The Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy, better known by the acronym CLIC, recently sponsored a press tour of East Grand Lake to introduce the press and public to this pristine area of Maine and New Brunswick and to showcase the work being done by CLIC members.
CLIC members are advocates for those living “in” and around the Upper St. Croix River Basin waterway, the five Chiputneticook lakes, North, East Grand, Mud, Spednic, Palfrey, as well as Brackett and Deering lakes.
On a warm, summer evening in 1992, two men sat on a porch, overlooking East Grand Lake, talking about how lucky they were to have such a great place to spend their free time. One was a Canadian and one an American, and they both loved to fish, especially on East Grand. It was obvious to both of them that for some unknown reasons, the salmon fishing was very poor. Most of the salmon they caught were less than fourteen inches, and it wasn’t getting any better. After some discussion they decided to try and do something about it. They called a couple of other friends and suggested that if they formed a “lake association” it could give some “power to the people” and get some action from the fishery authorities.
CLIC has a continual dialogue with fisheries people from both New Brunswick and Maine, which the group feels has helped improve the situation. State and provincial officials know that many people are concerned about this chain of lakes, and they in turn, are paying more attention to the fish population in all the lakes.
The organization has instituted a smelt fry stocking program with over 4 million fry released in East Grand Lake and North Lake with 2 million more planned for release in 2012. The result is that the salmon fishing has improved and fishers have reported larger salmon caught and that the fish are in excellent health.
The stocking program was paid from membership dues and an anonymous member who has donated $5,000 each year for the three year-program.
The school salmon-raising program is sponsored by CLIC to raise awareness among the children of our ecology in and around the Chiputneticook Lakes area. Seven large aquariums complete with water chillers are installed in seven classrooms in five schools in Maine. The schools are supplied with salmon eggs that are hatched in the aquariums by the students and then released back into the lake by the students during a school trip to East Grand Lake.
Another popular program sponsored by CLIC is the public-use binoculars at Weston Scenic Byway Lookout near Weston, Maine. The lookout is a wonderful view over East Grand Lake and is a busy viewing area for tourists and locals. The Board of Directors have recently earmarked funds to install a tall pole below the lookout area with the hopes of attracting nesting eagles.
Water-quality programs sponsored by CLIC include Secchi Disk water quality monitoring, water-level and dam-flow monitoring and milfoil signs at most boat launching sites. The public use programs includes an annual free picnic at Half Moon Island on East Grand Lake, and picnic tables for the public at various lakefront picnic and wilderness camping areas.
CLIC has 470 members who pay a $10 annual membership fee. Most members are from around the lake area and are not necessarily cottage owners but are interested in the well being of this magnificent waterway. New members are always welcome and can join by contacting Membership Chairman, Bill Walton, at 28 Snowberry Lane, Orient, ME 04471-4320.