May 21, 2011

DEP to check milfoil level in Belgrade stream

Invasive weed was discovered in Great Meadow Stream last summer

BY BETH STAPLES, Staff Writer

BELGRADE -- Personnel with the Department of Environmental Protection and lake conservation groups will soon check the status of variable watermilfoil discovered last summer in Great Meadow Stream, which flows from North Pond to Great Pond.

Maggie Shannon of the Maine Congress of Lake Associations said poor weather has delayed the search.

Variable watermilfoil grows quickly and when it is broken apart by waves, it can infest an entire lake, according to the state's Bureau of Land and Water Quality. It is virtually impossible to eradicate and is devastating to water quality and property values, according to the bureau.

Shannon said milfoil was confirmed in July 2010, in the stream along Route 225 near an informal boat launch used primarily by anglers and duck hunters.

"It was likely growing for awhile before it was found," she said.

Shannon said personnel with DEP, the Belgrade Lakes Association, the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, and members of other lake associations did extensive work last summer and fall to fight the infestation.

They placed benthic barriers on top of the dense milfoil to prevent sunlight from reaching it and pulled the invasive plants by hand.

According to the Belgrade Lakes Association website, from last July through October, efforts to combat the milfoil also included limiting access to the stream and surveying the stream and its mouth in North Bay.

Corrinne Dawson, milfoil program coordinator with the association, said within the next couple of weeks groups will look for milfoil where it took hold last year in Great Meadow Stream, then expand the search into the bay.

Beth Staples -- 861-9252

bstaples@centralmaine.com

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