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.
Have you seen any of these large snails in Collins Pond? They have been identified as Chinese Mystery Snails, an invasive aquatic species. They are larger than a walnut shell.
If you find any live snails, please mark where you find them and let us know. Two empty shells were discovered while gathering milfoil and have been identified by Lake Stewards of Maine, and reported as a suspected invasive species.
Lake Stewards of Maine would like to know whether we have a live infestation or whether the shells have floated down river from Little Sebago or Millpond. Thank you for keeping an eye out for these unwanted Chinese Mystery Snails. You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enter the Evergreen Credit Union raffle to help raise funds for deserving non-profits, and you might be the lucky winner of a L. L. Bean solo kayak, paddle and equipment.
Once again Collins Pond Improvement Association has been chosen as one of beneficiaries. Your support will not only help CPIA mission to fight to control/eradication of invasive species in our pond & watershed but to support our neighboring lakes, food pantries & the Animal Refuge League and their missions!
Little Sebago Lake had to release some water this week so you may notice the Collins Pond water level vary as we try to match this new inflow. The LSL DamKeeper opened his dam about 5% on 5/14 in the evening and we adjusted about 24 hours later to release some.
As of April 15, 2020 the Little Sebago Lake dam has been closed to bring that lake up to the State mandated summer level. On April 16th the Collins Pond dam has also been closed. Adjustments will be made, as always, to try to maintain a constant water level.
As Little Sebago Lake has maintenance performed on their dam, there will be small water releases which may slightly affect the Collins Pond water level. For larger releases we will also open for short periods, as just happened on Sept 8th. A reminder that Little Sebago Lake starts their mandated water level draw down for the winter on October 15th. We will open our dam at that time also to maintain a lower level for the winter. This is intended to limit damage from ice to the shoreline during the winter.