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The Thompson Lake Environmental Association

Our History

The TLEA's beginnings go back to 1970, when a Bates College professor received a grant to measure the water quality of several Maine lakes, including Thompson Lake.  The survey quickly led to interest among lakeshore owners in forming an organization that would be responsible for future activities promoting the health of the lake. The first issue of the Thompson Lake Observer, containing the results of the survey, asked if recipients might be interested in starting an association to continue the lake monitoring. The response was strong enough to convene an organizing meeting.  On August 28, 1971, over 150 individuals assembled to create the Thompson Lake Environmental Association, or TLEA for short, with Erland Starbird serving as first president.

Starbird's first presidential message includes a statement of TLEA's mission, which has changed little since he wrote it in 1971:

"It seems reassuring that there is in fact, an Environmental Association aimed primarily at protecting the ecology and water quality in and around Thompson Lake. The increasing population along, and close to the lake shore, has made it imperative that some sort of surveillance and control be exercised if Thompson Lake is to remain the clear, beautiful body of water that it is today." 


Among TLEA's responsibilities were monitoring water quality, future development, waste and sewage disposal systems, and boating traffic and safety. In the decades since TLEA was organized, those specific goals have shifted somewhat to place more emphasis on general oversight and on public education, leaving the enforcement of the shoreland zoning rules to the code enforcement officers of the four towns bordering the lake.  

We are incredibly grateful to all who support our efforts to protect and preserve one of Maine's most beautiful natural resources.  



What We Do

Water Testing, Watershed Surveys, Erosion ControlYouth Conservation Corps, Courtesy Boat Inspections, Plant Patrol, and Milfoil Eradication ....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 success in taking on such a variety of assignments, TLEA soundly deserves the recognition it now enjoys as a leading lake and environmental association.  Many thanks to all of our supporters who provide the important resources that make our efforts possible! 

Observer cover pic Vol 191.jpg
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