Belgrade: DEP divers set to tackle milfoil

Posted Aug. 07, 2008, at 12 a.m.

Divers from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will be in the Belgrade-Oakland area later this week removing a particularly threatening type of milfoil, an invasive plant that can choke ponds and lakes.

On Aug. 1, an observer found Eurasian water milfoil in Salmon Lake, a 695-acre waterbody also known as Ellis Lake that is within the headwaters of the Belgrade Lakes region.

Eurasian water milfoil is considered even more aggressive than the variable water milfoil that has infested more than two dozen lakes and ponds in Maine. This is the second infestation of Eurasian water milfoil discovered in Maine.

The DEP plans to send a dive team to the shallow cove near a Route 8 boat ramp Friday to remove the milfoil by hand, according to a press release from the department.

Beginning Aug. 11, the department will also conduct detailed surveys of Salmon Lake, an outlet stream and the stream’ s inlet into Great Pond to determine if the milfoil has spread beyond the cove where it was discovered.

The department plans to increase milfoil educational campaigns and courtesy boat inspections at the ramp. Milfoil can be transported from infected lakes on the propellers and bottoms of boats.

DEP staff will also discuss the removal plan and future monitoring at 6:30 this evening at the annual meeting of the Salmon Lake-McGrath Pond Association to be held at the Belgrade Center for All Seasons in Belgrade.

“It is extraordinarily fortunate that we discovered this infestation of the highly invasive Eurasian water milfoil early on,” David Littell, commissioner of the DEP, said in a statement.

“We are aggressively addressing the containment and removal of these plants following the rapid response plan we developed in 2006. We are also working cooperatively with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to control surface water uses in the immediate area of the infestation in order to prevent the spread of this invasive plant.”

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