Great strides have been made in reducing Eurasian milfoil in 32-mile-long Lake George, according to a new report from the Lake George Park Commission.
“Since its discovery in Lake George more than 85 percent of milfoil sites in the lake have been cleared and plans are in the works for a final push to eradicate the invasive species,” says the report released this week by the Park Commission.
Dave Wick, the commission’s executive director, said the battle against milfoil has been made possible with money from the State Environmental Protection Fund, including more than $130,000 since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office. An equal amount of funding came from The Fund for Lake George, a nonprofit organization.
“The bottom line is that we’ve made significant headway in controlling milfoil in Lake George and with continued effort and funding we will be poised to finally get this invasive plant nearly eradicated in a few short years,” said commission Chairman Bruce Young in a statement.
Young cautioned that the commission and its partners must remain vigilant on the milfoil issue because “any lapse in effort will only allow this threat to come roaring back.”
Plans for the 2013 milfoil control program include $65,000 in funding to the Lake George Park Commission from the 2013 state Environmental Protection Fund and another $70,000 from the state Department of State through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Grant program.
Milfoil was first discovered in Lake George in 1985 and has been managed in a variety of ways since then.
Wicks said in a commission statement that it is unlikely milfoil will ever be completely eliminated, but if the funding and efforts seen over the past few years continue into the future, milfoil can be reduced to levels “not seen in decades.”
The commission says there are currently 200 known sites on Lake George that contain some level of milfoil. These sites range from just a few plants to dense beds approaching the size of a football field.
Milfoil can clog boating lanes and makes swimming and fishing very difficult because of the aquatic plant’s thick, matting nature.
The methods of eliminating milfoil on Lake George include hand harvesting and “benthic mats,” which smother the plants in areas where growth is dense.
“The town of Bolton has one of the most active boating communities on the lake and I’ve heard many positive comments about the reduction of milfoil beds over the past few years,” said Bolton town Supervisor Ron Conover in a statement.
The commission’s full 2012 Eurasian Milfoil Management Report is posted at www.lgpc.state.ny.us.