March 17, 2023

Town of Raymond to assume milfoil harvesting duties from RWPA volunteers

By Ed Pierce

Responsibility for the Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting Program (DASH) milfoil mitigation program will now be handled by the Town of Raymond instead of the Raymond Waterways Protective Association.

Peggy Jensen of the Raymond Waterways
Protective Association prepares to take a 
Secchi disc reading for water clarity on a
lake in Raymond last year.
Members of Raymond’s Select Board have voted unanimously to take over this task from the RWPA following a letter sent to the town in December by Peggy Jensen, RWPA president.

“After careful consideration of all the imaginable ways to address the remaining small patches and the inevitable stray plants that may regenerate from even tiny pieces of stem or root, we have decided the best solution is to move the DASH program to the town,” Jensen wrote to Raymond Select Board members.

Jensen said that RWPA has pledged to guide town personnel in taking ownership of the boat and its necessary equipment so that it could be quickly put back into operation and in applying for possibly available grant funds. RWPA also recommended that the town consider hiring a private contractor for the work.

“RWPA will continue to monitor and mitigate any invasive aquatic species found in the upper Jordan River, from the Route 302 highway to Mill Street, and Dingley Brook, from Cape Road to Sebago Lake,” Jensen wrote. “We will continue to operate the Courtesy Boat Inspection program at four launch sites in Raymond. We hope to have continuing support from the town for this program.”

According to Jensen, RWPA is looking to expand the hours covered for the Courtesy Boat Inspection program and is seeking to hire a manager for the program this coming season.

The Raymond Waterways Protective Association was created in the early 1970s by Ernest Bickford and Ernest Knight with a mission established to monitor and preserve the water quality of all Raymond lakes.

Since the beginning of RWPA’s water testing initiatives, all of Raymond’s lakes have been placed in the “Above Average Quality” category for the entire state of Maine.

Bodies of water being monitored by RWPA volunteers include Crescent Lake, Notched Pond, Panther Pond, Raymond Pond, Sebago Lake and Thomas Pond.

Through the years since it was first created, RWPA has continued to expand its duties by adding voluntary boat inspections and conducting plant surveys for invasive plant species with a goal of ensuring water quality and advocating for watershed stewardship in Raymond.

Milfoil remains an ongoing threat to local lakes and waterways.

“All the smaller lakes and ponds have volunteers who are trained to identify the 11, soon to be 12, invasive aquatic plants that threaten our waters,” said Jensen. “We have spent years finding and removing invasive variable milfoil in Raymond’s waters, with most of it being done by a dive crew as all our divers are trained and certified for SCUBA work and for the specialized work of removing invasive plants.”

Courtesy Boat Inspectors examine boats entering and leaving the launch ramps in Raymond, and strive to prevent invasive plants such as milfoil from entering Raymond waterways, but also from spreading milfoil contamination to other lakes and waters in the state.

“They educate boaters about the dangers of invasive species including organisms we can’t always see, and they remove all plant material that they find on a boat, a trailer, and all fishing gear,” said Jensen. “There is a large group of highly trained volunteers who provide emergency survey services to any lake that has a new infestation or a suspected one. So long as there is any invasive variable milfoil in the Sebago Lakes, we will have to remain vigilant and continue surveying.”

Raymond’s Select Board voted unanimously for the town to take over the DASH invasive removal program for the 2023 season. <

No comments:

Post a Comment