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Milfoil Control


Messalonskee Lake Milfoil Control Program

The Friends of Messalonskee has had an active Milfoil Control program since 2012. FOM works closely with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to develop new techniques for our lake. Below are the different methods we use to fight the battle against Variable Leaf Milfoil. 

  • Diver Assisted Suction Harvester (DASH): Our DASH boat equips our dive crew with the tools needed to manually suction the plant and root ball in large patches of milfoil. The divers carefully dig up the roots and feed the entire plant into the system where it then is collected into mesh onion bags. We use this system for pre barrier laying and for areas where barriers are not suitable, like high traffic areas. 

  • Burlap Benthic Barriers: Unlike traditional black plastic barriers, burlap biodegrades over time ( about three years) and requires much less effort to deploy. We use construction grade burlap in 150' rolls for large patches of milfoil with rebar placed every ten feet. In 2016, we deployed our first large scale burlap project in three areas of the lake. In two of the areas- Loon Cove in Belgrade and the Oakland Basin, the burlap held strong. We extended the burlap coverage in these areas in 2017. 

  • Plastic Benthic Barriers: Plastic benthic barriers work in areas that are shallow with high boat traffic, such as for fishing. Rebar is ziptied within the plastic and holes drilled for gas release. These barriers need to be moved every 60-90 days per DEP regulation. 

  • Surveying: FOM spends time each season to survey new areas that have high potential risk of becoming infested. Because the lake is so large, our dive crew can only do a different portion of the lake each year. We rely on lake users and home owners to notify us of any new potential infestation. 

Constant grant writing, membership dues, state and town funding, and special donations make this work possible. Some areas of the lake that we have visited for years are now eradicated and other areas are under control. Milfoil will keep coming back and our efforts will continue in order to provide a safe and fun lake experience for future generations. 

If you have questions, please contact us! We are happy to visit your dock to identify plants. 

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