We meet the second Thursday of every month from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Town of York Senior Center, 36 Main Street York, Maine.
About the Cape Neddick River
The Cape Neddick River Watershed encompasses 6,660 acres, all of which lies in the town of York. Chase's Pond, at the headwaters, serves as a drinking supply for the York Water District, and has been designated a NPS Priority lake by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP). Within the watershed, over 1,700 acres are presently protected. The land use, according to ME DEP, is considered light to moderate commercial-industrial and moderate residential. Most of the commercial/industrial development is along the Route 1 corridor.
The tidal portion of the Cape Neddick watershed stretches ~730 meters from the Atlantic Ocean in the Cape Neddick Harbor up to Rt. 1. The maximum depth is 9.8 meters with a flushing time of 17 hours and an annual watershed runoff volume of 15.6 x 106 m3. There are approximately 12 commercial fishing boats and approximately 30 pleasure craft moored in the harbor.
None of the watershed is served by sewer service. The York wastewater treatment facility for the Town of York discharges into the middle of Cape Neddick Harbor within sight of Cape Neddick Beach, a popular attraction for both local residents and tourists.
The Water’s Journey
The Cape Neddick Watershed is entirely in the Town of York, beginning on the forested slopes of Mt Agamenticus. The main stream and numerous tributaries are dammed to form the two mile long Chase’s Pond. From the dam, the River travels southeast for a short distance, then turns to the northeast after flowing under the Maine Turnpike. It continues in this direction through a forested landscape for about a mile, where it gently bends back to flow southeast, meeting a few small tributaries over the course of its journey. One major tributary from the north converges with the River shortly before it flows under Route 1 where it encounters a more developed landscape while coming under the influence of the tides. The tidal portion then gradually widens until its flow is restricted by the bridge crossing on Shore Road, after which it again widens and empties into the Gulf of Maine between Weare Point and Cape Neddick.
We are coordinating with the Town of York on an action plan to clean up the Cape Neddick River and Beach. This includes applying for a 319 grant through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The plan will be used as a model for the investigation of pollution sources within each subwatershed of Cape Neddick. It will provide no cost septic inspections to every homeowner, installation of vegetative buffers in denuded runoff areas, installation of filtering catch basins ito prevent pollution from getting into the river, and educating homeowners on proper pet waste disposal.
Here is the link to the most recent water quality testing done by the researchers from the Jackson Estuarine Lab at UNH. You will see the geometric mean for each site, how many samples were taken at each site, and how many exceeded the limit of 104 for safe water recreation. 2014 Cape NeddickTesting
We are also working at the town leval on instituting new ordinances for protecting vegetative buffers along waterways, strengthening fertilizer and pesticide rules, and mandating home septic system inspections at the time of sale.
Education is a critical component of our work. We are partnering with teachers at the York school system to enlighten our youth about ways they can help ensure clean water for generations to come. Helping landowners understand ways they can reduce their influence on the Cape Neddick watershed and educating pet owners about the effect of pet waste are vital education goals.
A CNRA subcommittee is addressing a variety of issues at the Cape Neddick Beach. These include educating the public regarding dog waste, revamping parking, and installing a port-a-potty.
We are continually seeking volunteers and experts to assist in these efforts.