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The Life of the Land and Lakes is In Our Hands.
Invasive Aquatic Plant Program
Our watershed has an onset of invasive aquatic plants since 2001. A plan was created to keep the invasive plants from spreading to other parts of the watershed, educate the public on the issue, and enlist volunteers to help manage the infestation. 7 Lakes Alliance currently leads a watershed-wide Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program, as well as an annual Invasive Plant Patrol effort (often referred to as Invasive Plant Paddles).
Prevention and Education
Invasive variable milfoil was identified in Great Pond in 2009. A plan 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, supported by Belgrade Lakes Association and others, is a key part of the Milfoil Program.
Remediation & Removal
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. The Milfoil removal crew works throughout the summer in Great Pond, Great Meadow Stream, Robbins Mill Stream, Rome Trout Book, and Belgrade Stream to locate and remove variable milfoil. They employ multiple methods including Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH), hand pulling, and benthic barriers.
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 of Maine’s most unwanted invaders using live plant samples. Volunteers also receive resources including waterproof identification cards to help them identify plants during their survey.
Adopt-A-Shoreline is designed for everyone who lives on Great Pond or Long Pond, but anyone is encouraged to come to the session and learn about invasive aquatic plants to protect their own waterbodies.
Every year, 7 Lakes Alliance leads plant paddles on East Pond, North Pond, Salmon Lake, and McGrath Pond. Using Aquascopes and snorkels, a team 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!
Courtesy Boat Inspections
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 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 in Maine waters. CBIs offer boaters assistance in inspecting both motorized, non-motorized, trailer, and other equipment when entering and exiting the water. The program provides an opportunity to connect and educate the community on the impact of invasive species as well as ensuring that boats do not become vessels for transport.
A team of paid and volunteer CBIs cover Long Pond, Great Pond, North Pond, East Pond, and Salmon Lake. In 2021, over 10,000 boats were inspected between the five boat launches. Countless plant fragments were recovered, two of which were invasive.
What Can You Do?
Prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants:
Check for and remove all plants from boats, motors, trailers, and fishing equipment before and after launch.
Know your lakes, and avoid areas that have known infestations.
Clean plant debris, mud, and algae from all boating and fishing gear and dispose in the trash.
Drain live well, bilge water, and engine water away from the body of water.
Dry any gear that comes into contact with the water.
Join the prevention efforts:
Adopt your Shoreline.
Volunteer as a CBI.
Become trained to recognize invasive plants through the Lakes Stewards of Maine.
Join a Plant Paddle.
Keep your eyes out for invasive plants!
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