RANGELEY — Volunteers for Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust patrolled more than 90 miles of shoreline in the Rangeley Lakes region last summer looking for invasive plants. Not one was been found.

Taking to kayaks or canoes, teams of patrollers paddled along the shoreline mapping plants throughout August and September, when the plants are at peak. The shorelines of Cupsuptic, Mooselookmeguntic, Rangeley, Kennebago and Little Kennebago lakes, along with Beaver Mountain, Saddleback, Loon, Gull, Haley, Dodge and Quimby ponds were surveyed.

“Our volunteers on Dodge Pond moved away, so this year, patrollers from the other water bodies joined RLHT staff on the water to ensure that Dodge Pond wasn’t overlooked,” program manager Amanda Laliberte said.

Aquatic plants can survive as long as sunlight can reach their depths. Patrollers zigzag the shoreline trying to cover any areas of the water body that could host plants. It only takes one plant fragment on one boat for an infestation to take hold on a lake. Once established, there is no native predator to slow its progress, and it grows at an exponential rate, rapidly taking over shorelines and making the area unsuitable for swimming or fishing.

To learn more or to report any unusual plants growing in local water bodies contact RLHT at 207-864-7311 or the Lake Stewards of Maine at LakeStewardsOfMaine.org.

To learn more about RLHT or how to get involved, visit rlht.org.

Patroller Barb Zamierowski identifies freshwater sponge on Dodge Pond.

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