EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 30, 2013

Annual milfoil battle has begun

Annual battle against milfoil begins anew

Milfoil long has been a problem in many local ponds and lakes.

Officials and volunteers are getting ready for yet another year of fighting the aquatic nuisance plants.

“It can overtake the pond,” said Bob Lumnah, president of the Powwow Pond Council in Kingston. “It can choke out the other plants and remove oxygen from the water.”

Much attention is paid to milfoil during the year because of the destruction it can cause. The plant can damage the water quality and also kill wildlife.

Milfoil is thick and can clog the water, causing swimmers and boats to become tangled up in the weeds.

Lumnah said his group will once again be trying to remove the plant from the pond this year.

In Kingston, the process will start this week. Amy Smagula, coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Services exotic species program, will be visiting the pond to begin to map the plant’s growth.

“The spring is a crucial time,” Smagula said. “Since milfoil is an evergreen, it doesn’t have competition from other plants during this growing season. So right now, it starts to get a foothold.”

Smagula said 79 bodies of water in the state are infested with the plant. She hopes to visit as many as possible to figure out the best methods to fight the invasion.

“Early detection is important,” Smagula said. “If you find it early, it can be eradicated. It becomes a lot more difficult if it spreads more.”

At Beaver Lake in Derry, a team of volunteers makes it a point to be on the lookout for any possible signs of milfoil to prevent an outbreak.

“We haven’t had it here,” said Paula Frank, president of the Beaver Lake Improvement Association. “We invest a lot in being proactive and put a lot of membership money in making sure we don’t have any in the lake.”

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