August 25, 2020
I just got done paddling the lake with Karen Hahnel. Karen is one of our contacts with the Invasive Aquatics Plants Division of the Maine DEP. She tries to stop out once a year to check in on our progress with the Milfoil mitigation. We spent time surveying all around the lake. She pointed out several native plants that grow to the surface such as Bladderwort and Water Marigold. These may be mistaken as an invasive due to their dense growths and sometimes floating plants.
We talked about the excessive amounts of Eel Grass and Water Celery that is a common complaint this year. This is being seen in other lakes as well. Anything can dislodge the grass or it can be a natural occurrence. The DASH boat has only worked when we have surface support to corral the plants that get away from the diver. I am sure we don’t get them all but we aren’t responsible for the large amounts of grass floating up on everyone’s shorelines. Karen mentioned that the ducks like to eat these various grasses and probably contribute some to the floating plants.
Karen also mentioned that the loss of water clarity which I have noticed diving is also being seen elsewhere due to the heat and lack of rain which seem to encourage algae growth. We see algae each summer but it is a little worse this year. I don’t know what the secchi disk readings have been, I only know what I see, or can’t see as well, when diving. Less water flow through the lake contributes to this lack of clarity.
As far as a report from the DEP, this is just a casual paddle each year to see how things are progressing. Karen was happy to see that we continue to work at this project each year. The funding is stable this year. Recent news articles have said that boat sales are up this summer so hopefully that means boat registrations are also up. Those fees are what support this grant program. Karen took a few samples of plants with her. The invasive plant we have was identified years ago as Hybrid Variable Leaf Milfoil. We haven’t noticed a flowering part above the water previously but she took a sample of one with this part of the plant called a Bract. We didn’t notice any other troublesome plants, though. The milfoil we remove is a reddish plant but the other natives are generally green with a different appearance.