On June 15th, several fragments of Curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) were removed from a boat about to enter Salmon Lake. The plants were intercepted by Doug McCafferty, owner of Whisperwood Camps on Salmon Lake in Belgrade. Doug inspects all boats going into and coming out of his launch, and it is a good thing he does!
Curly-leaf pondweed (CLP) is native to Europe & Asia, but is highly invasive throughout the United States and much of Canada. CLP is currently known to be in two lakes in Maine (Legion Pond in Kittery and West Pond in Parsonsfield), but is known from several water bodies throughout New England and further south. CLP is adapted to grow in cool conditions, sprouts from rhizomes and turions in the fall, grows through the winter, and reaches maturity late spring through early summer. Once the plants reach maturity, they re- lease seeds and turions which sink to the bottom of the lake where they stay dormant until the water begins to cool in the fall. CLP can form dense mats of plants and is very difficult to remove once established. CLP can be distinguished from our native pondweeds by the ruffled, finely serrated leaves (see picture above).
Thank you to Doug McCafferty for your important save and thank you for inspecting boats at Whisperwood Camps! Prevention is key to winning the battle against invasive aquatic plants. If you see a Courtesy Boat Inspector at the boat launch, thank them and let them know how important their work is for protecting our lakes.