Curly-Leaf Pondweed Found in Local Stream
Soon after learning how to identify invasive aquatic plants at a recent 7 Lakes Alliance training, a citizen volunteer, Bonnie Jones, spotted a suspicious-looking plant in The Serpentine, the waterway between East Pond and North Pond. 7 Lakes staff preliminarily identified the plant as the invasive curly-leaf pondweed. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Lake Stewards of Maine have confirmed that the suspicious plant is curly-leaf pondweed, an aggressive invasive species.
Curly-leaf pondweed, often described as looking like lasagna noodles, can grow in poor conditions such as tannic water, shade, high flow, low flow, and polluted water. It also grows in cold water where many other aquatic plants cannot grow. Plants were found in the area up to the dam at East Pond, but the full extent of the affected area is not yet known.
Next, senior invasive plant experts from the Maine DEP, Lake Stewards of Maine and 7 Lakes conducted a preliminary field survey, confirming multiple plants in the area. This team of invasive plant experts will work together in the coming weeks to fully assess the infestation in order to develop a management plan. Although 7 Lakes and East Pond Association volunteers did not find any curly-leaf pondweed in East Pond during a recent Invasive Plant Patrol (IPP), next steps will include another IPP on East Pond and another on North Pond.
Courtesy Boat Inspectors and Adopt-A-Shoreline participants throughout the Belgrade Lakes are now aware of the presence of this new and challenging invasive plant. They will be looking closely for it as well as for variable milfoil and any other invasive organisms. Additional volunteers will be needed.
The unfortunate discovery of curly-leaf pondweed in Belgrade Lakes waters verifies the constant and increasing threat of invasive plant infestations. It also underscores the critical role of citizen knowledge, awareness and vigilance in keeping our lakes safe.
As always, all boaters should follow steps to avoid the spread of invasives. These include checking for and removing all plants from all parts of boats, motors, and other gear; avoiding areas with known infestations; thoroughly cleaning all gear of mud and algae; draining your live well, bilge water and engine water away from the body of water; and drying all gear. Please be aware of the presence of this new invasive in The Serpentine and especially careful for surveying crews.
You can find more information about curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) here.