DAMARISCOTTA – As efforts to combat invasive aquatic plants in Damariscotta Lake intensify, Courtesy Boat Inspectors from the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association (DLWA) are diligently checking boats entering and exiting the lake for plant fragments at the Route 213 and Vannah Road boat launches. Courtesy Boat Inspectors are stationed at the two public boat launches on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In six busy weeks, this yearâ€™s Courtesy Boat Inspectors have already matched and exceeded the total number of boats inspected in all of 2009!
In 2009, DLWA volunteers inspected approximately 400 boats. This summer, volunteers have already inspected 640 boats, contributing over 150 volunteer hours to help protect the lake and educate boaters. Courtesy Boat Inspectors have found 32 plants on boats entering and exiting the lake. Fortunately, none of these plants were identified as an invasive species. In addition, the DLWA received a generous grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to hire two interns to work part-time at the boat launches and purchase necessary supplies. With the combined efforts of volunteers and interns, the DLWA expects to break a record for the greatest number of boats inspected in one season on Damariscotta Lake.
The goals of the Courtesy Boat Inspection program are two-fold â€“ to raise awareness of invasive aquatic plants and prevent boats from transporting these plants. With consent of the boaters, Courtesy Boat Inspectors check boats for plant fragments, remove all vegetation, provide information to the boaters, and answer questions about invasive plants. The vast majority of boaters at Damariscotta Lake are more than happy to take a few minutes to talk about this topic because they too enjoy the recreation opportunities provided by a clean and healthy lake. The long-term goal of the program is to instill an ethic in boaters to always check their own boats and trailers for plant fragments.
The Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association (DLWA) is always looking for more Courtesy Boat Inspectors to prevent invasive aquatic plants from entering Damariscotta Lake. Training for this position is simpleâ€”new volunteers job-shadow an experienced volunteer at the boat launch. After completing this training, volunteers are free to sign up for two-hour shifts that work with their schedules.
If you care about Damariscotta Lake but arenâ€™t convinced that volunteering is for you, please consider the following facts:
–Boating activity is the primary way invasive aquatic plants spread from one waterbody to another. Plant parts are carried on boats, motors, trailers, and fishing gear from an infested water body to one that is not, and plants can survive out of the water for days.
–A small piece of a plant can infest an entire lake. Because the plant is foreign, there is no natural predator to curb its growth.
One person spotting one plant can make a difference! For more information on volunteering, contact Julia at 549-3836 or Julia@dlwa.org.
Founded in 1966, The Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association is committed to enhancing the quality of life in and around Damariscotta Lake, assuring enjoyment for all of its natural and human residents. Learn more at www.dlwa.org.
Contact Name: Julia Davis
Telephone Number: (207)549-3836