Lake Auburn East Wetland is a combination of freshwater emergent and freshwater forested wetland. It is located on the east side of Lake Auburn, in Auburn, Maine on the outlet of the lake. The majority of this wetland is freshwater emergent wetland, which is adjacent to the lake, surrounded by the freshwater forested wetland farther from the lake.
This wetland is unique in its location, it is adjacent to the pumping station that supplies the drinking water for much of Auburn and Lewiston Maine. The Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission was formed by the Auburn Water District and City of Lewiston Water Division to ensure that Lake Auburn remains as the source of drinking water for the two cities. Special arrangements have to be made to visit this wetland as it is protected and human contact with the water is prohibited.
In the Lake Auburn East Wetland the soils that are located directly next to the lake are considered to be hydric. These soils are the result of soil saturated with water, allowing less oxygen to be available for respiration. In these soil conditions, bacteria often have to use elements other than oxygen to facilitate respiration.
In the Lake Auburn East Wetland there are two types of hydric soils which are surrounded by non-hydric soils farther from the lake. The majority of the wetland that I surveyed was classified as Peat and Muck, however most of the surveying was done on non-saturated soils that are classified as Buxton Silt loam.
HydrologyThe Lake Auburn East Wetland has two unique features in relation to Lake Auburn. It is near the outlet of the lake, with the water traveling from west to east across the lake, then exiting the lake under Route 4, it continues along as a stream that ultimately deposits into the Androscoggin River. The Peat and Muck soils measured 13.9 acres and the Buxton Silt loam portion was 7.3 acres. Peat and Muck soils are flat and generally between 0-25 centimeters from the water table. The Buxton Silt loam ranged between 50 and 100 centimeters from the water table. These physical attributes allow the Peat and Muck soils to be saturated by water, causing the hydric conditions.
VegetationThe section of wetland abutting the lake is the Freshwater Emergent Wetland, where herbaceous hydrophytes, with the exception of mosses and lichen species, along with other perennial plants are dominant. The forested section of wetland was dominated by old coniferous growth, including White Pine (Pinus strobus), and Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea). There was also some Bog Sedge (Carex magellancia), and Cattail (Typha angustifolia) dominated the emergent portion of the wetland.
Wetland information and photos by Riley Bergeron, Department of Environmental Science, Last updated on 05/9/2012 by CHVB.