Do You Need Help with a Runoff or Erosion Problem?

If interested in receiving an estimate for YCC work, please contact Jim Skinner at:


The goal for YCC

is to provide low-cost erosion control solutions on private properties in the watershed. The YCC also receives guidance from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Federal funding for the YCC program ended in 2004. Since then, its funding has depended on TLEA Member contributions, grants from the  towns bordering the lake and from private foundations.

The Problem

As the land surrounding Thompson Lake has been developed, the quality of the water has become jeopardized. Deforestation, driveways, ditches, and recently excavated soil allow soil particles to be carried directly into the lake even during light rain. Those soil particles not only fill in the lake but also carry with them all sorts of chemicals, including phosphorus, an essential nutrient which in excess can cause an algae bloom.

The results of erosive activities are harmful not only to the environment but also to land values and recreation. Once a lake turns green, the damage is extremely difficult to fix. Shoreline erosion, caused by the action of waves which also move soil into the lake water, is another problem. A third problem occurs with thoughtless landscaping. Those beautiful lawns extending to the edge of the shore are perfect conduits for lawn chemicals, of which phosphorus is the most prevalent.

YCC Goals

General policy for the YCC is set by a TLEA Steering Committee. The YCC itself is headed by adult coordinators who meet with the landowner and assist with the design and permit process when necessary. The crew consists of a crew chief and potentially 2-4 high school and/or college age youths whom TLEA employs for 8 weeks in the summer.

In the past the YCC completed about 20 erosion projects each year. Currently we are operating within a YCC Pilot Program as described above and below. This program allows a more simplified and permit-exempt group of erosion control measures to be used. These activities below are called Best Management Practices (BMPs). Though not as extensive as in previous Permit Required activities, these BMPs allow vital work to be accomplished quickly and with reduced permitting complications.

We are now in a rebuilding phase after a previous three year long hiatus. With our restarting the TLEA YCC program in the summer of 2022 we addressed less than in prior years. We do hope to work on more sites each summer in the coming years ahead.

YCC Solutions

The YCC provides a cost-effective solution to many erosion problems. The solution to most non point source pollution involves filtration, or filtering runoff naturally through an expanse of naturally occurring forest duff or erosion controlled mulch (ECM) introduced in areas to help filter the chemicals and phosphorus in the subsoil in a natural process of purification. These solutions involve slowing down the speed of the runoff and diverting water flow from driveways and paths through installing rubber razor bars, and box culverts and/or other diversion openings into the landscape.The YCC also creates buffer plantings and rain gardens to further filter and direct the water flow.

A list of the methods is attached above to describe these activities that can help reduce erosion activities along our shoreline.

Other Benefits of the YCC

The YCC work obviously is an invaluable resource for Thompson Lake. It also helps the young people directly by providing a beneficial summer’s employment they can be proud of. While serving as good examples and helping educate the public, the crew members themselves serve as effective environmental ambassadors. In fact, several former YCC crew members have gone on to careers related to erosion control.

Importance of YCC at this time

TLEA has conducted a Survey of the entire Thompson Lake Watershed Survey in Spring 2023.. We were assisted in this extensive effort by the Maine State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as well as by the three Soil and Water Conservation Districts that service our Thompson Lake Watershed.

These are the County Soil and Water Districts of Cumberland, Oxford, and Androscoggin. These three agencies work with our four towns of Casco, Otisfield, Oxford, and Poland; as well as with individual home and land owners in efforts to preserve and improve our community water shed.

In addition, TLEA has asked for volunteer efforts to join us in this survey and multiple scores of individuals have agreed to participate. The survey results will allow us to apply for a variety of grant possibilities to fund the prevention and remediation of eroded areas. Previous surveys have resulted in extremely timely and generous grants from 319 Grant applications funded in the past.

Future YCC efforts will assist in efforts to prevent and minimize erosive activities and events around our beautiful and well-loved Thompson Lake.

If interested in receiving an estimate for YCC work, please contact Jim Skinner at: