Congratulations to the Thompson Lake residents in Oxford for their impressive and continuing work to eliminate variable milfoil from the lake, as featured Feb. 14 (“Paul Cain: Milfoil removal at Thompson Lake has been a great success“).

One small plant may appear harmless, but some of us have seen first-hand the consequences of billions of out-of-control small invasive plants. In Florida the battle to keep ponds and rivers free of water hyacinth is ongoing.  On Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world, an enormous mat of water hyacinth blocks international boat traffic. Once invasive plants arrive, the cost to control them can be overwhelming.

My wife and I are now battling coltsfoot, a highly invasive plant that is entering our trout stream. If we can’t stop the coltsfoot, it will clog up the stream and all of us will have lost an important brook trout nursery for the Little Androscoggin River.

Ignore one or two plants, and in a few years invasive plants crowd out everything else. In Lewiston and Auburn large stands of Japanese knotweed, Oriental bittersweet, and autumn olive are taking over what would otherwise be beautiful or productive land. There are government programs to help control them, but we also need more public awareness of the danger.

We all should praise the Thompson Lake Association’s efforts to save the lake before it is lost.

David Haines, Auburn

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