Our First Line of Defense.
“Milfoil (and other invasive species) is like a disease of lakes. It is easily spread, with serious consequences. Once a lake becomes infested, control is difficult. Some approaches are to buy, or hire suction boats with divers to pull it by hand (over $1,000/day), putting huge light blocking barriers on the lake bottom, or using hazardous chemicals, but these very expensive containment practices are rarely a cure, so can become a forever battle.
To avoid such an infestation, LAON started a program employing Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBIs) to prevent that from happening. CBIs check boats for any “aquatic hitchhikers” that can infest our waters. .
LAON has CBIs at the Lake Pennesseewassee boat launch at the busiest hours, between 7 AM and 7 PM on weekends and holidays, and early mornings and late afternoons during the week.
We are undertaking this effort because invasive species have infested many bodies of water in surrounding states. Since recognizing the danger and supporting CBI programs, Maine has not suffered as much as our neighboring states. Unfortunately, Maine does already have significant infestations in some lakes, including nearby Thompson Lake Sebago Lake, and Long Lake. Boaters can transport the problem on their boat, trailer, fishing gear, anchors, or wells. Anything that goes in the water, or traps water. Only a small fragments is needed to start an infestation.
The duties of the CBIs are to: explain the purpose of the inspection; record relevant boat information; and ask the boater to accompany them while they conduct a quick but methodical inspection of the boat and trailer. If plant life is found, , it will be sent for further analysis. Most boaters understand the importance of protecting the lakes and are willing to spend 5 minutes to save a lake. Additionally, the inspections help the boater because there is a fine in the thousands of dollars for transporting ANY PLANT LIFE on a boat or trailer in Maine.
What can responsible boaters, kayakers, canoeists or jet-skiers do? Foremost, they should get into the habit of inspecting their gear before going to any lake. Also, commit to having an inspection done by a CBI. Preserving our waters not only helps recreation, it also protects our businesses and our community. CBIs are not always on duty, so it is important for boaters to assume this responsibility. (The large sign at the boat ramp shows how to do it.) In addition, there is a link on this website, “How Boaters Can Help” with a copy of a helpful brochure. We are all in this together!