Milfoil

July 2014:  Rich Dahlgren hired as Milfoil Coordinator. Please contact Rich with milfoil sightings or questions about the program.  richdahlgren721@yahoo.com or 247-3262

March 26, 2014: Visit Milfoil Updates page for Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association Milfoil Control Annual Report 2013

What is Eurasian Watermilfoil and how can it be identified?  The following links contain information that is useful in identifying Eurasian Watermilfoil and discusses various methods of controlling its spread.

From the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation:
A link that provides a description of Eurasian Watermilfoil and discusses possible methods of control.

From the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission:
A link that provides both a description and color video which can be useful to the beginner in making an accurate identification of Eurasian Watermilfoil. To view the video please follow the link below or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fynq3x6QcRc

Please take the time to check out these links.  By staying informed and proactive we can make a difference.
_______________________________

Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association
P.O. Box 14, Salisbury, Vermont 05769

January 12, 2012

The following information was recently shared with the Leicester and Salisbury Town Selectboards.  It is posted here to inform Association Members and Town Residents of the 2012 Milfoil Program budget proposal. 

Subject:            Budgetary Support of 2012 Milfoil Control Program

Invasive species control is by far the largest program operated by the Association.  Over 85 percent of the Association’s budget and nearly all the volunteer efforts are directed at Eurasian Milfoil control.  The uncontrolled spread of milfoil can significantly impact the use of the lakes by restricting boating, fishing and swimming.  The shallow areas of Lake Dunmore (over half of the shore line) and all of Fern Lake are particularly at risk.  In 2011 the Association invested in its own suction harvester equipment and employed a team of 5+ full time equivalent divers from late May to mid September to pull the milfoil.  The full time use of the suction harvester doubled the amount pulled from the previous year.  Since 2009, the amount of milfoil removed has increased 10 fold.  The problem is not yet contained and an additional suction harvester and more divers are planned for 2012.

For 2012, the Association requests support from both Leicester and Salisbury for the milfoil control program in the amount of $16,125.  While this is a material increase over last year, your support is an essential element to fund the program to meet the growing challenge.  For background and supporting information for this request please see Attachment A. It is important to remember the key benefits to the Towns of Leicester and Salisbury are:

  • The preservation of a wonderful, natural recreation area available to the public.
  • The preservation of property values around the lakes which are an important and substantial portion of the Town’s Grand List.

The Association greatly appreciates your past support and looks forward to continuing the milfoil control program in the future.

Sincerely yours,

James A. Michael, Treasurer

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11 Responses to Milfoil

  1. Allen Wilson says:

    NOW HIRING
    LDFLA Educational Coordinator
    Requirements
    Strong written and verbal skills
    Strong interpersonal
    Self-starter and can work independently
    Interested in invasive species
    Interested in educating others
    Has a boat (or access to) on Dunmore and some water access at Fern (this is mandatory as they need to respond to homeowner requests)
    Strong computer design skills (brochure and educational communication collateral)
    Outgoing and organized

    The person’s job is going to be to create and distribute educational materials regarding all aspects of water quality. They will answer milfoil siting calls and be the liaison between the homeowner and the milfoil crew documenting and tracking reports of milfoil and the removal. Assist in reporting to state and other agency as necessary. Other tasks as assigned by the Manager of Invasive Species.

    This is a part time position that runs from mid-June thru the beginning of September. Contact Allen Wilson at: awilsonski@yahoo.com

  2. sue potter says:

    NOW HIRING
    LDFLA Educational Coordinator

    Requirements
    Strong written and verbal skills
    Strong interpersonal
    Self-starter and can work independently
    Interested in invasive species
    Interested in educating others
    Has a boat (or access to) on Dunmore and some water access at Fern (this is mandatory as they need to respond to homeowner requests)
    Strong computer design skills (brochure and educational communication collateral)
    Outgoing and organized

    The person’s job is going to be to create and distribute educational materials regarding all aspects of water quality. They will answer milfoil siting calls and be the liaison between the homeowner and the milfoil crew documenting and tracking reports of milfoil and the removal. Assist in reporting to state and other agency as necessary. Other tasks as assigned by the Manager of Invasive Species.

    This is a part time position that runs from mid-June thru the beginning of September. Contact Allen Wilson at: awilsonski@yahoo.com

  3. Chip Paison says:

    Hi All – just spent several days at the lake and noticed all the Milfoil frags. I thought time to post the reminder (set forth by John E or Neil M – if 100 people collect 50 frags each, that’s 50,000 less plants). At dinner last night I was encouraged by our neighbor who told me she’d seen several people out with their nets collecting. YEAH for the community effort to help tackle the issue at hand. THanks to All.

  4. Sue Potter says:

    Check out the weekly reports by the milfoil crew. The reports can be found in the “Milfoil Reports” Category on the right side of any blog page. Click on the Comments for the “Welcome to the Milfoil Crew Blog Spot” post. Come back often to stay informed on the activities of the crew as they report on the efforts to bring Eurasian watermilfoil under control in our lakes.

  5. Cabell Hatfield says:

    I can think of several locations, one of them near the access ramp, that are too shallow for anything but a small canoe or kayak and would permit the weevils to remain undisturbed while they get established.

  6. Sue Potter says:

    Below is a statement from Sallie Sheldon of Middlebury College regarding the milfoil weevil project which is being proposed for Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake.

    “A permit to use an insect to control Eurasian watermilfoil has been submitted by the Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association.

    The “milfoil” weevil is a very small insect that feeds on Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM). To control EWM, these weevils have been introduced to more than 100 lakes in 12 states and 3 Canadian provinces. This insect is very specific to EWM and will not switch host plants even if EWM is rare. The weevil has no impact on other plants.

    If the permit is granted, Middlebury College students will grow weevils this summer in a greenhouse on campus, and bring them to Lake Dunmore. Introducing weevils will not immediately result in removal of all the plants. Insect populations need to be established over time. Once the weevils have been added, adults will reproduce, females will lay eggs, and they will hatch out, resulting in more weevils. Weevils over-winter on land, then will come back to the lake next spring.

    Don’t expect to see the weevils, they are tiny! Instead, hope to see darkened sections of EWM stems, where the juvenile weevils do their work. When sufficiently damaged, the plants will collapse to the bottom of the lake.

    Weevils will only be added to a few shallow regions in the lake where there is a lot of EWM. If there are signs up, motorized vehicles should drive slowly enough to not generate significant wake. All other sorts of boats are fine around the weevils.”

    Sallie Sheldon
    Department of Biology
    Middlebury College

  7. Cab Hatfield says:

    We were at Dunmore during the March heat wave and launched our canoe to tour the shoreline. Found a number of floating plants same as Sue Mackey just off Kampersville. I pulled a couple of plants off the bottom just off shore. So far, the bottom looked mostly clear.

    I’ve been using a small hand rake with an extending handle I found at Agway when the water is too cold to go into and there are plants close enough to reach. I position the head of the rake next to and just beyond the stem where it meets the bottom and push the tines straight down into the bottom parallel to the stem until the head is under the sand or silt; then I gently pull the rake toward me to get under the root structure before pulling upward. If you do it right the plant comes up root and all. Be careful not to break up the plant. Also, you may have problems in rocky or hard bottoms. Keep a bucket handy for taking your haul to the compost heap.

    The handle extends to about 3 feet in length which works well enough if you are seated in a canoe. I also recommend using a paddle or a short pole pushed straight into the bottom beside you to keep yourself steady and in position when you do this. Slow, gentle movement is important. This method is probably best used from shore or a dock when and where conditions permit for most of us and it will only work in shallow water where the milfoil is close enough to reach.

  8. Sue Mackey says:

    Now that the ice is off Dunmore & Fern, everyone should be checking their shoreline for floating milfoil plants which have probably broken off from the ice moving out. I picked a bunch off my shoreline on Sat and was surprised at how much had floated in. Go for it!!

  9. Chip Paison says:

    I think this was a really good article. Do we have an update on the town votes?

    • Yes — both towns voted support for our increased milfoil control program. Each town will contribute $16,125 toward a total cost estimated at approximately $170,000 for 2012. Our costs have grown significantly and we greatly appreciate the substantial increase in support voted by Leicester and Salisbury this year.

  10. Dear Members:

    Below is a copy of an article written by Christian Woodard which appeared in the Feb 27 issue of the Addison Independent describing our expanding Eurasian milfoil control program and the need for continued financial support. I think he tells the story fairly and accurately, but I’m a little biased as I provided some of the input. Read on….

    Milfoil problem still growing on Lake Dunmore
    By CHRISTIAN WOODARD

    LEICESTER/SALISBURY — When the last ice melts off, the annual battle for Lake Dunmore will begin again. On one side: an army of volunteers, paid divers and milfoil specialists. On the other: an underwater invasive plant called Eurasian watermilfoil.

    The population of milfoil in Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake has grown tenfold since 2009, and is expected to double again this season, according to Jay Michaels, a trustee of the Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake Association (LDFLA)

    The association takes the lead in trying to eradicate — or at least check the growth of — the milfoil, but it is having trouble keeping up with the invasive species. Despite members’ best efforts and expensive arsenal, which includes a specialized milfoil suction boat called Millie, the lakes are in danger of being choked by the plant.

    The towns of Leicester and Salisbury have more at stake than an ecological ideal. Cleaner lakes mean higher property values and greater consumer traffic in the area.

    “The public recreation area and the town’s grandlist property values are at risk,” said Michaels.

    Despite pulling the invasive by hand and using Millie to harvest 1,174 bushels of milfoil last year, the invasive still outpaced its opponents.

    “Up until 2008, we could say the milfoil was under control by the end of the season,” Michaels said. “These past few years, there has been a larger and larger base for the milfoil to build on at the end of the season. That’s why you see the exponential growth.”

    In 2005, divers pulled only 9.4 bushels from both lakes. Michaels projects that 2012 will see the harvest of 2,500 bushels.

    But, better harvesting methods mean higher harvests, so the alarming statistics are partially due to Millie and a similar boat that the association plans to purchase this year. Each pontoon boat and its retrofitting costs $18,000.

    This year the LDFLA will focus most of its finances on the suction technique, though Michaels outlined several other control methods.

    “We’re staying abreast of the options. There’s chemical treatments, bottom barriers, and biological treatments,” Michaels said. “None of those are in the plan for this season, but the options are there.”

    Professor Sallie Sheldon, a researcher of biological milfoil controls, believes that a large ecosystem like Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake will require a cocktail of treatments, of which biological management is only one.

    “Typically you’ll use all different types to control milfoil in a single lake,” Sheldon said. “It’s what they call integrated pest management.”

    Fifteen years ago, Professor Sheldon published research on a small beetle that ate Eurasian milfoil and nothing else. The insect, Euhrychiopsis lecontei, also called the Eurasian milfoil weevil, may be part of the answer.

    Unlike chemical treatments, the weevils slowly balance the invasive population with native milfoils. As a specialist treatment, it leaves the rest of the underwater ecosystem intact while targeting the invasive.

    “We can’t say we’ll take it out in one year, like a chemical herbicide,” Sheldon said. “What we can say is that we’ll see significant decline within three years.”

    The weevil is a native species, and it’s been used successfully in 18 states and six Canadian provinces to control milfoil. Sheldon has personally seen it at work in several Vermont locations, including Lake Morey, Lake Eligo, Fairfield Pond and Mallett’s Bay.

    “Mallett’s Bay is an example of a really great milfoil population,” she said. “There’s native species interbedded with a small amount of Eurasian Water milfoil. The insects are present there, too.”

    While the milfoil weevil isn’t as satisfying as ripping the plant up by the roots and tossing it into a floating suction machine, it seems to be effective. Sheldon was uncertain about permitting for this summer, but hopes that the weevil will soon join the ranks of milfoil fighters at Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake.

    As the LDFLA gears up for this season’s campaign with a new boat and a bigger crew — they hope to start work by late April or early May — funding is a top concern. In the past, a state grant covered almost 75 percent of the association’s milfoil control costs, but it now provides less than 30 percent. The association will pick up the loss this year, but is asking residents of Leicester and Salisbury to contribute 10 percent of the support, or $16,125 apiece. The funding will be decided on Town Meeting Day.

    “Mainly we just want to re-awaken people to the fact that invasive species are still a problem. We don’t think the sky is falling,” Michaels said. “But, if we don’t do more aggressive control, the sky could get pretty close to the ground.”

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