Ossipee — October 2, 2012 — Milfoil has finally found its way to the big lake. Confirmation of the infestation at the mouth of the Pine River was made by Amy Smagula, the limnologist who heads the Exotic Species Program for the Department of Environmental Services.
New infestations were also found in Pickerel Cove and Huckins Pond. The Pickerel Cove patch is at the south end of the cove near the stream from Pequawket Bog. Pickerel Cove is at the extreme south end of Broad Bay.
At Huckins Pond, one new population was found to the east after coming out of the river, and a second was found to the north almost into the pond itself. Huckins Pond is north of Danforth Pond.
All four infestations were uncovered by Barre Hellquist, a biologist and long-time lake resident who is a director of Ossipee Lake Alliance. Hellquist and his son have been conducting an environmental inventory of the Ossipee Lake system.
In an email, Hellquist described the big lake infestation as the “most disturbing” of the four findings, saying the invasive was growing with the non-invasive weed Potamogeton vaseyi slightly to the west of the Pine River’s main channel as it enters the lake. Within days, state divers made a site visit and hand-pulled the invasive weeds to clear the area. Smagula said divers will return this fall to remove any weeds that were missed and address any regrowth.
Pickerel Cove also received a state site visit, and officials said much of the milfoil there had regenerated from treatments last year. Since several small to medium sized patches were distributed throughout the shallow cove, the state determined it was too difficult to use divers to remove it, and recommended instead that the area be treated chemically.
Marc Bellaud, the state-approved contractor licensed to conduct such treatments, confirmed that Pickerel Cove was treated in September along with Leavitt Bay infestations at Phillips Brook and the area to the northwest of Loon Island. Danforth Pond is also scheduled for a chemical treatment this fall.
While on the lake this summer, state divers visited Portsmouth Cove and found variable milfoil growth this year was sparse. Only a few plants were visible, and they were shorter in height than in previous years. The divers removed them by hand last month.
Smagula said state divers are scheduled to return to the big lake infestation at Pine River to ensure that there are no remaining weeds at the site. Smagula added that divers also removed a small clump of milfoil in the outlet channel on the western shore just above the Ossipee River dam.