The state hopes preventing use of this section of stream will stop the spread of hydrilla to other parts of Damariscotta Lake and ensure the suppression efforts by DEP staff and volunteers are most effective.
Last week, DEP staff led volunteers from the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association for a hydrilla plant pulling session in Davis Stream, removing seven contractors bags filled with plants. Additionally, a carpet called a benthic barrier was temporarily placed on small sections of the streambed to prevent the hydrilla from re-growing.
Prior to the discovery of the plant in early September hydrilla had been documented in nearby Damariscotta Lake, but the infestation was limited to a .3-acre lagoon on the west side of the lake and was thought to be contained there thanks to the DEP’s efforts in erecting screens to prevent the spread of plant fragments.
“While we’re still not sure how Davis Stream became infested, we are confident this temporary surface restriction is needed to reduce the chance that other parts of Damariscotta Lake and additional Maine waterbodies fall victim to hydrilla’s cruel clutches as well,” said John McPhedran, director of the DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Plants program.
Hydrilla is considered the worst of the invasive aquatic offenders, and in some cases in the southern states where it is most prevalent the mats it forms in the water are so dense they actually have to be mowed.
The only other confirmed case of hydrilla in Maine was in Pickerel Pond in Limerick. It was discovered there in 2002 and was treated with herbicide by the DEP. Surveys of Pickerel Pond in 2010 and 2011 revealed that the department’s control efforts were effective as there was no hydrilla.
This is only the third time the departments have issued a surface use restriction. The first was issued in Kozy Cove of Belgrade’s Salmon Lake and spanned from 2008-2010. The second was in Great Meadow Stream which flows into Great Pond, also in the Belgrade Lakes area. That ban began in September of 2010 and is still in effect.
There are 34 lakes and ponds in Maine that have documented cases of invasive aquatic plant infestations. The state takes prevention and control of invasives so seriously because of the impact infestations can have in destroying water quality, habitat for native fisheries and wildlife, recreational opportunities and values of lakefront property, said McPhedran.
For more information on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program and steps you can take to prevent plant invasion, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep and click “Invasive Aquatic Plants” under the featured links.