BRIDGTON – On Thursday, Aug. 10, the Lakes Environmental Association is sponsoring its second annual milfoil day in an effort to keep Maine lakes and ponds free of the ruinous weed.

The association will hold an information and training session at 9 a.m. at LEA headquarters at 230 Main St. followed by teams of volunteers going to local boat launches to check for infestation of the plant.

Often, exotic milfoil is brought to state on the bottoms of boats and trailers.

Volunteers are asked to call lakefront homeowners and ask them to put out a flag at their boat launch if there is an invasive plant.

Peter Lowell, executive director of the LEA, is overseeing the project.

“Our staff is going to assess local marinas and man the phones. Usually, when a sighting has been reported, it isn’t milfoil. But if it is a small infestation we have to pull it. Ten to 15 plants are workable,” Lowell said.

Once a lake has been infested beyond 10-15 plants it becomes impossible to clear the lake by hand and very expensive to employ other methods such as aquatic weed harvesters

Seven varieties of milfoil are indigenous to Maine lakes. Two types, variable and Eurasian milfoil, are not native to the state and have the potential to consume entire water bodies with their rapid growth. Such growth and infestation hamper fishing, boating and swimming and drives down property values.

Lowell said he hopes that volunteering will increase in years to come and eventually develop into a “neighborhood watch.”

Harold Arthur, a retiree who is a summer resident and owns lakefront property on Moose Pond in Denmark, is volunteering for the second straight year.

“I have been involved in the project since Day One. My goal is to try to help make Moose Pond more pristine,” Arthur said.

Dianna Miller, also a lakefront homeowner, has been to a couple of information sessions to learn more about how to identify milfoil.

“It’s not just a plant. It has tremendous ramifications for taxpayers and the future of Maine,” Miller said.

Having a sense of pride stemming from community and environmental responsibility from volunteering also has its virtues.

Miller added, “It is a nice day and you get a good feeling from doing it.”

Anyone interested in volunteering may call the association at (207) 647-8580.

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