RLHT’s Plant Patrol Finds No Invasive Species

RANGELEY - Since its conception in 2011 the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust’s Invasive Plant Patrol has been the standard for volunteer plant patrol projects around the state of Maine. Since then the number of waterbodies surveyed for invasive aquatic species, like Eurasian Water Milfoil and Hydrilla has increased from seven to 12.

The goal of the plant patrol is to detect invasive aquatic species before the infestation becomes greater than an acre. By actively patrolling each season, patrollers become familiar with the flora and are more likely to recognize an infestation before it grows out of control. Early detection is the key to cost-effectively managing an infestation because once an invasive species takes over an acre it becomes dramatically more expensive, monetarily and ecologically, to battle. Thankfully, to date no invasive species have been documented in the waterbodies in our region.

Shoreline Patrol teams currently survey Beaver Mountain Pond, Cupsuptic River, Dodge Pond, Gull Pond, Haley Pond, Kennebago Lake, Little Kennebago Lake, Loon Lake, Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Quimby Pond, Saddleback Lake and Rangeley Lake. There are twelve lake leaders and 69 patroller volunteers. Together they surveyed over 90 miles of shoreline.

On smaller bodies of water, like Quimby Pond and Little Kennebago Lake, the entire shoreline was patrolled, while patrollers on our larger lakes, Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes patrolled higher risk areas where invasive plants are most likely to be found. A section of shoreline is considered high risk if there was a recent disturbance, a boat launch, a shallow cove or a nearby stream that entered or exited the lake.

Our Team Leaders and Patrollers did an excellent job mapping shorelines and identifying potential invasive species. Their dedication and enthusiasm is documented in the 440 hours they gave, the quality of their work and their support and attendance to the plant paddle and plant identification workshops that RLHT sponsored this summer.

If you are interested in volunteering as a Plant Patroller on your lake or learning more about invasive aquatic plants, please call Amanda Davis at 864-7311 ext 5.