53 Years of Fighting for Maine Lakes
Advocacy & Policy Issues
Maine Lakes is a collaborative leader for lake-friendly policy and advocacy in the state. We work with other lake conservation organizations, businesses, state agencies, local municipalities and legislators to craft effective bills that increase protection, funding, and access to Maine’s lakes. We rely on our grassroots activists to share their priority concerns, write letters to committees, and make phone calls to local officials.
One-on-one interactions with decision-makers are the key to getting lake- and climate-friendly policies firmly in place.
~ Please bookmark this page and check back often for updates on lake bills ~
online advocacy links
Click here to download a list of advocacy links and resources.
Click here to hear a presentation with a 2024 legislative preview and update.
LIMITED PARKING IN augusta:
State Parking Garage at the corner of Sewall and Capitol Streets has been closed until further notice. Click here for a map of available parking near the capital buildings.
active Bills: 2024 (EMERGENCY/SHORT SESSION)
This bill appropriates $2,000,000 to the Invasive Aquatic Plant and Nuisance Species Fund to address the most serious aquatic plant infestations in inland waters of the State. It requires the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to review and recommend more stringent watercraft inspection protocols on infested inland waters of the State and to review surface use restrictions and notification of those restrictions to members of the public.
The bill was heard before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on Wednesday, January 31st. There were over 70 pieces of online testimony submitted online, and more than a dozen advocates spoke in person the committee members. Committee members asked good questions and it's clear they recognize the size and scope of the invasives problem.
To listen in to the Work Session on 2/5, click here. Click the Live Stream link on the top right of the page.
Maine Lakes legislative alert here
Maine Lakes testimony here
This bill was carried over from the first session in order to collect more information about the budget needs for invasive species management. The bill increases the fees for lake and river protection stickers for all motorboats and personal watercraft. The specifics of the bill are being amended now, with one or more amendments to the current language expected to be included for the hearing.
The bill will be discussed before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 5th, Room 206, Cross Office Building. There is no opportunity to testify at a work session, but see below for a link to listen in.
Listen to the Work Session Here (click on "Live Stream, Room 206" in top right corner)
A bill during the first session created a group to study the issue of large wakes generated by the activity of wake surfing. That group met over the summer and fall of 2023, reviewing literature, summarizing issues and concerns, and posing possible legislative solutions to reduce the risks to lake water quality and human property and safety posed by large wakes too close to shore. We hope the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will consider legislation for this session as a result of this report.
The committee has discussed potential bills several times but the language is still under review.
Click here to listen in to the presentation via zoom. Click the link at the top right of the page "Live Stream, Room 206".
Note that there will be no opportunity to speak to the committee at this time.
Egregious shoreland zoning violations are a growing problem that municipalities are ill-equipped to fight, especially when litigious shoreland property owners have deep pockets. This bill authorizes a municipality to restrict the issuance of or suspend or revoke any municipally issued permit to the owner of real estate who violates a shoreland zoning ordinance.
It authorizes the municipality to claim a lien against the real estate for all costs incurred by the municipality and any unpaid penalties related to the ordinance violation. The bill also authorizes the Maine Land Use Planning Commission to take the same actions for violations of standards, rules, permits and orders adopted or issued by the commission related to development in the shoreland zone.
The bill will be heard before the State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 1 p.m.
Results FROM 2023
This bill was presented to the 130th legislature and got overwhelming support from the public but died in committee. Maine Lakes is hopeful that this time around we will be able to get this bill to the finish line with your help!
Proposed Amendmend to LD 92 passed by the committee on May 15.
Work Session and Vote: The public hearing was held Feb. 13. The date for the work session and vote has yet to be set.
This is a rule change that would allow septic systems to be built on fill in the shoreland zone and put lakes and risks.
UPDATE: This bill had a lively hearing with over 90 people testifying in person or in writing. The bill was amended to provide $2 million over two years, and will be funded only if there are surplus funds after the budget is finalized.
Public hearing: Jan. 30, 9 a.m., ENR Committee, Cross Building Room 216, Augusta
Read our written testimony HERE.
Read our Legislative Alert HERE.
Read our Fact Sheet HERE.
Read the statute that created the Lake Protection and Restoration Fund HERE.
Maine Lakes final testimony coming soon.
Click here to add your name to the sign on letter to expand protections for Maine's common loons from lead poisoning.
This bill would prohibit the sale of water withdrawn from Maine's lakes (though it would allow delivery fees), and impose a production fee on commercial users by the DEP. Those fees would then be directed to a lake association grant program to support lake conservation efforts. We support this bill as a way to fund local lake conservation work that keeps public water resource clean and healthy, protecting that resource for future water withdrawal needs.
This bill was pulled by its sponsor prior to the public hearing that was scheduled for May 1 before the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee. We will follow up to determine what the next steps are for this bill.
Printed Bill here.
This bill (An Act to Protect Inland Water Quality, Shorelines, Wildlife and Public Safety by Prohibiting Operation of a Wake Boat to Create an Enhanced Wake Close to Shore or in Shallow Water) prohibits boats purposefully generating enhanced wakes within 500 feet of shorelines and in waters less than 20 feet deep.This will reduce wake-caused erosionand sedimentation, keep lake water clean, protect fragile lakeside habitat, and keep shallow waters safe for families, swimmers, and other boaters. This is not a ban on wake activities and only applies when boats are using wake-enhancing equipment.
UPDATE: This bill received incredible public support, with more than 120 people testifying in favor and just 10 speaking against, but ultimately the bill was voted majority ought-not-to-pass.
Maine Lakes' written testimony HERE.
Read our Fact Sheet HERE.
Click HERE to view a short video from the Maine Boating Impacts Coalition, Responsible Wakes.
Overview of Wake Issues by the Maine Boating Impacts Coalition
Research Brief on a University of Minnesota wake boat study HERE.
Full text of University of Minnesota wake boat study HERE.
Short news piece on the University of Minnesotat wake boat study HERE.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of Maine's lakes!
Make your voice heard and make a difference. There are many ways to help. You can present testimony in person or via Zoom at a public hearing or submit written testimony to a committee here. You can spread the word to neighbors and friends by email and on social media. The more people who speak on behalf of Maine’s lakes, the better. Sign up for our legislative alerts for timely emails with bill and hearing information.
Want to join us? Make your voice heard and make a difference. There are many ways to Take Action and help to keep your lake, and all Maine lakes, pristine for generations to come.
laws that protect maine lakes
The links below share the laws that protect Maine’s lakes:
- The Lakes Program by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
- Shoreland Zoning provides links and supplemental materials for ME DEPs shoreland zoning ordinances
- Stormwater Program provides information about ME DEP’s stormwater program
- Stormwater BMPs Manual
- Enforcement lists Regional DEP Offices and contact information
- Maine Water Laws
- Erosion & Sedimentation Control Law
- Center for Watershed Protection
If traveling to augusta, please note:
State Parking Garage at the corner of Sewall and Capitol Streets has been closed until further notice due to concerns raised by a recent engineering study. The study will be peer reviewed by a second engineering firm during the month of January. The garage will remain closed until review results are received and evaluated. Here is a map of alternate parking options. Please note that Lots A and B and sections of Lot C (per signage in Lot C) are reserved for Legislators.