Press Release: Maine Milfoil Consortium to Work With Seven Test Lakes

The Maine Milfoil Consortium (MMI), which received $500,000 from Congress to mitigate, study, and hopefully eradicate the invasive plant variable leaf milfoil in Maine lakes,announced the seven test bed lakes chosen to be the focus of work this year.

The lakes include:Sebago Lake, Little Sebago Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Pleasant Pond in Richmond, Thomson Lake, Shagg Pond/Lake Christopher, and Messalonskee Lake.According to Jacolyn E. Bailey, coordinator of the project and lead scientist, all seven have variable leaf milfoil to varying extents.All have community backing and robust volunteer support for mitigation efforts in their respective lakes.The seven were chosen through a competitive application process.

The goal of the project is prevention, research, management, mitigation, and eradication by identifying, applying and sharing best practices.

MMI kicked off its work with infested lakes by hosting a day-long workshop held at Saint Joseph’s College on December 18th.The morning was dedicated to the sharing of information by lake groups, while the afternoon led participants through the steps of developing management plans.About 30 people from lake associations were in attendance.

Currently, 26 Maine lakes are infested with variable leaf milfoil, the invasive aquatic plant that was introduced to the state by visiting boaters.Milfoil can destabilize the fundamental ecology of lakes vital to recreational boaters, homeowners, businesses and visitors to Maine.Maine?s 6,000 lakes generate $3.5 billion in direct and indirect spending in Maine each year, according to the Maine Congress of Lake Associations.

The Maine Milfoil Consortium is comprised of five members, including Saint Joseph’s College, which is located on Sebago Lake, Little Sebago Lake Association, the Maine Congress of Lake Associations, the Lakes Environmental Association, and the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program.Their mission is to develop a proactive plan to contain the milfoil threat before it escalates to attack the thousands of other lakes in the state, as it has in neighboring New Hampshire and Vermont.

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