Volunteer Em Hancheck conducts an invasive plant survey.

Since 1998, the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust (RLHT) has coordinated the Headwaters Lake Protection Program, which oversees water quality within the region. Despite the weather, RLHT’s volunteers were able to survey ten waterbodies this August and September.

This season, 63 volunteer Invasive Plant Patrollers surveyed Dodge, Gull, Haley, Quimby, and Round Ponds, along with Cupsuptic, Kennebago, Loon, Rangeley, and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes.

In 2023, Invasive plant patrol volunteers donated 434 hours of their time, the equivalent of $13,801.20. According to the Independent Sector, volunteer time is worth $31.80 per hour in 2023. These hours include outreach, training, transportation, paperwork, and surveying on the water.

“If you live, work, or play on the waterbodies in our region, please stop by our office to learn about aquatic plants that occur naturally in our lakes and the specific invaders – both plants and animals- that we hope to prevent,” said Julia Morin, Headwaters Coordinator. “We need landowners to learn the plants that grow along their properties and call us when they notice something unusual.”

The invasive plant patrol program, overseen statewide by the Lake Stewards of Maine, helps prevent aquatic plants in waterbodies statewide. By patrolling lakes each season, volunteers become familiar with their native flora and can recognize an infestation before it spreads. There are no documented invasive plants in the Rangeley Region thanks to our diligent volunteers.

RLHT would like to thank the Headwaters Lake Protection Program’s Janet Bissell for her hard work as Invasive PP Coordinator. She organizes Lake Leaders and their teams for all waterbodies in the Rangeley region. Janet also surveyed many waterbodies herself, and the 2023 IPP program would not be possible without her.

If you have any questions regarding invasive aquatic species, please contact the 2023 Headwaters Coordinator, Julia Morin, at headwaters@rlht.org.

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust

RLHT conserves, restores, and stewards the natural resources of the Rangeley Lakes Region. Founded in 1991, RLHT has since worked with partner organizations to conserve tens of thousands of acres of land in its region and today has direct stewardship responsibility for over 20,000 acres. Known for its stewardship practices and commitment to community conservation, RLHT has long been a leader among regional land conservation organizations. To learn more, visit rlht.org.

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