Maine DEP and IFW Issued Temporary Belgrade Lakes Ban On Boats Extended To Facilitate Fight Against Invasive Milfoil

September 17, 2012

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Director of Communications & Education samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov/ (207) 287-5842

-The surface use restriction on Great Meadow Stream and a portion of Great Pond was jointly issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to enable effective suppression of variable leaf milfoil and prevent its spread to other parts of Great Pond-

BELGRADE – The Maine Departments of Environmental Protection and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have extended the temporary ban of all boats on Great Meadow Stream and a portion of Great Pond in the Belgrade Lakes Region to enable effective control efforts of a variable leaf milfoil infestation on the popular waterway.

While a restriction on motorized boats was already authorized by the agencies through the end of 2012, the restriction on non-motorized watercraft like kayaks and canoes was set to expire this week to allow duck hunters some water access.

The decision by the Commissioners to extend the ban supports the considerable progress already made this summer by DEP and local lake association volunteers and staff in beating back the invasive aquatic plants.

The surface use restriction extends from where Route 225 crosses Great Meadow Stream in Rome and Smithfield, and reaches southward into the northern portion of North Bay in Great Pond where buoys labeled “Area Closed” mark the southern boundary of the restriction.

By the order, signed by Commissioner Patricia Aho and IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, no watercraft may enter or travel these waterways through Dec. 31 except in emergency situations or when state officials and endorsed partners are doing survey or removal work related to the variable leaf milfoil infestation.

DEP scientists anticipate the surface use restriction will limit the spread of the plant, which is Maine’s most common aquatic invasive and accounts for 17 of the 23 infested lake systems documented in Maine. The restriction will also allow DEP staff and local partners including those from the Belgrade Lakes Association and Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance safe space to continue to conduct plant removal work.

In advocating for the extension, Commissioner Aho explained that prohibiting all watercraft–including those propelled by paddles that can cut and carry invasive plant fragments– ensures the restriction is executed fully and thus that it is as temporary and effective in managing the infestation as possible.

For more information on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program and steps you can take to prevent plant invasion including an instructional video on conducting an inspection of your boat, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives

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