July 23, 2010Vol. 12, No. 7

New Milfoil Infestation in Belgrades Spurs Rapid Response

The discovery was confirmed July 9. Variable leaf milfoil, an invasive plant species, has been identified in the Great Meadow Stream, which flows from North Pond into the northern end of Great Pond. The source of the milfoil has not been identified; the quantity is 12-14 clumps; the location is near the Route 225 bridge on the Great Pond side in a couple of backwater recesses. No milfoil has been identified to date in either North Pond or Great Pond.

Although the entry point at the Route 225 bridge is unofficial, it may eventually be subjected to an official surface use restriction. In the meantime, a sign has been posted at the bridge identifying the stream as milfoil infested and requesting "Please Do Not Boat or Fish in this Stream Through September, 2010." A buoy with the same signage has been placed at the inlet of the stream into Great Pond. The posting is intended to discourage boat traffic and fishing, which could cause the milfoil to spread.

Immediately upon the identification, the Belgrade Lakes Association (BLA), the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA), and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)started working together to implement a plan of action to remove the milfoil and control its spread. The removal will be done by hand pulling by trained volunteers under a permit issued by the DEP. Volunteers are needed to make this effort successful and to survey the area of Great Pond near the stream. Both the surveying and the removal will continue through September, 2010. Please contact Corinne Dawson, Milfoil Coordinator for BRCA at 495- 6039 or brcamf@gwi.net.

In other milfoil news, the Salmon Lake situation looks very positive. The Eurasian water milfoil discovered in Kozy Cove in 2008 and treated with an herbicide appears to have been eradicated. The DEP has conducted three dive surveys of Kozy Cove in 2010 and to date has found no Milfoil. They will schedule one or two more dives.

Additionally the BRCA has recently surveyed the remaining Salmon Lake shoreline and coves with no invasive plants noted. The volunteers conducting this survey are greatly appreciated. According to Pete Kallin, Executive Director of the BRCA, there have been some very impressive invasive plant "saves" in 2009 and 2010. Doug McCafferty of Whisperwood Camps on Salmon Lake had two confirmed saves last year and one this year. Doug has been acting as an official Courtesy Boat Inspector, i.e. submitting formal reports that go into the Belgrades watershed totals.

Another private camp save was at Alden Camps on East Pond last summer when both Fernwart and Eurasian Milfoil were intercepted from an arriving boat. This summer so far there has been one interception of an invasive plant, Eurasian Milfoil, at the public boat landing on Great Pond. All of the boats in the above saves came from infested waterways in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

On Messalonskee Lake, which has officially struggled with the milfoil dilemma for a decade, invasives were intercepted going into the lake four times last year and ten times coming out. Although the situation is far past the eradication stage, according to Mike Wiley, President of the Snow Pond/Messalonskee Lake Association, the lake association is "up to speed on managing it." In conjunction with the University of Maine at Farmington they will start laying benthic barriers this August and diver-assisted suction boats will be on the lake right after Labor Day.

"You've got to get your expectations right or it can overwhelm you," says Wiley.

Although he has been on Lake Messalonskee since 1958 Wiley, who is originally from Minnesota, says that every lake in southern Minnesota is like a garden.

Such comparisons provide a positive perspective on Maine's Milfoil initiative, on the preparedness in individual watersheds like the Belgrades where a rapid response for eradication is in place and where management practices are being implemented as a secondary plan of action.