MOUNT DESERT — An interim solution to severe erosion in Seal Harbor that has been uprooting trees and washing soil into Stanley Brook is being implemented by the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) and Acadia National Park.
An above-ground culvert has been built to carry stormwater more than 400 feet down a hill to the brook.
The erosion on the hill has been caused by water that flows out of a pipe underneath the town’s dirt parking lot that is across Jordan Pond Road from the fire station. The water comes from both the Route 3 and Jordan Pond Road drainage systems.
“The erosion has formed deep gullies, undermining the root system of many trees, causing them to fall over,” said Mount Desert Public Works Director Tony Smith in a December 2013 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt.
He said the eroded soil also was choking out vegetation on the forest floor and increasing sedimentation in the brook, which is within Acadia’s boundary.
In 2012, representatives of the town, the national park and the Maine departments of transportation, environmental protection and inland fisheries and wildlife formed a team to explore options for solving the erosion problem. The DOT hired an engineering firm to help the project team evaluate the problem and identify possible solutions. The preferred solution involved building a new drainage system to carry the stormwater to a pretreatment facility and then to Stanley Brook just north of Seal Harbor beach.
The cost of that solution was estimated at well over $1 million.
Because it seemed unlikely that such a major project could be designed, approved and funded within the next few years, the multi-agency team agreed on the interim solution of an above-ground culvert. Smith said it is expected to take care of the problem for five to 10 years.