Invasive milfoil detected in Winthrop lake: Clean, drain, and dry when launching and taking out boats

Posted:  Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - 2:15pm
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The Maine Department of Environmental Protection confirmed growth of Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in the north end of Cobbosseecontee (aka Cobbossee) Lake in Winthrop.  The plant was discovered in July by Friends of Cobbossee Watershed plant surveyors.  DEP and volunteers have searched for, and removed, plants since last month's discovery.
 
On Aug. 7, Megunticook Watershed Association Executive Director Paul Leeper warned Midcoast boaters to be vigilant.
 
“Let's all practice clean, drain, and dry when launching and taking out boats,” he wrote to association members. “Tell your houseguests and renters to do the same.”

This find on a highly-valued central Maine lake highlights the risk of introduction of invasive aquatic species, including plants, fish, and other organisms such as zebra mussels, according to a news release from the DEP, which is urging boaters to clean, drain, and dry boats, anchor lines and fishing gear before and after launching in Maine waters.

“The sharp eyes of Friends of Cobbossee Watershed surveyors found this invasive species at what we believe to be an early growth stage,” said DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer, in the release.  “Initial surveying and removal efforts by Friends of Cobbossee Watershed, Cobbosee Watershed District and DEP indicate the plant is confined to the north end of the lake.  We are optimistic that continued rapid response by local organizations and DEP will reduce risk of this plant from spreading to other parts of the lake, and to other lakes.  It’s too early to tell if eradication is achievable but that is the goal of this collaborative rapid response effort.  The lake community is fortunate to have strong local organizations working to protect area waters.”

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.