7/3/2014 9:32:00 AM State Reminds Boaters to Check for Invasive Plants
With increased boater traffic during the summer season, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection reminds boaters to remove invasive plants and animals from their boats before and after they float.
"We all have a role to play in protecting Maine's lakes," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "We have been spared the introduction of the worst invasive species, but boaters should not let down their guard.
"I encourage boaters to be good stewards of our beautiful natural resources and take the time to check their boat before and after they enjoy our ponds, lakes, and streams."
2013 produced some positive news regarding invasive species. No new Maine water bodies were found to be infested with invasive aquatic plants during 2013 or early in the 2014 season.
One lake - Salmon Lake in Belgrade and Oakland - was removed from Maine's list of infested waterbodies. Following an integrated management program, no Eurasian water milfoil was found in the lake during the summers of 2010 through 2013, prompting DEP biologists to remove the lake from the state's infested list.
The infestation of hydrilla in Damariscotta Lake in Jefferson appears to be contained in two locations thanks to a collaborative monitoring and plant removal effort between the DEP and the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association.
The DLWA in 2014 has leveraged significant volunteer time for plant hydrilla suppression. The surface use restriction in Jefferson on Davis Stream in Damariscotta Lake was not recommended to continue because so few plants were found in 2013.
Maine courtesy boat inspections in 2013 topped the 80,000 mark for the second consecutive year, including a number of "saves" where invasive plants were removed from boats before launching in noninfested water bodies. Financial support from the department continues in 2014 with $179,500 issued to organizations to conduct inspections.
While there was some good news in 2013, there are still 24 known invasive species infestations in Maine, mostly in the southern and western regions of the state.
Lake associations and municipalities are committing significant volunteer time and financial resources to bring infestations under control. DEP has issued $167,928 to organizations for such activities in 2014.
"The best way to combat invasive species from spreading in Maine, is to prevent their introduction," said DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. "Infested lakes are costly; not only do invasives reduce property values, but control and eradication measures take a significant amount of money to implement."
Revenue for DEP's invasive aquatic species program is generated by way of an annual fee on motorized watercraft and seaplanes using inland waters: boaters with Maine watercraft registrations pay $10 while boaters with out-of-state registrations and seaplane operators pay $20.
For more information about invasive species in Maine, contact John McPhedran at email@example.com or visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives.