by chip wendler, vice president
If you haul a boat in or out of Moose Pond anywhere from late June to early September you will very likely be greeted by a friendly Courtesy Boat Inspector. These CBIs, as they are commonly referred to, are our first line of defense to protect Moose Pond from a variety of invasive species that could cause a tremendous amount of harm to the lake that we love. Amongst the worst of these aquatic offenders is variable leaf milfoil. A tiny and seemingly dried up shred of this invasive aquatic plant attached to a propeller, trailer or boat hull can rehydrate after launch and wreak havoc on the lake’s shoreline – causing it to be nearly unusable and resulting in a significant depreciation in lakeside property process if left unchecked.
Only 20 miles to the south of Moose Pond it took several years and many thousands of dollars to bring the milfoil infestation in the Songo River Locks under control and last summer, in early June, another infestation was discovered on the shores of Long Lake. Remediation of a milfoil infestation often includes milfoil harvesting barges, scuba divers and underwater rubber mats to control regrowth. The commercial barges used to harvest severe milfoil infestations are expensive with capital outlays ranging from $50,000-100,000 and annual costs for regular control of an infestation can be several thousand dollars per hectare.
This is why the Moose Pond Association (MPA) partners with the Lake Environmental Association (LEA) to staff both the Route 302 and Denmark Boat ramps during weekends from late May through late June and on most days of the week from July 1 through the end of August. Inspectors are also present on these ramps during the weekends in September. Their job is relatively straightforward. Check the trailer, hull, anchor, engine, propeller and ropes. Inspection participation by boatowners is voluntary, but the importance of these CBI inspections should not be underestimated. The presence and diligence of the CBIs increases the odds that invasive species will be identified and removed before they enter the lake and, importantly, CBI activities also provide boat owners with a constant reminder that they should pay attention to where their boat has been and keep it plant fragment free.
During the summer of 2020, donations to the MPA helped fund nearly 1400 Courtesy Bost Inspector hours. Through August of last year, more than 1100 boats were inspected on the Route 302 boat ramp and another 500 boats were inspected on the Denmark ramp. One of those hours – on July 4th – was particularly important when inspector Jaden Poulin discovered a fragment of suspicious plant material on a boat that was coming from Lake Sebago to Moose Pond. The plant was identified as invasive Milfoil by the LEA staff. All residents of Moose Pond should be incredibly grateful to Jason and all of the other CBIs for the hundreds of hours they put in each year to protect our precious lake.
A big thank you to Jason and all of the other CBIs for their diligence and dedication. The MPA is also grateful to the LEA for their partnership in recruiting/staffing the CBIs and as well as the generosity of Moose Pond Association members who contribute the funds that allow us to pay for this incredibly important program.