Soil erosion is the number one cause of declining water quality in Maine’s lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. To highlight the importance of improving and maintaining the water quality in local watersheds, Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District is joining with Pemaquid Watershed Association to present two programs in July during PWA’s Get Smart About Your Lake series, part of the North American Lake Management Society’s annual Lakes Appreciation Month.

These programs will provide homeowners, lake road associations, and contractors with practical ways to reduce erosion — and the resulting pollution — from landscapes and gravel roads to protect water quality for wildlife, drinking, and recreation.

On Tuesday, July 23, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Rebecca Jacobs, education coordinator with KLSWCD, will present Beef Up Your Buffer – Bigger IS Better. Her talk will detail the hows and whys of using plants to reduce erosion and run-off along the waterfront. Participants will learn how vegetated buffers absorb water and nutrients, trap excess soil, and improve wildlife habitat. In addition, Jacobs will provide tips on choosing plants that mimic natural systems to create a dynamic landscape to enjoy in all seasons, and answer questions about individual sites. The fee for this program is $5 per person (payable at the door).

Non-Traditional Solutions to Gravel Road Problems will be held Wednesday, July 24, from 9:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The workshop will begin with two morning sessions: Bill Laflamme, Maine Department of Environmental Protection will discuss why it is important to maintain gravel roads and how to evaluate a gravel road. David Rocque, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, will then describe effective practices to repair roads. In the afternoon, the class will visit two gravel road sites to see in practice what they have learned in the morning training. Recertification credits are available for code enforcement offices (four contact hours in Land Use) and certified contractors (four contact hours). There is a $15 fee for the course, which includes morning coffee break and snack. Registration deadline is July 19.

Both programs will be held at the Midcoast Friends Meeting at 77 Belvedere Road, just off Rt 1 in Damariscotta. To register for either program, call KLSWCD at 596-2040 or email info@knox-lincoln.org. To register and pay online for the gravel road workshop, go to knox-lincoln.org/gravel-road-wkshp_2013/.

Be sure to visit pemaquidwatershed.org for additional programs that will help one Get Smart About Your Lake.