AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine's Drought Task Force convened virtually yesterday, September 23rd for the fourth time this season to discuss drought conditions across the state. Data from the U.S.">https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?ME">U.S.
Drought Monitor show 54% of the state is abnormally dry, about 32% is experiencing moderate drought, and less than 5% is in severe drought while 45% of the state is experiencing no drought. September has brought above normal rainfall, however year to date deficits continue for most of the state. Sarah Jamison of the National Weather Service Office in Gray said, "widespread soaking rain moves in Friday into Sunday, followed by scattered shower activity into next week. If that forecast plays out, expect to see continued reduction in drought footprint next week."
"The lowest groundwater levels in the state remain along the New Hampshire border up to the border with Canada in western/northwestern Maine," said Nick Stasulis, Data Section Chief of the U.S. Geological Survey and Co-chair of the Drought Task Force. "With cooling temperatures, an ending growing season and potential for typical fall rains, it's a promising time to further improve drought conditions."
The USDA Farm Service Agency has received a Secretarial Disaster Designation dated 8/13/2021 due to the drought situation, which opens a">https://www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/drought">a
number of farm assistance and loan programs for agricultural producers in Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, and Piscataquis counties, which have met the 8-week severe drought threshold on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Public Service Coordinator Tom Gordon said, "agricultural conditions are reasonably good as we approach the end of the growing season. Potato harvest looks good for quality and quantity, with no major water use conflicts noted. Other crops are looking good, with the diminishing drought reducing the irrigation workload on producers."
DACF Maine Forest Service has responded to 25 fires in the last 30 days, with 5 fires in the last week. Regional Forest Ranger Matt Gomes said, as we move into fall, it is important to understand that fires, and sometimes large damaging fires, are still a threat. Fall brings leaf litter, reopened canopies for solar heating, drier fuels through lower relative humidity, as well as higher winds.
A total of 19 dry private wells have been reported this season with 90% of those being residential. Maine homeowners with dry wells are encouraged to report this information on the Dry">https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com">Dry
Well Survey. Mainers can either dial 211 or 1-877-463-6207, or they can text a Maine zip code to 898-211 for assistance with filling out the survey.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Preventions Drinking Water Program (DWP) has not received any new reports of water quantity issues from public water systems (PWS) since mid-August. The South Berwick Water District and the Stonington Water Company have issued emergency mandatory water use restrictions that are in effect into the fall.
The Drought Task Force is made up of state, federal and private scientific, agricultural, regulatory, water use and natural resources organizations and assists in monitoring, coordinating, and managing responses to droughts and recommends actions to minimize impacts to public health, safety, the environment and agriculture. This meeting concluded the Drought Task Forces virtual meetings for 2021. However, the Task Force remains in communication and provides biweekly reports online.
For more information please visit:
- Maine Drought Task Force: https://www.maine.gov/mema/hazards/drought-task-force
- Drought Monitor: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
- USGS Water Watch: https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/
- USGS Groundwater Watch: https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/
- Northeast Drought Early Warning System (NE DEWS): https://nedews.nrcc.cornell.edu/
- Dry Well Survey: https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com/
- Wildfire Danger Report: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/wildfire_danger_report/index.html