The photo above is not from our lakes. However, it could be if we are not vigilant.
Eurasian Milfoil mitigation strategic plan
The Lake Rescue Association has been systematically battling milfoil since 2014. The history of those milfoil eradication efforts can be found HERE. In 2020 the LRA updated a multi-year, multi-pronged program to mitigate and hopefully eliminate the infestation of Eurasian Milfoil on Lake Rescue and Lake Pauline. Beginning in 2021, LRA will simultaneously employ the following five mitigation tools.
1. Bottom Barriers: LRA increased its purchase and deployment of benthic bottom barrier mats from 12 to 48 between 2019 and 2020. These 10’ x 50’ mats can be used for multiple years as an important component of the remediation plan moving forward. They will be strategically placed in shallower, high traffic areas and sections of the lake where other plant removal techniques are difficult or less effective. They can also be moved to amplify their effect mid-season. Placement will be determined with consultation of our contracted milfoil divers.
2. Suction Harvester: LRA has authorized the purchase and construction of a suction harvesting work boat for deployment in the 2021 summer season. Diver-assisted suction harvesting (DASH) removes densely populated milfoil fields that are not suitable for hand harvesting. It will supplement the bottom barriers, which alone are insufficient to address the total areas of infestation we are now experiencing. Harvesters reduce the likelihood that recreational boating will chop and create floating plant fragments as dense fields are addressed more quickly. It also provides flexibility as new infestations can be dealt with immediately while bottom barriers cannot be moved for up to 8 weeks. The amount of plant material removed is significantly higher than hand harvesting.
3. Hand Harvesting: When appropriate the divers will continue to hand harvest areas with limited or new plant growth, focusing on Lake Pauline and difficult-to-access areas where suction harvester access may not be feasible.
4. Lake Resident Volunteering: LRA changed its policy regarding residents removing milfoil plants in 2020. This will continue in 2021 as the “Protect Your Waterfront” effort. Instructional videos and additional resources will be provided to encourage residents on Lakes Rescue and Pauline to safely remove plants from shallow water in and around their waterfront. This not only preserves the homeowner’s lakefront but also frees up the divers to work on more problematic areas. Lake residents can also play a big role by using nets to skim milfoil fragments around their dock and while pleasure boating as part of the "Fragment Patrol." Every fragment removed is one or more plants that will not root. Click HERE to see how you can help.
5. Public Access Greeter Program: It was estimated that In 2014, 55% of Vermont lakes had some type of aquatic invasive species and the state feels that educating boaters about the transporting of these ‘invaders’ is the best method of prevention. LRA has participated in this Vermont Public Access Greeter Program and will continue to do so. Trained volunteers greet boaters at the Fishing Access boat launch and check boats for foreign plant material, educate boaters about inspecting and cleaning their boats, and provide information about milfoil-infested areas to avoid.