Lake Rescue Association fights spread of Eurasian Milfoil

LUDLOW, Vt. – The Lake Rescue Association has received authorization for the deployment of an additional 24 bottom barriers on Lake Rescue from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. The association will add 24 barriers to the lakebed in addition to the 24 barriers that were authorized and installed last year.

The 10-by-50-foot weighted vinyl barriers are laid by divers on the lakebed. The barriers help stop the propagation and spread of the milfoil plants. Milfoil, if unchecked, can grow from shore-to-shore and blanket the entire lake bottom and surface area of a water body, forming dense impenetrable stands with no open water.

Lake Rescue milfoil divers
Lake Rescue milfoil divers. Photo by Hunter Adams

“In the spring and summer of 2020, we’ve seen the most aggressive spread of milfoil in over 20 years,” said, Bruce J. Zanca, co-president of the Lake Rescue Association. Milfoil can be spread when motorboat propellers cut the water plants. “With the pandemic and social distancing, we are seeing exponential increases in boat traffic on Lake Rescue. Unfortunately, when boat props hit the milfoil plants the pieces propagate and take root and quickly grow new plants.”

Zanca added, “We’re also seeing an outbreak of milfoil downstream when plant pieces go over the Red Bridge Dam into Lake Pauline. Our divers are hand harvesting milfoil plants and deploying bottom barriers to help stop the spread of the invasive water plant species.”

“Fighting milfoil is expensive. In 2020 we will spend over $35,000 keeping the waters of Lake Rescue and Lake Pauline pristine,” said Zanca. In 2020 it’s expected the divers will spend over 240 hours removing milfoil plants and deploying the bottom barriers to problem areas.

The association participates in the Vermont Public Access Greeter program, which is administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. In this program, trained greeters Christopher and Janet Mott of Belmont, Vt. are present at the Lake Rescue fishing access boat ramp on weekends to inspect incoming and outgoing boats and watercraft for milfoil. The hand harvest divers and the milfoil greeters program are funded in part by a $7,640 grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition to the grant from the state, the Lake Rescue Association will spend over $35,000 to fight the spread of Eurasian milfoil. Those funds come from the donation of Lake Rescue Association members and other contributors.

The Lake Rescue Association is a volunteer organization whose members include homeowners on Lake Rescue and Lake Pauline and interested local business owners. To learn more about the Lake Rescue Association, to join, or to make a donation, visit www.lakerescue.org.

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