Thursday, June 25, 2009

Milfoil Discovered in Lake Placid

The Board of Trustees of the Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association (LPSOA) today reported that a strain or strains of milfoil have been discovered at three sites on Lake Placid. Over the past week, two separate samples were removed from Paradox Bay and one from East Lake. Biologists working with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) have tentatively identified two of the samples as Variable Leaf Milfoil (VLM).

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension describes Variable Leaf Milfoil as “an aggressive aquatic plant that can form dense mats that congest waterways and crowd out native aquatic plants. Thick growth of this plant can impair recreational uses of waterways including boating, swimming and fishing. Dense growth of variable-leaf milfoil degrades the native habitat of fish and other wildlife, and may also provide breeding areas for mosquitoes. The main method of dispersal of this plant appears to be fragmentation. Plant fragments are moved around by people, animals and water currents.”

APIPP has not yet listed VLM as an aquatic invasive species, but has placed it on an invasives watch list. Locally, VLM is the dominant milfoil growth on Lake Flower in the Village of Saranac Lake, and is found on Long, and Raquette Lakes among others.

Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association President Mark Wilson released the following statement:

“The discovery of this potentially aggressive plant in our waters marks a significant moment in the natural history of Placid Lake, as well as a turning point for the broader Lake Placid/North Elba community and communities throughout the region. The threat posed by invasive organisms to our environment, and ultimately to the economic livelihood of our region is serious and advancing. The Village of Lake Placid, Town of North Elba, Shore Owner’s Association, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and other state and local agencies need to act quickly to contain any existing colonies of VLM and work to prevent any further introduction of aggressive aquatic plants into our lake.

“State agencies, local governments and private boat launch owners throughout the northern Adirondacks must take responsibility for preventing the export of invasive or nuisance aquatic organisms by boats and trailers leaving their launch sites.”

On Friday, June 26 and Sunday, June 28, APIPP personnel and LPSOA volunteers will be mapping outbreak locations on Paradox Bay and on East Lake in the vicinity of the Lake Placid Marina and the adjacent DEC boat launch site. Boaters operating in these areas are urged to do so with utmost caution and to avoid driving through any aquatic weed patch visible beneath the lake surface.

Facts about Lake Placid:

•Lake Placid is a 2000 acre natural basin lake located in northern Essex County New York.

•At an elevation of 1,857 feet Lake Placid is the state’s highest residential lake.

•Lake Placid’s water has the highest water quality rating (AA-special) and is the water supply for the Village of Lake Placid and Town of North Elba and many of the over 200 shoreline camps.

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Mark Wilson's editorial cartoons - under the pen name MARQUIL - appear in newspapers and online across New York State. He also provides editorial illustrations and occasional commentary pieces for The Sunday Gazette of Schenectady and regularly chimes in here at the Almanack, particularly at election time and during the annual Adirondack Bracket. Mark lives in Saranac Lake.

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