St. John Valley Soil & Water Conservation District


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Northern Maine is often noted for its pristine wilderness, abundance of wildlife, and numerous bodies of water.  It is this latter resource that often attracts the wandering eye, however, whether it be the recreationist interested in fishing or boating, the home dweller seeking a private spot along the lakeshore, or the layperson, curious about the overall status of the Valley's water quality.  It is this increased concern over water quality, however, that has come to span all interests, resulting in local people taking a local interest in maintaining and/or reestablishing a high level of water quality within their respective watersheds.  Indeed, several years back when algal blooms were all too common on many of the lakes located within the Fish River Chain of Lakes, steps to eliminate major sources of point source pollution entering the lakes were taken, resulting in, among other things, the formation of the Fish River Lakes Water Quality Association, which is now the Upper St. John River Organization; some of these lakes have since seen a stabilization, if not slight increase in improved water quality.  Currently, steps are being taken to target non-point sources of pollution within these same critical watersheds; several projects focusing on NPS pollution have been initiated over the years and can be seen below. Efforts at protecting watersheds from overuse, development, and pollution continue within the Valley. The Districts objective in Water Resources is to, "Maintain the quality of water bodies within the Valley currently not considered threatened, and to improve and protect those bodies of water which are considered priority due to their non-attainment status."

Fish River Watershed Profile

Upper St. John Watershed Profile


What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

There are two types of pollution that threaten Maine's water quality: point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution. Point source pollution can be traced back to a specific source such as a discharge pipe from a factory or treatment plant.

The leading cause of water quality degradation in the United States, nonpoint source pollution originates from diffuse or scattered sources rather than a defined point like a pipe outlet. Stormwater runoff often will pick up pollutants such as soil, fertilizers, pesticides and petroleum products and deposit them into nearby streams, rivers and lakes.

What is a 319 Grant?

319  Grants are Non-Point Source Water Pollution Control Grants. Section 319 was added to the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1987 to establish a national program to address nonpoint sources of water pollution.

What do 319 Grant Projects Strive to Accomplish?

The primary objective of 319 grant projects is to prevent or reduce nonpoint source pollutant loadings entering water resources so that beneficial uses of the water resources are maintained or restored.

Contact the District if you have a project you would like our help with  in applying for a 319 grant. A meeting can be set up to further discuss applying for this grant. Maine public organizations such as state agencies, soil and water conservation districts, regional planning agencies, watershed districts, municipalities, and nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organizations are eligible to receive NPS grants. 


McLean Brook 319... During the spring and fall of 2008 and with  help from University of Maine at Fort Kent Environmental Studies students and other local volunteers, the entire 8,260 acre McLean Brook watershed was surveyed. Threats to downstream priority   watershed (s)--Long, Mud, and Cross Lakes--were  identified, documented, and evaluated for impact, cost to fix, and overall priority. A final Survey Report was written and is available to the public at the District office.



All programs and services of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the USDA are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political belief, gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital and familial status.