Ossipee — February 3, 2005 — Ossipee’s Selectmen have agreed to accept the State’s offer to split the cost of a program in which invasive variable milfoil will be hand-pulled from Leavitt Bay and Phillips Brook by professional divers this spring.
At their meeting on Monday, the Board voted to allocate $5,000 from the Town’s milfoil fund to match the Department of Environmental Services’ offer of $5,000 toward the program’s $10,000 cost. The Town’s milfoil fund was approved by voters last March. Freedom and Effingham have similar funds which officials may use at their discretion to control milfoil, which has infested lakes around the State and threatens the quality of recreation and property values.
Ossipee Lake Alliance applied for the State funds in November as part of the annual application process in which lake associations and their respective community officials compete for a portion of the State’s limited milfoil control budget. This year, 23 lake associations made requests totaling $185,000 for the State’s $60,000 control budget for 2005.
The Leavitt Bay program will be the State’s first formal pilot program to assess the effectiveness of using professionals to hand-pull milfoil as an alternative to using chemicals, which is the most common method of control. The Alliance will help manage the program with State and Town officials, and the results will help guide future decisions by the State and lake communities on when and how divers can be the most effective control method.
Last year the Alliance partnered with the Town of Freedom to remove 10,000 pounds of milfoil from heavily infested Danforth Pond. That program was funded locally due to the lack of State funds. Danforth Pond has been infested for a decade and has been treated several times in the past with chemicals, including State-funded treatments. While milfoil can be controlled, it cannot be eradicated, which means long-term control programs must be developed and implemented.
While Danforth Pond is not part of the new State pilot program, the results from that effort will be reviewed as part of DES’ overall assessment of the use of divers. Divers will return to Danforth Pond this spring to monitor the results of last fall’s clean-out and to check for re-infestations.