August 10 – 16, 2012 Vol. 14, No. 10


Summertime in the Belgrades

August 10 – 16

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Prevention is Still the Key to Success

by Lynn Matson

Maine officials and state conservation leaders have know about milfoil for years and clearly understood the risks and problems associated with this invasive plant. Their mission has always been to keep it out of our lakes.

Prevention is at the heart of the state milfoil boat sticker program and is the objective our Courtesy Boat Inspection initiative, which has now been in operation for nearly 20 years. In 2011, the BRCA Courtesy Boat Inspectors checked 5,285 boats at the public ramps on Great and Long Pond. Over the last five years inspectors have found invasive plants on five boats at these ramps . . . before those boats were launched into our lakes. In addition, milfoil was detected on five other boats entering Salmon and East Pond.

The Courtesy Boat Inspection program works. Remember, variable milfoil got into Great Pond at the Route 225 bridge, which is not an authorized ramp and where there are no inspectors. A chain link gate has now been installed at the bridge to prevent further boat launches.

Prevention Is Critical To Stopping The Further Spread Of Milfoil

Now that milfoil is in Great Pond, it may seem like this prevention strategy is no longer appropriate. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, prevention is now more important than ever.

Yes, variable milfoil is in Great Meadow Stream and North Bay of Great Pond, but it is presently confined to this relatively small area. It hasn't been found growing anywhere else in the lake. Our job now is to keep it contained and prevent it from spreading.

It's also true that as more lakes become infested with milfoil, the more likely it will spread to other nearby lakes and water bodies. This is especially true for Great Pond, given its size and volume of boat traffic. If Great Pond becomes overrun with variable milfoil there's a very high probability it will also infest Long Pond and the other lakes in the Belgrade watershed.

The key to stopping this kind of catastrophe is prevention. We've got to prevent this invasive plant from spreading further out into Great Pond and into its neighboring lakes.

The work underway right now in Great Meadow Stream and North Bay is focused on prevention. The milfoil plants are being removed so they can't spread. The goal is get 95+% of them pulled out before the work ends in late September. Great and Long Pond are also being continuously surveyed to find and remove any new plant growth before it can become established. To date, none has been found.

How You can Help

Our best long-term defense against the spread of milfoil is a well-informed and vigilant lake community. Here's how you can help:

  1. Learn how to identify variable milfoil and always be on the look out for it when you're on the lake.
  2. If you're a member of a road association or lakeshore neighborhood group, adopt your shoreline and take the responsibility for checking it regularly for invasive milfoil. Call 512-5554 for more information.
  3. Inspect your boat and trailer for plants before putting them in and after taking them out of any freshwater body of water.
  4. Support our Courtesy Boat Inspectors.
  5. Volunteer to net milfoil fragments at the work site in North Bay.

Great Pond Action Plan Update

Working in Great Meadow Stream, New England Milfoil removed 4,000 gallons of milfoil last week, and the BRCA team pulled out an additional 1,330 gallons. To date, 33,264 gallons have taken out this season. It's now estimated that 85% of the milfoil growing in Great Meadow Stream and North Bay has been removed.

The Stop Milfoil Capital Campaign has received $156,070 from 207 individual donors. More is needed to complete this work. Please contribute. For more information, call 512-5554 or visit www.belgradelakesassociation.org.