On Friday, March 2nd two of our AmeriCorps members, Becca and Kyle, and our AmeriCorps Program Manager, Katri, headed to Lewiston, Maine for the 19th Annual Maine Milfoil Summit. The day was an opportunity for us to connect with other conservationists and learn about Maine’s progress with prevention, detection, and removal of aquatic invasive species.
Denise Blanchette and Becky Schaffner from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began the conference by showcasing their fascinating model that assesses the risk of aquatic invasive species entering a waterbody. The model includes a number of different variables, including lake access and size of lake. The Maine DEP hopes to work with New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services to acquire a larger sampling size of lakes in New England.
After a mid-morning break, the summit dove into a discussion of prevention, detection, and removal. Lake associations highlighted the success of Maine’s Courtesy Boater Inspection (CBI) program. The CBI program is similar to the New Hampshire Lakes Association’s Lake Hosting Program, a program we run on Squam. Both programs work to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species through boat inspections conducted at boat launches. From prevention the summit launched into testimonials about detection of these harmful plants. Maine encourages volunteers to conduct interactive plant paddles to scour the shallows of water bodies for invasive species, similar to New Hampshire’s Weed Watcher Program. These two programs are fun ways for volunteers to get out on the water while working for the benefit of the lake they love!
The final speaker discussed removal tactics used in many of Maine’s waterbodies, which provided our AmeriCorps members with new ideas for the SLA’s milfoil removal and tracking program. These talks all touched on topics relevant to the milfoil management work we do here at the SLA. We left the summit with optimism and excitement for the upcoming milfoil season. The Maine Milfoil Summit was a great opportunity to hear the different ways our neighbor fights off these nasty invasive species!
The Squam Lakes Association runs volunteer led Lake Hosting and Weed Watcher programs. Click here if you want to know more about SLA’s volunteer milfoil management opportunities.