Would you like to be able to identify an aquatic invasive plant in our lakes?

Local Course: Invasive Aquatic Plant Identification on August 14 at the Rangeley Guides Clubhouse

Hydrilla close up L Raynor, Cornell, Hydrilla Hazard: Biology, Impacts and Management of an Invasive Aquatic Plant

Maine waters are being invaded!  As with a serious illness, early detection is key.  The earlier the introduced invader–such as Eurasian water-milfoil is detected, the greater the chances of successful management and reduction of the risk of spread.  With over 6,000 lakes and ponds, and thousands of miles of suitable stream habitat to be monitored for the presence of aquatic invaders on an ongoing basis, the challenge in Maine is enormous.  Free training, coming soon to Rangeley, will provide you with everything you need to get started.

No, you don’t need to be a botanist, or a scientist to take this course and it’s presented in a friendly and fun way. Because the course is geared towards participants without a botany background, there are NO prerequisites.  Ellie White, our regional aquatic plant coordinator, will be at the course to help.  If you choose, she may even go out on the water with you to help with your first survey.

Hydrilla in a Maine lake Lake Stewards of Maine

When people think of an invasive aquatic plant, they oftentimes think of milfoil. But there are native milfoils, which don’t threaten our waters and there are several problematic milfoils, which are dangerous.   Eurasian Water-Milfoil is the plant commonly known to be invasive.  There are ten other lesser known plants such as: Curly Leaf Pondweed, European Frogbit, and Hydrilla which could be just as (or perhaps more) dangerous to our waters.

Our crystal, clear lakes are an invaluable resource for Rangeley.  Without these wonderful lakes, our town would be less attractive to those of us, who call it home and our visitors.  If an invasive plant becomes established, it multiples rapidly choking the surface of the lake, which at first glance may appear to be an agricultural field instead of a lake.  The plants will entangle swimmers as well as boat propellers.  While invasive plants have infested lakes in the southern and central Maine regions, no established plants have been found in the Rangeley area.

Lake Stewards of Maine, formerly known as the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, is the oldest, and one of the largest citizen-based lake monitoring programs in the nation.   Through its internationally recognized Invasive Plant Patrol program, LSM has now trained over 4,500 Plant Patrollers across the state of Maine.  Lake Stewards of Maine has a network of “jump start teams” which respond to a newly identified invasive plants.  This team’s goal is control and eradication of these plants before these plants become established.  Roberta Hill, the Invasive Species Program Director of LSM, will be teaching this course.  She has taught hundreds of courses to thousands of plant patrollers for LSM for over a decade.

The Rangeley workshop on August 14th is presented in four parts:

•        Overview of invasive species issues in Maine and beyond

•        Plant identification fundamentals

•        Plant identification hands-on exercise with live plants

•        Conducting an invasive aquatic plant screening survey, tools and techniques

This course is sponsored locally by the Friends of Quimby Pond and the Kennebago Lake Association.  The Rangeley Region Guides and Sports have donated the use of their clubhouse.

This course is free to all participants and lunch will be provided by the Friends of Quimby Pond.  All workshop participants receive an Invasive Plant Patroller’s Handbook.  Attendees who sign up to become certified also receive a copy of the Maine Field Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants.  To register for the course, please contact Sue Motley at [email protected] or call 207-670-8124. Another option is to sign up on-line at:  https://www.lakestewardsofmaine.org/invasive-plant-patrol-workshops/intro-registration/.  Plant patrollers, who have already taken this course are welcome as well.  The start time is 10 AM at the Rangeley Guides and Sports clubhouse on the Old Skiway Road in Oquossoc.  We hope that participants would join one of the local “plant patrol” teams, which are organized by the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust but, participation in the plant patrol team is optional.  If you would like to take the course, please remember to sign up.

Help contribute to the preservation of Rangeley as we know it today, by learning about aquatic invasive plants and keep our lakes free from these aquatic invaders.

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