Greater than $1.5 million has been raised to proceed the struggle in opposition to invasive crops in Lake Cobbossee, and lake affiliation leaders say the cash may assist defend one in all central Maine’s largest our bodies of water for as much as three years.
Officers stated the information comes after a powerful yr for the lake, with little new proof of drawback crops.
Often known as Lake Cobbosseecontee, Lake Cobbossee touches Litchfield, Manchester, Monmouth, West Gardiner and Winthrop. It measures 8.7 sq. miles and has a mixed shoreline property worth of greater than $700 million.
Eurasian chickenpox leaf, an invasive plant with the potential to devastate lakes and decrease property values within the surrounding space, was found in Lake Cobbossee in 2018. In response to consultants, solely a bit of it may unfold shortly and devastate a lake.
The lake went by means of an herbicide therapy in 2019. Since then, new elements of the plant have often been found within the lake, however officers of the Cobbosseecontee Lake Affiliation and Mates of the Cobbossee Basin are working to maintain invasive crops from coming into the lake.
The Cobbosseecontee Lake Affiliation, previously the CYC Lake Affiliation, is a nonprofit devoted to fundraising and defending the lake, whereas Mates of the Cobbossee Watershed, additionally a nonprofit, focuses on going to the lake to hunt and take away invasive crops and educate the group. .
The $1.5 million was raised by means of the Cobbosseecontee Lake Affiliation’s three-year “Love the Lake” fundraising marketing campaign, which started in June.
“We had about 300 attendees,” stated John Stanek, the group’s vice chairman. “$1.5 million was raised as a result of the broader Cobbossee group acknowledged a necessity, understood the issue, and responded with nice generosity to guard and protect Lake Cobbosseecontee and probably all different Lakes of Maine.”
Toni Pied, director of conservation at Mates of the Cobbossee Watershed, stated the fund can be anticipated to assist the group focus its efforts on stopping extra invasive crops from coming into the lake and detecting and managing these which can be already there.
After Lake Cobbossee obtained a herbicide therapy, in 2020 the Eurasian water milifoil was rediscovered within the northeastern quarter of the lake, with the Mates of Cobbossee Basin analysis workforce discovering a bit at Farr’s Cove about midway throughout the lake in late 2021.
Since then, Pied stated the group has discovered new crops “close to an present infestation on the north finish of the lake,” and that the analysis workforce has extracted a plant close to Hodgdon Island.
Bigger areas of infestation are handled with an herbicide, which ought to scale back the general risk, he stated.
Stanek stated the Mates of the Cobbossee Basin saved the world on excessive alert for a lot of 2022 as surveyors and dive crews labored to forestall new crops from regrowth and guarantee no new crops emerged.
He stated final yr’s season closed with none important new infestations or regrowth, and all new crops discovered had been eliminated.
The group positioned and shot a number of variable-leaved succulent sunflower crops outdoors the mouth of the Jug Stream. Such a yarrow can kind dense mats close to the water floor, According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
“General, I believe we have elevated the invasion,” Pied stated.
The funding additionally helps Mates of the Cobbossee Watershed conduct boat inspections. The cities surrounding the lake, together with the state Division of Environmental Safety, present among the funding for courtesy boat inspections, and Stanek stated one of many group’s objectives is to cowl 100% of these prices this yr.
To proceed to reduce the danger of spreading invasive species, Pied encourages boaters to scrub their boats and gear earlier than bringing them into the lake, drain any standing water, and let their boats and gear dry within the solar for so long as attainable. taken to a different physique of water.
In response to Elizabeth Pollock, head of the lake affiliation’s invasive species process power, boaters also needs to think about using solely public boat launches, versus non-public boat entrances that may accommodate invaders.
The Maine Legislature not too long ago held a invoice this, if handed, would require boaters to empty their watercraft after leaving any inland water physique. Emergency response vessels can be exempted.
General, Stanek and Pied are optimistic in regards to the future.
“Funds from (CLA) have already enabled us to construct our capability to satisfy the wants of Lake Cobbossee,” Pied stated. “We now have a full-time workforce devoted to Cobbossee all through the summer season. This permits us to reply as quickly as any new infestations are discovered and to be always looking out for water detecting new infestations. Additionally, by partnering with the lakes affiliation, we are able to higher talk with the lake inhabitants. Lake residents and guests will play a serious position in reaching our long-term objectives.”
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