The Milfoil Committee

Our Objective

One of the principal missions of the Shadow Lake Association is to preserve and protect the healthy ecology of the lake by preventing the introduction of non-native aquatic invasive species, especially Eurasian water milfoil, and if introduced, seeking their eradication. To achieve this objective, the Association has established the Milfoil Committee, whose motto is;

‘Prevent, Protect, Preserve’

Milfoil Committee Mission Statement

The Milfoil Committee is a coalition of volunteers dedicated to preventing the degradation of Shadow Lake water quality and protecting the shoreline habitat from infestations of Eurasian water milfoil and other aquatic invasive species.

Photo credit keepme current.com

Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) (EWM) is a non-native aquatic invasive species (AIS) recognized as one of the leading threats to lake and pond health. Milfoil grows in a variety of depths, sediment types and flowing conditions, reproduces rapidly and spreads prolifically, forming thick underwater mats and dense floating canopies. It clogs the water within the shoreline zone to ruin swimming, boating and other recreational activities while robbing oxygen from fish habitat, choking out beneficial native plants, and contributing to the phosphorous content of the water. The highly negative impact of this weed degrades the lake water quality and inherent beauty of the lake, reduces its economic resources, and lowers land values. The very aggressive nature of this plant makes it extremely difficult to eradicate. Lake managers often can only seek to control it by integrating the most effective economically feasible and environmentally sound methods available. Achieving control is expensive and takes a number of years, requiring a sustained concerted effort on the part of the local government and lake group.

Our Approach

Our purpose is solely to protect the health of Shadow Lake. We seek to contain and control the spread of milfoil by implementing best management practices with the intent of achieving complete control. In full compliance with Vermont state regulatory requirements, we employ an objective management approach in evaluating how best to control each milfoil site discovered, with the least interference with lake activities.

In choosing what actions should be taken at a given site, we assess:

  • location, vigor, size and number of plants,
  • current and potential range of infestation,
  • lake depth, water current,
  • type of substrate condition,
  • sunlight penetration level,
  • recreation accessibility,
  • how brittle the plants are and likelihood of milfoil dispersal

What We Do

  • Collaborate with the Shadow Lake Association’s Board of Directors, the Town of Glover, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Conservation, to maintain an effective lake management plan;
  • Support the summer Boat Wash Program, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Public Access Greeter Program and the Vermont Invasive Patroller Program;
  • Provide educational outreach to Association members and lake boaters on the dangers to Shadow Lake posed by non-native aquatic invasive species;
  • Monitor the entire shoreline throughout the summer season for early detection of invasive species by employing a professional SCUBA diver and trained snorkel volunteers to locate and hand pull plants before they can spread;
  • Provide surface support (boat escort and personnel) to watch over and ensure the safety of our team of divers/snorkelers;
  • Mobilize a rapid response team to identify and contain any invasive species infestation, marking the underwater site with survey tape and placing orange buoys at the lake surface for lake users to avoid recreation near that site in order to minimize water disturbance and prevent further plant spread;
  • Inform lakeshore property owners of the presence of invasive species and the Committee’s control measures;
  • Create and annually update an easily understood lake map to include the historical and current sites on aquatic invasive species infestation;
  • Encourage shoreline property owners to regularly monitor their waterfronts for unusual underwater plant growth and immediately report any suspicious growth;
  • Network with knowledgeable experts for technical advice to help us prevent and defend against the introduction of aquatic invasive species or other emerging environmental issues;
  • Apply for grants for State and Town funding, and for any necessary State environmental permits to strengthen our control program;
  • Purchase and maintain all equipment necessary to operate the control program;
  • Survey the lake to identify and document the native aquatic plant species and assess the areas where significant native plant growth indicates external phosphorous presence;
  • Attend relevant seminars and workshops;
  • Network with other organizations in Vermont to exchange information regarding control programs for aquatic invasive species;
  • Provide updates to the Shadow Lake Association website; design and provide informational signs; procure and distribute educational materials; and circulate flyers when necessary to share information on topics related to aquatic invasive species.

~ In this way, the Milfoil Committee strives to preserve the natural beauty of Shadow Lake, maintain its recreational enjoyment, and enhance the property value of the adjoining land.

imageFor more information about Eurasian watermilfoil, see our Boat Wash page.