Community Conservation Corps Volunteer Carol Guiel is on the water as an invasive plant patroller.

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust’s volunteer invasive plant patrollers have again found no aquatic invaders during their annual surveys, according to a news release from the trust.

Volunteers patrol in July, August and September during peak growth to survey shorelines and document native plants. The 14 lakes and ponds surveyed included Beaver Mountain, Cupsuptic (including the Cupsuptic River), Kennebago, Little Kennebago, Loon, Mooselookmeguntic, Rangeley and Saddleback lakes, and Gull, Haley, Dodge and Quimby ponds.

New survey areas added this year were Round and Middle Sandy River ponds.

Early detection is key to successfully eradicating any new infestations that may occur. In performing these surveys annually, volunteers can recognize what usually grows in their lake and make it easier to observe trends and spot potential invasive plants, which provides a crucial first line of defense.

Community Conservation Corps Volunteer Em Hancheck documents bladderwort in South Bog. Contributed photo

The Rangeley Lakes region, and most of Maine, has an overwhelming need for volunteers to help protect its unique natural areas. Outdoor recreation is more popular than ever, and people travel more quickly than in the past. Aquatic plants and animals travel on shoes, fishing poles, boats, and other gear.

“Community involvement is crucial to protecting our lakes and ponds. Volunteers can paddle their local waterbody with friends and family, making it an annual tradition. Passing on the torch of lake stewardship to the next generation is essential in preserving the beauty and ecological health of our watersheds for years to come,” said Hanz Berger, Americorps Environmental Steward and RLHT’s current Headwaters program coordinator, according to the news release.

Those interested in becoming an invasive plant patroller can go through the Lake Stewards of Maine. Participants watch a three-part video series, pass the corresponding quizzes, and return a certification form. During the patrolling season, surveys are sent in via an app, making the process remote and safe from start to finish.

To learn more, email Berger at [email protected] or visit rlht.org. For more information on a specific region, go to lakestewardsofmaine.org.

 

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