Franklin Countys First News

RLHT’s boat inspectors thwart milfoil at town park

CBI Dalton Thurlow holds milfoil specimen that was taken from a boat at the Rangeley Town Park and will be sent in for expert identification.

RANGELEY - Since ice-out courtesy boat inspectors have been educating boaters on invasive aquatic plants and animals at seven public boat launches in the region.

The Rangeley Town Park had nearly 800 boaters in June and July while staffed with inspectors. Eight of those boats were carrying aquatic plants from other bodies of water. The plants were sent to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for further identification. Two of those plants were confirmed as Eurasian milfoil; one of the 11 plants on the MDEP’s Aquatic Plant Invaders list.

“We staff public boat launches at the highest volume times and thankfully this approach has been beneficial this year with two confirmed saves from invasive aquatic milfoil,” said the program coordinator Amanda Laliberte. “We each need to be diligent in cleaning, draining, and drying our gear since our community’s economy is intermingled with the health of our lakes. Prevention is key with aquatic invasive plants; eradication is costly, nearly impossible and will take years to recover from.”

The purpose of RLHT’s CBI program is threefold; to educate the public of threat aquatic invaders, to teach boaters to inspect their equipment and lastly, to change the behavior of boaters so they instinctively inspect their boats when entering and exiting a water body.

It only takes one plant fragment for an infestation to take hold on a lake. Once established, there is no native predator in to slow its progress and it grows at an exponential rate, rapidly taking over shorelines making the area unsuitable for swimming or fishing. Eradication is nearly impossible and costly.

One person can make a difference; please report any unusual plants growing in your water body to RLHT at (207) 864-7311 or the Lake Stewards of Maine at VLMP.org. Support for the RLHT’s Courtesy Boat Inspector program annually comes from the voters of local municipalities, private donations, and grants from ME DEP.

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