Freedom — July 28, 2007 — With the visit of a local diver, the selectmen agreed to spend about $10,000 to remove milfoil from Danforth Bay on Ossipee Lake. The board made the decision after reviewing the total amount available for milfoil removal after more than a year of not doing anything.Selectman’s chairman Les Babb said last year the town did not spend anything to remove milfoil from the lake because there was not enough set aside. At this year’s town meeting, the voters agreed to set more aside, and now there is about $10,000 to spend on such an effort.
Cliff Cabral, a diver with New England Milfoil, has been removing milfoil, an exotic invasive plant species from Ossipee Lake for at least four years now. He has said in the past that manually removing the weeds from the bottom is the best way to keep the plant from coming back, compared to cutting it out. Any part of the milfoil plant once separated from the main part of the plant can regenerate, despite not having any roots. This fact and its easy transport on boat propellers and boat trailers have made invasive milfoil very difficult to eradicate from area lakes.
Last year, officials on Lake Winnepesaukee decided to use a chemical herbicide to remove large patches of milfoil from the lake, which brought some concern for water quality for fish and swimmers. Chemicals were also used in Danforth Bay a few years ago by people hired by the campground owners.
Cabral said he has seen an overall improvement across the lake in general, but the improvements are most obvious on the Ossipee side of the lake. He said he has seen the amount of milfoil decrease by about 50 percent over the last two years in Leavitt Bay. He also considered Portsmouth Cove a success story.
The bottom of the lake there is sandy, whereas the bottom of Danforth Bay is muckier, which means it is a more nutrient-rich area. Also because of the silty soil at the bottom of Danforth Bay, as the divers pull out the plants by the roots, the water becomes cloudy, making the divers move to another area more often.
Cabral has started working with the owners of Danforth Bay Campground already this season to remove more milfoil in their part of the bay. Selectman Donna Cupka asked how many days Cabral would be working for Danforth Bay Campground wondering if the town and the campground could work together.
Babb said the town did well the first year but fell behind last year because of the lack of funding. “People understand we need to keep up on the water quality,” Babb said.
Based on a quote of $1,800 per day, the board agreed to expend $9,850 for milfoil removal, which would also allow for enough money to stay in the account to maintain the account. For this money, Cabral will work 5.5 days for the town to remove milfoil.
Last year, Cabral and his crew removed between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds of plant material a day for the town over a three-day period with a three-person crew.