Invasive Aquatic Plants, including variable milfoil
Invasive variable milfoil was identified in Great Pond in 2009. The STOP Milfoil program was created to keep the invasive plants from spreading to other parts of Great Pond and other lakes, educate the public on the issue, and enlist volunteers to help manage the infestation. Adopt A Shoreline is a key part of the STOP Milfoil campaign. The program is supported by Belgrade Lakes Association and others.
7 Lakes Alliance also heads a watershed-wide Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program, as well as an Invasive Plant Patrol effort (often referred to as Plant Paddles).
PREVENTION AND EDUCATION
Adopt-A Shoreline is a program that enlists and trains volunteers from the community to survey their shorelines. The volunteers are educated on how to find and identify invasive aquatic plants, specifically variable milfoil. Adopt-A-Shoreline is working to adopt the entire 77 miles of shoreline at risk in Great Pond and Long Pond.
Volunteers come to 7 Lakes Alliance for a 45 minute training session to learn about 11 Maine’s most unwanted invaders using live plant samples. Volunteers also receive resources like waterproof identification cards to help them identify plants during their survey.
Adopt A Shoreline is open to anyone who lives on Great Pond or Long Pond, but everyone is encouraged to come to the session and learn about invasive aquatic plants to protect their own waterbodies.
Invasive plant surveying does end at Great Pond and Long Pond! 7 Lakes Alliance leads a plant paddle on East Pond, North Pond, Salmon Lake, and McGrath Pond annually. Using Aquascopes (seen above) and snorkels, a group of 7 Lakes Alliance staff, volunteers, and lake association members, search the lake for invasive plants. We are always in need of more volunteers to help on plant paddles, even if you do not live on the waterbody that is being surveyed. Plant paddles are a fun way to kayak with purpose!
To volunteer, email email@example.com
Courtesy Boat Inspections (CBI)
Maine, is in a critical time in terms of invasive plants. Fortunately, our lakes and ponds tend to be much colder slowing spread of these species but as global temperatures rise so do the opportunities for further infestations. Maine is in an auspicious position where invasive issues can be addressed before they become critical. Great efforts have been made to prevent the introduction of new invasive plants as well as limit the spread of existing ones to other Maine waters.
The first lines of defense in combating this issue are prevention and education. The Courtesy Boat Inspection program developed through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is the first defense against invaders. A cost-share grant funded by Preserve Maine Waters’ “milfoil sticker”, lake associations, local towns, BLA’s Stop Milfoil program and generous donors provide the financial support for the CBI program. The purpose of these voluntary inspections is to reduce the spread of invasive aquatic plants by boats, trailers, and associated equipment to Maine waters. CBIs offer boaters assistance in inspecting both motorized and non-motorized, trailer and other equipment entering as well as leaving the water. This program provides an opportunity to connect and educate the community on the impact of invasive species. As well urge boaters to inspect their boats ensuring that they would not be a vessel for transport.
7 Lakes Alliance has a mixture of paid and volunteer CBIs that cover the five ponds in the Belgrade Lakes region including Long Pond, Great Pond, North Pond, East Pond, and Salmon Lake. These CBIs cover the boat launches 7 days a week from Memorial Weekend unto Labor Day Weekend. In 2019, over 10,000 boats were inspected between the five boat launches. Countless plant fragments were recovered, one of which was invasive.
Maine is becoming more vulnerable to invaders and there are several things that can be done to ensure the future of Maine’s freshwater habitat:
Check for and remove all plants from boats, motors, trailers,
and fishing equipment before and after launch.
Know your lakes. Avoid areas that have known infestations.
Activities such as fishing can create fragments and spread the infestation to other areas.
Clean: plant debris, mud, and algae from all boating and fishing gear
and dispose of in the trash
Drain: live well, bilge water, and engine water away from the waterbody
Dry: any gear that comes into contact with the water.
Become a volunteer CBI
Become trained to recognize invasive plants through the Lakes Stewards of Maine.
Adopt your Shoreline
Keep your eyes on the water and join a plant paddle.
The Milfoil removal crew works throughout the summer in Great Pond, Great Meadow Stream, Robbins Mill Stream, Rome Trout Book, and Belgrade Stream looking for, and removing variable milfoil. They use multiple methods including Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH), hand pulling, and benthic barriers. Using many years of expertise, our team makes evidence based decisions on how to combat and control the invasive variable milfoil infestation in Great Pond.
2019 Milfoil Update
Coming soon! Look for it in our bi-annual newsletter. Don't receive the newsletter by mail? Check the home page for a digital version or sign up for our emails.