Maine DEP urges boat inspections as summer recreation ramps up
June 25, 2018
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Boat Inspector Finds Invasive Plant Entering Oxford County Lake
AUGUSTA, June 25, 2018 - Maine Department of Environmental is confirming the discovery of Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) by a Courtesy Boat Inspector on a boat entering Pennesseewassee Lake in Norway and urging boaters to clean, drain, and dry boats, anchor lines and fishing gear before and after launching in Maine waters. The plant was intercepted May 31st by a Lakes Association of Norway (LAON) Courtesy Boat Inspector.
"This finding by the alert inspector reminds us that anyone enjoying Maine lakes and rivers can unwittingly move plants, fish and other organisms between waters," said John McPhedran, Biologist for the DEP. "DEP urges boaters to clean mud, plants, and animals from their boat, trailer, motor and other equipment; drain all water from the boat, boat engine, and other equipment away from the water; and dry anything that contacts the water. The Clean, Drain, Dry message is promoted nationally to reduce risk of moving plants, animals and pathogens."
Upon close inspection of the intercepted plant, DEP staff made an additional alarming discovery: an attached non-native mussel. The inspection information collected by the LAON boat inspector indicated the boat had been in the St. Lawrence River - host to two non-native mussels - before launching in Pennesseewassee. Precise identification of the mussel is pending by Maine mussel experts.
The additional finding of a hitchhiking animal on a known invasive plant further raises the stakes for local Courtesy Boat Inspection Programs like the one run by LAON. In 2017 alone, 50 lake associations and 48 bass fishing clubs conducted over 80,000 inspections statewide. Maine DEP provides grants to support local Courtesy Boat Inspection programs. These grants are made possible by a $10 fee on Maine-registered watercraft and a $20 fee on out-of-state boat registrations and sea planes using Maine inland waters, plus annual funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Eurasian water milfoil, an aggressive aquatic plant throughout the U.S., is known to be in only one water body in the state, a 28-acre pond in Scarborough.