We had a successful year and pulled and composted 646 gallons of Variable Milfoil from the Ossipee River. We worked in five different sites and were able to remove most of the plants that we found. There are two more smaller sites that we will tackle next year and we will also continue to monitor the river for regrowth. In the future we should be able to keep the milfoil growth to a low level but will always have to pull new plants that will inevitably pop up here and there.
This year we developed an excellent local team of hand pullers lead by Greg and Rachelle Averill of Porter. We also had help from Hannah Stiles, Rich Pinault, and Sacopee students Damien Stubbs, and Isabelle and Marena Keim. All were new to the task but caught on quickly. It’s pretty much like weeding a garden underwater. We bought new snorkel gear which helped us go into deeper water.
The majority of the heavy infestations of milfoil are in water deeper than two feet, and for those areas it is necessary for us to hire professional scuba divers from New England Milfoil. They are a pleasure to work with and do a very good job. They are thorough and at one point they unearthed a large section of milfoil that had been buried under sand redistributed by strong storm currents.
We are happy to report that we have a new large, rodent proof, composter at Sacopee Elementary School constructed by Hannah Stiles. We were able to deposit all of our 646 gallons of milfoil into the composter where it will merge with food waste from the school cafeteria. The snails, crayfish, mussels and aquatic plants will add valuble micro nutrients that should help make excellent compost.
Funding for the milfoil removal is provided by a grant from the Maine DEP and the generosity of the towns of Porter and Parsonsfield, Maine. In 2019 we can ask for less money, knowing that each year the milfoil patches will be getting smaller and smaller.
Contributed by the Porter, Maine, Conservation Commission. This report is focused on the milfoil removal from the Ossipee River.