Environmental Program

There have been outbreaks of invasive water plants in many areas of Maine, and the Community Lakes Association area is not immune to this problem. Our efforts to control the outbreak of variable water milfoil have been productive, yet the battle continues. Thanks to the countless hours turned in by our volunteers, we have made progress on the two ponds with problems. The following sections summarize our 2015 efforts.

Program updates and additional articles can be found in file attachments on the Resources page.

Invasive Milfoil Control Project Showing Results

In the Spring, Jim Chandler, Manager of the Community Lakes Association’s Invasive Milfoil project, announced that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection had awarded the Association a grant of over $12,000. The funding helps support the ongoing fight against variable milfoil, an innocent looking plant that threatens to choke out areas of Lake Christopher and Shagg Pond.  Recently, Chandler prepared a report to the 
DEP documenting the activities and progress of the work carried out this summer. He stated, “The CLA Milfoil Control program has made significant progress in all areas of Lake Christopher and in two of five infested areas in Shagg Pond.”

The control effort is important because, left unchecked, milfoil and other invasive species can multiply rapidly, covering lakes and ponds with vast areas of unwanted weeds, affecting not only other wildlife and recreational activities, but also significantly lowering property values. Invasive milfoil has been identified in two areas of Lake Christopher, the Cove and the Outlet across the road from the main body of water. The Community Lakes Association has been struggling to fight this menace for years. The state funding, along with lesser, but important funds from the town of Woodstock, Spruce Mountain Wind, and donations from CLA members has enabled a more intensive and focused effort. Chandler reports that effort has been rewarded.
 Chandler commented, “Our divers and support staff worked very hard this summer and we are honing our techniques more effectively each year. Further and more importantly, we worked on getting good pre- and post- season surveys to gauge how we are doing overall towards the goal of eliminating the milfoil.  Surveys for Christopher were very complete and showed that we are getting close to completion in the Christopher Cove and have effectively limited the infestation to a small area in the middle of the Christopher Outlet Pond.  On Shagg Pond the main area of focus was in the north end of the pond and the project made significant progress here. “ Although Chandler reported progress in the south end of the pond, still more effort is needed in this area.

Chandler’s report documents impressive effort and progress. For example, Lake Christopher Cove started the season with 1900 square feet of patches, 7253 square feet of sparse infestation, 9624 square feet of moderate infestation and 2063 square feet of heavily infested areas. The season ended with only 100 square feet of patches and 3763 square feet of sparse infestation.   In this area divers and volunteers are literally getting down to mopping up the remaining milfoil plants in the next year and fighting any places it pops up. 
For Lake Christopher Outlet , the season started with 900 square feet of patches, 2465 square feet of sparse infestation, and 20,052 square feet of heavily infested areas. The season ended with only 200 square feet of patches, 200 square feet of sparse infestation and 3556 square feet of heavily infested areas. Details for both Lake Christopher and Shagg Pond will soon be posted on the CLA web site, www.communitylakesassociation.org.

Chandler summarized, “Because we have learned how to be systematic, we are making much quicker progress in this area than expected.  The remaining infestations are limited to an area in the middle of the Outlet Pond of Lake Christopher that is surrounded by mats.  There is virtually no significant milfoil growth area.  Therefore, in the last 3 years we have gone from about 1.5 acres of infestation down to less than a tenth of an acre.  We are progressing very well in this area. “

Chandler’s team of professional divers and volunteers use a two pronged attack. First they lay down heavy mats called bethnic barriers that stifle the plants’ ability to grow and propagate. The CLA team has devised a unique system using a specially adapted boat assisted by divers to roll out the mats which have been built by the team. They also pull plants by hand, but that requires great expertise and care, as tiny broken off pieces soon root and develop into full size plants. For example, a small fragment of milfoil caught on the motor or rudder of a boat from one pond can totally infest another pond in a few years. This year, the CLA team covered 17,075 square feet with mats in Lake Christopher and hand pulled 1834 gallons of plants. In Shagg Pond they matted 2700 square feet and pulled 2175 gallons of weeds, an amazing accomplishment.

Although the Milfoil control project team is winning battles, they have not yet won the war. The Community Lakes Association is committed to continuing the effort and is confident that Chandler and his divers and volunteers will prevail in the end, assuming the community continues to value and support the work.

If you would like to contribute to the cost of this effort, please send your donation to:
Community Lakes Association, PO Box 91, Greenwood, ME 04255.
Subpages (1): LakeSmart Program