Invasive Species Defense Fund

The Milfoil is Coming, The Milfoil is Coming

The threat of an invasion of Variable Milfoil or another invasive species is frightening.  The Directors of GELIA and our committed members are doing everything possible to avoid this catastrophe.  We have a very strong Weed Watcher’s Program with about 50 detectives, have applied for and received grants to staff the boat launch with Lake Hosts since 2002 and are monitoring any legislation involving the preservation of our lake.

However, none of this can guarantee that we will be spared. In 2006, one variable-leaf milfoil plant was found within 100 yards of the boat launch on Great East.  The plant was pulled and no new plants have been found, so we are hopeful that we won’t have another occurrence.  But with both Belleau Lake and Balch Pond, right here in our neighborhood, infested with milfoil, we remain concerned.  While the states and towns are willing to help with remediation they cannot cover the costs of acting quickly and completely enough to contain the weeds. ONCE IT TAKES HOLD IN A WATERBODY, MILFOIL CANNOT BE ERADICATED, ONLY CONTROLLED.  THE EXPENSE OF THIS CONTROL IS ASTRONOMICAL AND NOT DOING IT WOULD BE DISASTROUS.  STUDIES SHOW THAT A MILFOIL INFESTATION CAN REDUCE A PROPERTY VALUE BY AS MUCH AS 15%!  Certainly none of us are willing to risk that, not to mention that our lake would be unswimable, unboatable and generally unpleasant.

In view of the current situation, the GELIA Board of Directors voted in 2003 to establish a new fund designated strictly for the treatment and control of an invasive species infestation, should an outbreak occur.  We are asking you for a separate donation, apart from your annual dues, to fund this program.  We have no immediate plans to use the funds but want to be prepared to act instantly in the event of a problem.


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About the Watershed Survey

 We are pleased to announce that the Great East Lake 2021 Watershed Report is finished and
available as a PDF link below. Many thanks to Jon Balanoff, the AWWA Executive Director, for
his perseverance in seeing the project through to this point.
We all know that our lake is very clear and clean, but the challenge before us is to keep it that
way for future generations. The survey identified many sites throughout the watershed that
threaten its present condition. Here is a quick summary of the findings:

           -25 sites were identified as having a high impact on water quality
           -97 sites were identified with medium impact
           -101 sites were identified with low impact

Of these 200+ sites, about half of them require no-cost or low-cost remediation. The other half
are more involved, more technically challenging, and will have a greater expense associated with
them. Please keep in mind that AWWA’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is available to assist
with remediation projects and property owners need only pay the cost for materials, not labor.

Letters and emails have been sent to all participating members informing them if erosion issues
were found on their property or not. If issues were found, members were provided with details
of the findings and suggested remediation methods.

If you do not receive a letter or email and would like to inquire about findings on your property
you can send your request to either the GELIA Watershed Committee email or the AWWA email
address listed below to request that information. Please provide your name, the property
owner’s name and the property address in your request.

We urge all property owners to read the report as it’s filled with useful information, helpful
remediation options and best practices for all kinds of issues. We also want to stress the
importance of addressing issues promptly should any be identified on your property.
Thank you again to all those who assisted with this survey and thanks to everyone for helping to
keep our lake as clean, clear and beautiful as we possibly can.