosion. The land is posted, and riders should understand that their activities are destabilizing the slopes bordering Branch Brook, which has negatively impacted water quality. On Earth Day we ask riders to consider the impacts on the land and area residents and choose to ride elsewhere,” said Justin Richardson of KKW.
“CMP has a long history of allowing recreational use of out our rights-of-way including hunting, hiking and biking, however in this specific area, the use of motorized vehicles is causing real damage and as we approach Earth Day, we ask for the public to consider their impact on the land as we mitigate the problem,” said Adam Desrosiers, vice president Electric Operations for CMP.
CMP has stabilized the large gully that has formed within the right-of-way, controlling any sediment that travels down the channel. The company has also installed erosion controls such as a fabric-wrapped “French Drain” system – approximately 150 cubic yards of clean stone wrapped in fabric as well as a check dam and a sediment trap.
With erosion in check CMP will determine the appropriate long-term solution to permanently repair the existing damage to the area and preserve the ecological functions and watershed values that make the Branch Brook watershed unique and provide critical services to the surrounding communities.
As we approach Earth Day, KKW and CMP ask that local recreational riders take time to consider their impacts on this fragile area and limit their off-road recreation to areas that are appropriate for riding.
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About KKWWD: The KK&W Water District is a quasi-municipal water utility that was established in 1921 by an act of the Maine State Legislature. Our service area, the second longest in Maine, extends 25 miles along the York County coastline and includes the Towns of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, Arundel and portions of Biddeford and York. Within these communities, we provide quality water service to a population that varies seasonally from about 28,000 to over 75,000. Our 40 employees are dedicated to our mission, which is to provide the highest quality of water and customer service at the lowest reasonable cost. They are a highly motivated and skilled group of professionals who believe in customer service, teamwork and technology.
About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. Established in 1899 and based in Augusta, Maine, CMP serves approximately 646,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. It operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. Over the last decade, the company has invested approximately $3.5 billion in Maine system infrastructure.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $40 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 7,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021 and 2022 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2022, AVANGRID ranked second within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2022 for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit avangrid.com.