Prior to 1971, a survey of the lake to assess the water quality of the lake was performed through a Bates college program. The survey was circulated among lakeshore owners and interest grew in forming an organization that would monitor and promote the health of the lake. The first issue of the newsletter the Thompson Lake Observer contained the results of the survey, and asked if recipients were interested in starting an association to continue with lake monitoring. The response was enthusiastic, and on August 28, 1971, over 150 individuals assembled to create the Thompson Lake Environmental Association, or TLEA for short. Erland Starbird was elected as the first president.

The mission of the association was then, and is now, to preserve the natural beauty, water quality, and biological diversity of Thompson Lake.

TLEA’s initial goals were monitoring of water quality, shoreline development, waste and sewage disposal systems, as well as boating traffic and safety. In the decades since TLEA was organized, those specific goals have shifted somewhat to place more emphasis on environmental  concerns and  public education, leaving the enforcement of the shoreland zoning rules to the code enforcement officers of the four towns bordering the lake.

What We Do

Our programs presently include water quality testing, including serial Secchi disc readings and an annual water quality assessment by a liminologist, watershed surveys to identify areas of erosion, milfoil removal and surveying for invasive species, a courtesy boat inspection system, a Youth Conservation Corps, LakeSmart, education and our newsletter, the Observer These constitute a broad and ambitious array of projects for an organization that began so modestly nearly fifty years ago. Thanks mainly to its leadership and membership support, TLEA is recognized as a leading lake and environmental association.  Many thanks to all our supporters who provide the important resources that make our efforts possible!