The ongoing battle being fought against invasive plant species as well as the increased scrutiny on lakeside erosion runoff has gone a long way in keeping our beautiful lakes and ponds clean, clear, and milfoil-free. But the battle being waged is one that will probably never be won.
Those who fight this battle in the most direct sense are, at best, hoping for a draw and know that only willpower and persistence will hold the line against degraded water quality and milfoil infestation.
The quality of the water in area lakes and ponds is significantly impacted by the amount of erosion control going on around its perimeter. Soil erosion that runs off into a lake or pond adds the nutrient phosphorus to the water which acts as a natural fertilizer in the water and encourages algae growth. Algae blooms on warm summer days are not dangerous, but they do affect the quality and clarity of the water. Anything that can be done by lakefront landowners to divert water runoff away from the lake and into vegetated areas is the primary and first line of defense against phosphorus runoff.
There are many ongoing efforts by lake association volunteers to monitor the condition of private roads and driveways to lakefront properties to make sure storm water runoff is being diverted in an appropriate manner. In some cases, there is even local money available to repair poorly designed roads so that water runoff is handled more effectively.
If you're a lakefront property owner, check to see where water on your property is going and contact your local lake association to find out what you can do to be a good steward of the lake.
As far as milfoil is concerned, the challenge is big and ongoing. It seems that progress is being made in finding effective ways to remove it, but for every place there has been success, there are others that show new growth or just can't be addressed because of lack of manpower or money or both.
Again, grassroots action has gone a long way to holding the line against milfoil infestation and the local Lakes Environmental Association has played a major role in developing and implementing effective techniques to get rid of the stuff. But more has to be done.
Here is an article that reports on the recent 10th annual milfoil summit held recently in Lewiston: Summit's Focus: Containing, Waging War on Invasive, Destructive Milfoil.
Here are links to two YouTube film clips that talk about the local efforts in the Sebago Lake area in dealing with the milfoil problem.