One can help keep local ponds free of invasive aquatic plants by volunteering as a courtesy boat inspector with Pemaquid Watershed Association and Midcoast Conservancy. There will be a training session on Thursday, June 14 at 4 p.m. at the PWA office, 584 Main St., Damariscotta. The mandatory training is being held cooperatively with Midcoast Conservancy. The only requirement to volunteer is an interest in talking with people about the importance of keeping boats and gear free of hitchhiking invasive plants.
Without the help of volunteers, there would be no front-line defense against invasive aquatic plants entering the network of ponds in the Pemaquid River watershed and from spreading or having new infestations on Damariscotta Lake. Hydrilla was found on Damariscotta Lake by a volunteer in 2009 and volunteers twice stopped the invasive fanwort from getting into the lake.
Boating is the primary way that invasive aquatic plants are spread from one body of water to another. Plants can be carried on boats, motors, trailers, and fishing gear from an infested lake to one that is not, and plants can survive out of the water for days. Prevention is the only effective way to control them.
There is no practical and economical method of eradicating invasive aquatic plants once they have become established. Just a small piece of one plant can infest an entire lake; because the plant is foreign, there is no natural predator to slow its growth.
The aim of the courtesy boat-inspection program is to help educate boaters about invasive aquatic plants and show them how to inspect their boat, trailer, and equipment for plant fragments. After taking part in a short training, PWA and Midcoast Conservancy volunteers sign up to conduct courtesy boat inspections for two-hour shifts on Saturdays and Sundays in July and August. For PWA, they are at the Pemaquid Pond boat launch in Nobleboro and at the Biscay Beach boat launch. Midcoast Conservancy will have a schedule available at the training session for Damariscotta Lake.
No prior experience or knowledge is needed, except for the training. Volunteers receive a free yellow boat-inspector T-shirt. This is a way to spend two hours at a lovely spot, meet nice folks, and help keep invasive plants out of ponds in the region.
For more information, contact Carolyn, PWA land and water program manager, at 563-2196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Garrison Beck, Midcoast Conservancy director of water conservation, at email@example.com or 389-5157.