Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBIs) are the Belgrade Lakes’ first line of defense against costly invasive aquatic plant infestations. 7 Lakes Alliance operates this critical program in partnership and with support of lake associations, local towns, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and citizen supporters. The CBI program also provides numerous local jobs and fosters a lake-friendly relationship with boaters.
Recently, CBI Alice Bowden made a crucial save while working at the Great Pond boat launch Alice spotted and removed a piece of curly-leaf pondweed (CLP) from the propeller of a boat visiting from Bare Hill Pond in Harvard, Massachusetts. Invasive fanwort and variable leaf milfoil also infest Bare Hill Pond.
Alice’s catch was a true “save” as there are no documented CLP infestations in Great Pond. She reflected, “I found the segment of curly-leaf pondweed less than an hour into my very first day as a courtesy boat inspector. I was not expecting to catch an invasive so soon, I'm glad I was there to stop it [from] spreading!”
Although Alice stopped CLP from another state, it easily could have come from the nearby, newly discovered infestation of CLP found by a 7LA-trained volunteer in the Serpentine between East and North Pond in 2021. CBIs’ recent removal of invasive variable milfoil from several boats exiting Messalonskee Lake this summer also underscore dangers close to home.
Like algal blooms, infestations of invasive aquatic organisms threaten wildlife habitat, property values, and recreational uses. Infestations are costly to remediate and are rarely eradicated. Climate change increases these threats by creating better growing conditions and longer seasons.
So please thank CBIs for their excellent work protecting the Belgrade Lakes from invaders. To learn more about the CBI program or to become a CBI on any of the Belgrade Lakes, visit the 7LA website.
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