53 Years of Fighting for Maine Lakes

Active 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.

The first session of the 131st legislature started in January 2023.

~ Please bookmark this page and check back often as we will update our list of active lake bills frequently during the upcoming session (January-May). ~

 Action Items:

LD 92: Requiring trailered boats to be drained while traveling and after leaving a waterbody

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!  

Bill Printed Here

Proposed Amendmend to LD 92 passed by the committee on May 15.

Our Written Testimony Here

Read Our Legislative Alert Here

Work Session and Vote: The public hearing was held Feb. 13. The date for the work session and vote has yet to be set. 

LD 164: Funding the lake restoration and protection fund

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.

Bill Printed Here

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.

LD 693: Prohibiting Wake Boats within 500 Feet of Shore

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 activitiesand 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. The work session is scheduled for Wednesday April 12th at 1:00 and we will update with news after that.

Bill printed here.

Work Session: Wednesday, April 12, 1 p.m., Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, Cross Building Room 206, Augusta

Maine Lakes' written testimony HERE.

Read our Fact Sheet HERE.

Click HERE to view a short videa 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.

LD 958: Close the Lead Jig Loophole
The sale of lead sinkers in Maine was first banned in 2003. That ban was extended in the years since to include both the use and sale of both lead sinkers and bare (unpainted) lead-headed jigs. Painted lead-headed jigs were not included in part because of speculation that the paint would protect the loon from the effects of lead. However, we now know that paint on a jig is quickly ground off in the muscular gizzard, so loon ingesting painted lead-headed jigs are still at risk from lead poisoning, which is fatal. This bill closes the painted lead-headed jig loophole by adding them to the list of tackle that puts loons at risk, better protecting loon health and reproductive success.
Please click the bill title above to read the bill text.
Click here for a Maine Audubon fact sheet about LD 958.
Click here to sign a Citizen's Petition in support.
Click here if your lake or watershed association supports this bill.
Click here for an excellent Portland Press Herald Op Ed about the importance of healthy wildlife to four generations of anglers.


Public Hearing: Monday May 8 at 10:00 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee
Room 206, Cross Office Building

Bill printed 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.

LD 1342 and LD 1534: Increase Funding to Reduce the Spread of Invasives

Both of these bills increase fees for the Lake and River Protection Sticker, which funds Courtesy Boat Inspection Programs and invasive species control. The costs for these programs are increasing, outpacing the available funds. At the same time, the risks for invasive species spread are growing. To succeed in our fight to protect Maine's lakes from invasive introduction, we have to think beyond maintaining the programs we have now. We need to plan for more preventative actions in the future that ultimately will save both time and resources by catching invaders before they reach our waters.

Public Hearing was Monday May 1 before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee

Read our final testimony here.

LD 1342 Bill printed here.

LD 1534 Bill printed here.

LD 1081: Conservation fee for commercial water drawn from lakes and ponds

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.

LD 1473: Adds protection for lakes from devleopment impacts
This is a sweeping bill passed a year ago to address the Maine housing crisis by removing regulatory barriers to housing production. While supporters of the bill claim it protects sensitive environmental resources, we are concerned that the scale of development we could see in the shoreland zone would lead to lake and water quality degradation from additional soil compaction, vegetation removal, and impervious surfaces in near shore areas. We support the objectives of providing more accessible and affordable housing for all, but we need to do so in a way that protects our lake and water resources for all who use and enjoy them.
We support this bill because it adds protection from development impacts for lakes that are drinking water sources and that currently have waivers for water filtration systems. These waivers are awarded based on the quality of the drinking water, which is in jeopardy if widespread additional development on single house lots degrades water quality. The cost of protecting these drinking water resources now far outweighs the astronomical costs of building a water treatment system in the future, which is a requirement if water quality degrades and a waiver is not granted. This bill will exempt areas within the shoreland zone of lakes that are drinking water supplies and have filtration waivers from the additional development otherwise allowed by LD 2003.
Public hearing was May 1 before the Environment and Natural Resources Comittee.
Printed Bill here.
Read our final testimony 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: