The Contents of this Page

Introduction

Major Lakes and Ponds of Mount Desert Island

Northeast Creek

Beaver Dam Pond

Duck Pond

Hamilton Pond

Hodgdon Pond

Mount Desert Island High School Ponds

Old Mill Brook

Round Pond

Seal Cove Pond

Somes Pond

Comparative Analysis

The Influence of French Hill Pond on the Northeast Creek Watershed

The Influence of French Hill Pond on other Bodies of Water

Links to Other Pages

 

Introduction

This page has details about all the bodies of water on Mount Desert Island and compares these bodies of water to French Hill Pond or describes in some detail the relationship of other waters with French Hill Pond. There are two objectives of these comparative analyses. First, the examinations of other bodies of water help us understand the evolution of French Hill Pond. The second objective is to understand the impact that French Hill Pond has on other bodies of water like the Northeast Creek watershed. Some of this information, especially that relating to bodies of water entirely within Acadia National Park, is available elsewhere on this website. However, all relevant information is collected here to permit comparisons. The meaning of the data will also be discussed in greater detail. This work is ongoing.

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Major Lakes and Ponds of Mount Desert Island

 

The following table summarizes the major characteristics of the major ponds/lakes on Mount Desert Island. The information in this table is compiled from the following sources: The National Park Service, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the United States Geological Survey and the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program in support of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. All these agencies collaborate. The information below is the most current information available at the time the information was gathered. It is subject to change as new information becomes available. Data in bold print was collected in the calendar year 2009. Clicking on a pond name in blue will link to a detailed description of that pond in a new window. Close a new window to return to the table.

 

Pond Name Area In Acres Area In Sq. Kilometers Maximum Depth in Meters Maximum Depth in Feet Average Depth in Meters Average Depth in Feet Elevation in Feet Elevation in Meters Trophic Type Average Secchi
 (meters)
Low Secchi
  (Meters)
High Secchi
  (Meters)
Aunt Betty's Pond 34.000 0.138 2.4 7.87 0.900 2.953 210.0 64.0 Eutrophic 2.3 1.70 2.40
Beaver Dam Pond 8.000 0.032 4.000 13.123 4.000 13.123 137.0 41.8 Eutrophic 3.1 2.9 3.2
Bubble Pond 32.000 0.130 11.900 39.042 6.400 20.997 331.0 100.9 Mesotrophic 6.7 5.2 7.9
Duck Pond 1.000 0.004 N/A N/A N/A 0.000 170.0 51.8 Dystrophic N/A N/A N/A
Eagle Lake 437.000 1.768 34.000 111.549 13.000 42.651 274.0 83.5 Oligotrophic 9.2 7.9 11.6
Echo Lake 237.000 0.959 20.100 65.945 8.500 27.887 84.0 25.6 Oligotrophic 6.5 4.9 7.4
Fawn Pond 3.000 0.012 N/A N/A N/A N/A 197.0 60.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
French Hill Pond 3.740 0.015 2.94 9.64 1.67 5.49 63.0 19.2 Mesotrophic  1.09  0.85 1.23 
Halfmoon Pond 3.000 0.012 6.100 20.013 4.300 14.108 250.0 76.2 Mesotrophic 5.0 5.00 5.00
Hamilton Pond 51.000 0.208 2.1 7.0 N/A N/A 37.7 11.5 Oligotrophic 0.8 0.80 0.80
Hodgdon Pond 35.000 0.142 6.700 21.982 3.400 11.155 50.0 15.2 Eutrophic 5.0 3.00 7.10
Jordan Pond 187.000 0.757 45.700 149.934 25.600 83.990 274.0 83.5 Oligotrophic 11.2 6.2 12.9
Little Long Pond 38.000 0.154 1.500 4.921 0.900 2.953 20.0 6.1 Mesotrophic N/A N/A N/A
Little Round Pond 16.000 0.065 5.200 17.060 2.400 7.874 70.0 21.3 Mesotrophic N/A N/A N/A
Lake Wood 14.800 0.060 3.400 11.155 2.100 6.890 136.0 41.5 Mesotrophic 3.2 2.90 3.40
Long Pond 897.000 3.630 34.500 113.189 11.300 37.073 59.0 18.0 Oligotrophic 8.3 5.6 10.1
Lower Breakneck Pond 8.000 0.032 6.400 20.997 3.400 11.155 260.0 79.2 Mesotrophic 5.0 4.3 6.0
Lower Hadlock Pond 32.000 0.130 12.200 40.026 5.500 18.045 188.0 57.3 Mesotrophic 6.3 6.3 6.3
Round Pond 38.000 0.154 5.800 19.029 3.400 11.155 72.0 21.9 Mesotrophic 4.7 4.00 5.50
Sargent Mountain Pond 1.000 0.004 3.300 10.827 3.000 9.843 1070.0 326.1 Oligotrophic 3.3 3.30 3.30
Seal Cove Pond 283.000 1.145 13.400 43.963 5.500 18.045 38.0 11.6 Mesotrophic 5.6 3.9 7.7
Seawall Pond 5.000 0.020 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.0 0.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Somes Pond 104.000 0.421 7.600 24.934 3.400 11.155 38.0 11.6 Mesotrophic 3.9 3.7 4.3
The Bowl 6.000 0.024 9.000 29.528 N/A N/A 410.0 125.0 N/A 6.4 6.4 6.4
The Tarn 8.000 0.032 1.200 3.937 0.900 2.953 97.0 29.6 Eutrophic 0.9 0.70 1.10
Upper Breakneck Pond 9.000 0.036 3.700 12.139 1.800 5.906 260.0 79.2 Eutrophic 3.7 3.60 3.80
Upper Hadlock Pond 35.000 0.142 11.300 37.073 4.300 14.108 228.0 69.5 Mesotrophic 6.2 5.00 7.50
Witch Hole Pond 28.000 0.113 9.500 31.168 3.700 12.139 179.0 54.6 Mesotrophic 4.2 3.7 5.20

Key to Table Features        
N/A= Not Available Lakes/ponds within Acadia Lakes/ponds partly in Acadia Lakes/ponds outside Acadia French Hill Pond


Definitions:
Oligotrophic describes bodies of water that have few plants and plant nutrients but high levels of dissolved oxygen.
Mesotrophic describes bodies of water with moderate levels of vegetation and moderate levels of dissolved oxygen.
Eutrophic describes bodies of water with a great deal of vegetation, algae and low levels of dissolved oxygen.
Dystrophic bodies of water are acidic, pH less than 5.0, with a great deal of vegetation from a small number of species.

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Northeast Creek

Northeast Creek is a pristine watershed on Mount Desert Island. The water leaving French Hill Pond eventually finds its way to Northeast Creek. However, the French Hill Pond watershed supplies only a fraction of the water in Northeast Creek. Other sources of water for Northeast Creek are Old Mill Brook that drains the area around Youngs Mountain and McFarland Mountain in Acadia National Park, Hamilton Pond in the Village of Salsbury Cove and Fresh Meadow, a marsh between the Village of Salsbury Cove and the Village of Town Hill in Bar Harbor. Hamilton Pond is supplied by Stony Brook in The Heath, a marsh southeast of the Village of Salsbury Cove, and a brook running from Lake Wood. Fresh Meadow is supplied with water by French Hill Brook and Aunt Betsey's Brook to the west. The annotated photograph of the Acadia National Park relief map shown below indicates the location of these water sources.

Northern Part of Mount Desert Island

The next photograph shows Northeast Creek looking southeast from the bridge over State Route 3 in the upper left of center in the photograph above. Northeast Creek is a broad and relatively deep creek attracting canoers and kayakers. One can paddle south to Fresh Meadow almost to the Crooked Road. 

Northeast Creek

On the other side of State Route 3, Northeast Creek meanders through a salt marsh until it empties into Thomas Bay as shown in the next photograph.

Mouth of Northeast Creek

Fresh Meadow is shown in the next photograph from the point at which French Hill Brook passes into Fresh Meadow on the way to Northeast Creek. Fresh Meadow is a marsh noted for its wild cranberry plants.

Fresh Meadow

The photograph below shows French Hill Brook as it enters Fresh Meadow after passing under the Crooked Road.

French Hill Brook Entering Fresh Meadow

About a mile (1.6 kilometers) along The Crooked Road east of French Hill Brook, Old Mill Brook passes under The Crooked Road and Norway Drive as shown in the next photograph.

Old Mill Brook

The importance of this watershed system is apparent by the presence of a united States Geological Survey (USGS) water level monitoring station on Old Mill Brook at the corner of The Crooked Road and Norway Drive in 2010 as shown in the next photograph. This station is number 01022805 and provided real time data on the height of Old Mill Brook. It was deactivated and removed in 2011. The historical data collected by this device can be accessed by going to http://waterdata.usgs.gov (do not type www). When this site is displayed, select "Groundwater," click on Historical Observations, select "Site Number", enter site number "01022805" and submit. You can then select historical data generated by the monitoring station in graphic or tabular format.

Water Monitoring Station on Old Mill Brook

Another USGS monitoring station is located nearby in the woods across the Crooked Road from the Emery Cemetery, a small private cemetery on a knoll easily seen from The Crooked Road. This station, shown in the photograph below, monitors the level of ground water and is currently active. The data can be accessed by going to http://waterdata.usgs.gov (do not type www).  When this site is displayed, select "Groundwater," click on Historical Observations, select "Site Number", enter site number "442450068175201" and submit. You can then select current or historical data generated by the monitoring station in graphic or tabular format.

Ground Water Monitoring Station Opposite Emery Cemetery

These stations are a in support of a study of groundwater resources in this section of Bar Harbor. However, data is also collected that helps determine the health of Northeast Creek. Hamilton Pond is to the northeast of these stations and Northeast Creek.

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Beaver Dam Pond

Beaver Dam Pond

Beaver Dam Pond is a pond in Acadia National Park on the Park Loop Road across from the Jackson Laboratory campus. It has a surface area of 8 acres (0.032 square kilometers) at an altitude of 137 feet (41.8 meters) above sea level. The maximum depth in this pond is 13.123 feet (4 meters). According to Acadia National Park data, the average depth is the same as the maximum depth. Beaver Dam Pond is eutrophic, that is, it has a great deal of vegetation and low levels of dissolved oxygen. No data on the fish in this pond is currently available. The photograph above shows Beaver Dam Pond with Champlain Mountain and Huguenot Head in the background. Beaver Dam Pond is fed by Bear Brook that drains the notch between Champlain Mountain and Huguenot Head. This brook enters Beaver Dam Pond to the right of center in the photograph above. Bear Brook continues under the Park Loop Road and Schooner Head Road in Bar Harbor before it empties into Frenchman Bay opposite an island called, The Thrumcap.

The next photograph is a closer view of the pond showing some of the vegetation and two beaver lodges.

Beaver Lodges on Beaver Dam Pond

Beaver  Dam Pond is on the one-way section of Park Loop Road just beyond the Bear Brook Picnic Area.

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Duck Pond

Duck Pond is a one acre (0.004 square kilometer) body of water in Acadia National Park. As the photograph below shows, Duck Pond has a great deal of vegetation. It is the only dystrophic body of water that the National Park Service has identified in Acadia National Park. Dystrophic means that the pond is highly acidic compared to other ponds with a pH of less than 5.0 and it contains a limited variety of plants but lots of them. Information on the fish in Duck Pond has not as yet been found.

This pond drains the wetlands in this area and some of the surrounding hills. Duck Pond Brook flows north from the pond to Long Pond (Great Pond) west of the Southern Neck part of Long Pond.

Duck Pond

Duck Pond is located off the Long Pond Fire Road that loops around Hodgdon Pond. This fire road runs east from State Route 102 a short distance south of the entrance to the Pretty Marsh picnic area. It intersects State Route 102 again via Hodgdon Road about a mile (1.6 kilometers) further south. A very short road to Duck Pond is on the right about 2/3 the distance from the Pretty Marsh entrance to the fire road and Hodgdon Road.

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Hamilton Pond

Hamilton Pond

Hamilton Pond has a surface area of 51 acres (0.208 square kilometers) and a maximum depth of 7 feet (2.1 meters).  An official average depth could not be found but it appears to be about 3.6 feet ( 1.1 meters).  The pond has a high turbidity. The fish in Hamilton Pond include Largemouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, American Eel, Minnows, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Banded Killifish and Common Sucker. The photograph above shows Hamilton Pond as seen from State Route 3 in Salsbury Cove.

Hamilton Pond was created in the early 1900s when Stony Brook was dammed for agricultural purposes. Stony Brook enters Hamilton Pond from the east. French Hill Pond was similarly created in the early 1970s when the area of Frenchman's Hill was developed for housing. In some respects, Hamilton Pond is a larger version of French Hill Pond. Both ponds have high turbidity, are relatively shallow, get water from wetlands and drain into Northeast Creek. Hamilton Pond drains to the west into Northeast Creek. The next photograph shows Hamilton Pond as seen from Norway Drive looking west. Note the aquatic vegetation.

Hamilton Pond from Norway Drive

Hamilton Pond is located in the Village of Salsbury Cove in the Town of Bar Harbor at the intersection of State Route 3 and Norway Drive. This pond is very popular with fishermen. Boats can be launched into Hamilton Pond from Norway Drive.

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Hodgdon Pond

Hodgdon Pond

Hodgdon Pond is located off the Tremont Road (State Route 102)  in the Town of Tremont south of Pretty Marsh, in the Town of Mount Desert. It has a surface area of 35 acres (0.142 square kilometers) and is at an elevation of 50 feet (15.2 meters) above sea level. The maximum depth of Hodgdon Pond is 22 feet (3.4 meters) and average depth is 11.2 feet (3.4 meters). Hodgdon Pond is classified as eutrophic, that is, it has a great deal of vegetation and low levels of dissolved oxygen. The turbity of this pond is moderate. Only the eastern shore of Hodgdon Pond is in Acadia National Park. The remaining shore is private property.

The fish in Hodgdon Pond include Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Chain Pickerel, Minnows, White Sucker, Hornpout (Bullhead Catfish), Redbreast Sunfish, Pumpkinseed Sunfish and American Eel. The bass in Hodgdon Pond have levels of mercury that exceed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. Large bass (greater than 12 inches or 30.48 centimeters) should not be eaten. The most commonly caught fish in Hodgdon Pond are pickerel. Large pickerel in this pond should not be consumed.

Chain Pickerel were illegally introduced into Seal Cove Pond in the 1990's and migrated upstream into Hodgdon Pond. Pickerel compete with Brown Trout that are stocked in Hodgdon Pond and Seal Cove Pond. Maine requires a permit to stock fish in any body of freshwater. The permit enables fisheries biologists to determine the viability of stocking specific species. Unfortunately, many people ignore this requirement and create unsound environmental conditions.

Hodgdon Pond drains wetlands to the north and the water from Hodgdon Pond flows south into Seal Cove Pond. The photograph above shows Hodgdon Pond from the south end. One can launch a small watercraft into the pond at this point. The next photograph shows some of the pondweeds in the shallows. Among the plants shown are Variable Pondweed (Potamogeton gramineus), Wild Celery (Vallisneria americana), Bur Reed (Sparganium americanum) and Soft Rush (Juncus effusus).

Plants in Hodgdon Pond

The Long Pond Fire Road in Acadia National Park loops around Hodgdon Pond. This fire road runs east from State Route 102 a short distance south of the entrance to the Pretty Marsh picnic area. It intersects State Route 102 again via Hodgdon Road about a mile (1.6 kilometers) further south. The only practical public access area is at the south end of the pond near the beginning of Long Pond Fire Road. The most direct route to this area is to turn onto Hodgdon Road from State Route 102 and look for the road sign identifying Long Pond Fire Road a short distance to the right from the beginning of Hodgdon Road. Hodgdon Road is very short. Finding Long Pond Fire Road should not be difficult. This narrow and rough  fire road winds its way through virgin forest for several miles before intersecting State Route 102 again. Wetlands associated with Hodgdon Pond are found along this road.

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Mount Desert Island High School Ponds

Evaporation Ponds atMount Desert Island High School

There are three evaporation ponds on the property of Mount Desert Island High School. The most southern of these ponds is shown above. The next photograph shows algae growing on the pond north of the pond shown above. All three ponds are fed by waste water from the high school grounds and facilities. There are very high levels of nutrients in these ponds enabling heavy growth of algae and supporting a thick community of emergent plants as shown in the photographs. Ducks and other animals are known to frequent these ponds. These animals may transfer organisms from the high school ponds to other bodies of water on Mount Desert Island. Water escaping form these ponds will tend to flow into isolated sections of Acadia National Park and ultimately into Somes Sound.

Collectively, these ponds are about the size of French Hill Pond in area. Their importance lies in their productivity and the wildlife they attract. Similarities and differences between these ponds and French Hill Pond may be instructive.

Algae on Mount Desert Island High School Pond

The following photograph shows a shy, immature beaver in the most northern of the three Mount Desert High School ponds. This pond was also the home of a family of Black Ducks in July 2010.

Beaver in the most northern pond of Mount Desert Island High School

The Mount Desert Island High School Ponds may be visited by driving to the rear parking area of the high school. The ponds are to the west of the parking lot and athletic fields. Do not even touch this water. It is highly contaminated with human pathogens.

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Old Mill Brook

Old Mill Brook is the waterway emptying into Fresh Meadow and Northeast Creek that is being continuously monitored by the United States Geological Survey. See the description of Northeast Creek above for more information about this monitoring effort. This brook drains the wetlands between Norway Drive in Bar Harbor and the section of Acadia National Park west of the Lake Wood watershed, Youngs Mountain and McFarland Mountain. Old Mill Brook originates in a wetland to the southeast of the intersection of Norway Drive and State Route 233, which is also known as Eagle Lake Road in Bar Harbor. Its importance is as a major source of water for Northeast Creek and has a greater influence on the Northeast Creek watershed than French Hill Brook. The following photograph shows part of Old Mill Brook just north of State Route 233 in winter. Vegetation and vehicular traffic in this area makes the brook difficult and dangerous to spot in the summer. The dark spots in the center of the photograph are parts of the brook exposed through the snow.

Old Mill Brook at Route 233

Old Mill Brook at Old Norway Drive

The photograph above shows Old Mill Brook as it flows north of Old Norway Drive about a mile south of the Crooked Road and halfway between the origin of the brook and the point at which Old Mill Brook empties into Northeast Creek. Note the large conduit that runs under the road and the swift water. The point at which Old Mill Brook crosses under this road is a paved section of road that was recently renamed Mill Brook Road. This paved road begins at Norway Drive and ends just east of Old Mill Brook and is considered a dead end road. However, Old Norway Drive is a mostly unimproved road that continues north to the Crooked Road.

Old Mill Brook South of Crooked Road

As Old Mill Brook flows north from Old Norway Drive, it broadens before it crosses under the Crooked Road. The photograph above was taken looking south south east from the intersection of the Crooked Road and Norway Drive. The meadow shown will often flood after a heavy rain and the intersection of the Crooked Road and Norway Drive may flood to the point of being impassable. The water flow in Old Mill Brook slows as it broadens in this meadow. The difference in altitude between this road intersection and the point at which Old Mill Brook enters Northeast Creek is very slight. Therefore, the surface of the creek remains calm for most of its remaining course.

Old Mill Brook Bottom

The photograph above shows the bottom of Old Mill Brook just south of the Crooked Road. Note the large number of submerged plants. In the center and to the left in the photograph are apparently some Farwell's Water-milfoil (Myriophyllum farwellii) and a related species, Low Water-milfoil (Myriophyllum humile). Both of these milfoils are native to Maine. Also in the center and to the right of the photograph are apparently Northern Snail-seed Pondweeds (Potamogeton spirillus). These plants were not removed for positive identification but the high-resolution photograph shows enough detail to narrow the identification.

Old Mill Brook and Liscomb Brook

Old Mill Brook joins Liscomb Brook before it empties into Northeast Creek beyond the evergreen trees in the photograph above. This photograph was taken from Norway Drive north of the Crooked Road. Old Mill Brook is barely visible meandering through the meadow from left to right in the center of the photograph. Liscomb Brook flows into Old Mill Brook from the right. Liscomb Brook drains a wet area to the west of Norway Drive and north of the Crooked Road. A small brook that drains a small wet area to the southwest of the Crooked Road also intersects Old Mill Brook from the left.

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Round Pond

Round Pond from the South

Round Pond is a 38 acre (0.154 square kilometers) pond north of Long Pond (Great Pond) in the Town of Mount Desert. It is at an elevation of 72 feet (22 meters) above sea level. The maximum depth of Round Pond is 19 feet (5.8 meters). The average depth is 11 feet (3.4 meters). Round Pond is considered mesotrophic, that is, it has moderate levels of vegetation and dissolved oxygen. The fish in Round Pond include Brook Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Minnows, White Sucker, Banded Killifish, Ninespine Stickleback and Pumpkinseed Sunfish. Round Pond drains into Long Pond (Great Pond). The photograph above shows the southern part of Round Pond from the boat launch area. The depth of the water in this area restricts the size of boats  to canoes and kayaks. The next photograph shows the southeastern shore of the pond. Note the abundant vegetation in this section of the pond.

Southeast Shore of Round Pond

Round Pond is off Pretty Marsh Road about one half mile west of the boat launch for the northern part of Long Pond (Great Pond).  The small boat launch area on Pretty Marsh Road is the only practical access to the pond.

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Seal Cove Pond

Seal Cove Pond South End from Boat Launch Area

Seal Cove Pond is east of Tremont Road/State Route 102 in the Town of Tremont and due south of Hodgdon Pond. The surface area of Seal Cove Pond is 283 acres (1.145 square kilometers) making it one of the larger bodies of water on Mount Desert Island. The pond is 38 feet (11.6 meters) above sea level. The maximum depth is 44 feet (13.4 meters) and it has an average depth of  18.1 feet (5.5 meters). Seal Cove Pond is classified as mesotrophic, that is, it has moderate levels of vegetation and moderate levels of dissolved oxygen. It has low turbidity. The eastern shore of Seal Cove Pond is in Acadia National Park. The remaining shore of the pond remains in private hands.

Relatively few visitors frequent this area because it is remote and somewhat primitive. Those who do visit this area should exercise caution because help may not be readily available.

The fish in Seal Cove Pond include Brown Trout, Rainbow Smelt, Smallmouth Bass, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Chain Pickerel, Minnows, White Sucker, Banded Killifish, Sunfish, American Eel and Alewife. Unfortunately, pickerel were illegally introduced in this pond around 1990 and compete with the trout. The photograph above shows the southern end of Seal Cove Pond from the boat launch area at the western end of Western Mountain Road. The dense, green, emergent plants in the foreground are Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) and Soft Rush (Juncus effusus). Pickerelweed is so named because it is often found in ponds containing pickerel.

Seal Cove Pond receives water from Hodgdon Pond to the north and brooks draining the wetlands around the pond. The outlet from Seal Cove Pond is into a brook that terminates in Seal Cove off Blue Hill Bay.

The next photograph was also taken from the boat launch area but looking north.

Seal Cove Pond Looking North from Boat Launch Area

The following photograph of the southern end of Seal Cove Pond was taken from State Route 102 also called the Tremont Road.

Seal Cove Pond from Tremont Road

The north end of Seal Cove Pond is shown in the next photograph. Notice the waves generated by afternoon breezes and the Soft Rush in the foreground.

North End of Seal Cove Pond

Seal Cove Pond is easily seen from State Route 102, the Tremont Road. Public access is from the National Park property. Just south of the Village of Seal Cove and running to the east of State Route 102 is Seal Cove Road, a rough, narrow dirt road providing access to Acadia National Park from the Village of Seal Cove to the Town of Southwest Harbor. Two clearly-marked roads run north from Seal Cove Road to Western Mountain Road. Go west on Western Mountain Road to the boat launch area. This area is the only public boat launch area on Seal Cove Pond. All other public access to Seal Cove Pond requires a hike through thick, old-growth forest.  Seal Cove Road runs to the Town of Southwest Harbor and intersects State Route 102 again just north of the business district. The portion of Seal Cove Road maintained by the Town of Southwest Harbor is paved. An example of the road signs in this area is shown in the next photograph.

Western Mountain Road Sign

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Somes Pond

Somes Pond is another pond completely out side Acadia National Park. It is located in the Village of Somesville and the Town of Mount Desert. Somes Pond has a surface area of 104 acres (0.421 square kilometers). It has a maximum depth of 25 feet (7.6 meters) and an average depth of  11.2 feet (3.4 meters).  The surface elevation is 38 feet (11.6 meters) above sea level. The fish in Somes Pond include Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Smelt, Alewive, Eel, White Sucker, Minnows, Banded Killifish and Pumpkinseed Sunfish. The following photograph shows Somes Pond from its most northern point on Oak Hill Road.

Somes Pond from Oak Hill Road

The next photograph shows the southern and southwestern shores of Somes Pond. Note the abundance of vegetation.

Southwest Shore of Somes Pond

Somes Pond receives water from Long Pond (Great Pond) through Ripple Pond to the south that enters Somes Pond at a point to the left of center in the photograph above and two brooks in the northwest that drain wetlands. The eastern shore of Somes Pond can be seen from State Route 102 in Somesville as seen in the next photograph.

Somes Pond as Seen from Somesville

The outlet from Somes Pond dumps its water into Somes Harbor, the northern part of Somes Sound. The waterway to Somes Harbor passes under one of the most photographed footbridges in the world as shown in the next photograph.

Somesville Footbridge

Note the large amount of vegetation in this waterway. Somes Pond is accessible from Oak Hill Road and Pretty Marsh Road in Somesville. The Oak Hill Road access has a boat ramp.

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Comparative Analysis

Introduction

The objective of a comparative analysis is to determine those characteristics that the bodies of water on Mount Desert Island have in common to develop an understanding of how French Hill Pond may be evolving. French Hill Pond is a relatively young body of water that was formed when a tract of land was developed for housing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The only other bodies of water listed on this page that were not formed naturally are Hamilton Pond and the Mount Desert Island High School evaporation ponds. These ponds differ from French Hill Pond in significant ways. Therefore, one cannot assume that the evolution of French Hill Pond will parallel the evolutions of these other man-made ponds. The following comparative analysis will compare specific characteristics of Mount Desert Island bodies of freshwater to ascertain how French Hill Pond may be evolving.

Depth

Most lakes and ponds on Mount Desert Island have average depths greater than French Hill Pond. Some lakes and ponds have lesser average depths. Among the latter are Aunt Betsy's Pond, Little Long Pond and The Tarn. Bodies of water with average depths and maximum depths comparable to French Hill Pond are Lake Wood and Upper Breakneck Pond. The average depths and maximum depths of these comparable bodies of water are less than a meter different from French Hill Pond. It is important to note that French Hill Pond drops off steeply compared to other ponds. The water depth of French Hill Pond is more than a meter a short distance from shore except for some parts of the southern shore. The southern quarter of French Hill Pond is shallow with depths less than a meter. Water plants grow relatively close to shore in French Hill Pond except for the shallow area to the south where water plants grow to the middle of the pond. Lake Wood and Upper Breakneck Pond have similar plant distributions. One would expect French Hill Pond to develop characteristics driven by depth similar to Lake Wood and Upper Breakneck Pond. Both of these comparable ponds have a long history and neither seem to be evolving into a wetland, much less dry ground, in the near future.

Surface Area

The surface area of French Hill Pond is comparable to Fawn Pond and Halfmoon Pond. Fawn Pond is heavily populated with water plants but Halfmoon Pond has plant distributions similar to French Hill Pond. Depth data on Fawn Pond is not currently available but, given the distribution of plants in Fawn Pond, one can assume that it is rather shallow. Both comparable ponds have a long history and only Fawn Pond seems to have the potential to evolve into dry land in the near future.

Turbidity

The turbidity of a body of water influences the distribution of water plants in a pond. The higher the turbidity, the less light reaches the bottom of the pond. French Hill Pond has a high turbidity relative to other ponds on Mount Desert Island. Much of this turbidity appears to be tannin from a small peat bog developing at the southern end of the pond around the brook that appears to be the primary source of water for the pond. Even before entering the bog, this brook has tea-colored water. Only Hamilton Pond and The Tarn have higher measured turbidities than French Hill Pond. The presence of peat bogs around the water supplies for Hamilton Pond and The Tarn remains to be examined. Plants are less likely to grow in the deeper areas of these ponds. However, Hamilton Pond and The Tarn are much shallower than French Hill Pond. The distributions of plants in Hamilton Pond and The Tarn are much wider than in French Hill Pond. These results are reasonable considering the greater depths in French Hill Pond. The Tarn is in danger of drying. However, Hamilton Pond remains a viable body of water even about one hundred years after its creation. French Hill Pond should be less likely than Hamilton Pond to evolve into a wetland anytime soon.

Trophic Type

Of the twenty eight major lakes and ponds on Mount Desert Island, thirteen, including French Hill Pond, are classified as mesotrophic. These bodies of water have moderate vegetation and moderate levels of dissolved oxygen. The dissolved oxygen in French Hill Pond has not been measured but the presence of catfish and trout in French Hill Pond indicates that the dissolved oxygen level is at least 5 parts per million. One would expect that French Hill Pond will have characteristics dependent upon trophic type similar to the characteristics of other mesotrophic bodies of water on Mount Desert Island. All the mesotrophic bodies of water on Mount Desert Island are well established and are in no danger of evolving into a different type in the near future. One would expect French Hill Pond to maintain its current characteristics for the foreseeable future.

Elevation

Elevation above sea level helps determine the reliability of water sources for a body of water. The lower the elevation, the more reliable will be the water sources in general. French Hill Pond has a relatively low elevation. Therefore, it will benefit from the tendency of water to seek lower elevations. Some seepage from bodies of water at higher elevations will eventually flow into French Hill Pond. The water level in French Hill Pond will drop during dry periods but probably not as fast as bodies of water at higher elevations. Given the depth of French Hill Pond, there is less danger of French Hill Pond drying than many higher bodies of water. Therefore, French Hill Pond should not be in greater danger from drought conditions than other bodies of water on Mount Desert Island.

Plant and Animal Studies

The identification of the plants and animals in and around French Hill Pond is ongoing. Some and animals plants found in other bodies of water on Mount Desert Island are not found in French Hill Pond. The meaning of these differences has not as yet been established. However, alarming differences are not apparent.

Conclusions

French Hill Pond is not likely to change its characteristics in the near future. It supports animal and plant life in much the same way as other well-established bodies of water on Mount Desert Island. The depth and turbidity of French Hill Pond should limit plant growth to maintain the current trophic type. It is in no danger of drying soon and should support animal life at the current level for the foreseeable future.

The Influence of French Hill Pond on the Northeast Creek Watershed

The water flowing out of French Hill Pond flows into the Northeast Creek Watershed. French Hill Pond will contribute some turbidity to the water in the Northeast Creek Watershed but not to a dramatic extent. Hamilton Pond and the cranberry bogs in Fresh Meadow contribute more to the turbidity of Northeast Creek than French Hill Pond. The significance of French Hill Pond lies in the chemicals and plant and animal life that it might contribute to the Northeast Creek Watershed. Currently, French Hill Pond apparently lacks chemicals not found in most Maine bodies of water and the plants and animals appear native to Maine. The study of French Hill Pond is on going with a concentration on those characteristics that could threaten the health of the pond and, subsequently, the Northeast Creek Watershed.

The Influence of French Hill Pond on other Bodies of Water

The water from French Hill Pond flows only into Fresh Meadow and ultimately into Northeast Creek. However, French Hill Pond is a temporary home to migrating wildlife like ducks and wandering animals like beavers, deer and even humans. These animals may transmit seeds and other organisms to other ponds on Mount Desert Island. It is likely that much of the vegetation in French Hill Pond was established by seeds from other ponds on Mount Desert Island. Organisms are frequently transferred from one body of water to another on watercraft used by humans for recreational purposes. It is important for people to clean their boats before using them in a new body of water. French Hill Pond is being monitored for new plants and animals to ensure species not native to Maine do not become established in French Hill Pond and subsequently transferred to other bodies of water on Mount Desert Island. Currently, no invasive species have been identified in French Hill Pond.

 

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