Courtesy Boat Inspection Program

HYDRILLA (Hydrilla verticillata)

With the State boat launch back in service, our concerns rightly have turned to protecting Clary Lake from the chance introduction of invasive aquatic plant species. To that end, the Clary Lake Association is now participating in the State of Maine’s Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program. While there are various ways invasive plants can make it into lakes, by far the most common transport mechanism is on boats and trailers. Sadly, there are a number of lakes in the State with an invasive aquatic plant problem including several nearby lakes. The goal will be to have enough people lined up and trained so that the boat launch can be covered during the weekends to inspect boats and trailers before they they put in the lake, to make sure there are no invasive plants hitching a ride.

From the Midcoast Conservancy website:

What do courtesy boat inspectors do? The program is really an educational one. As boaters launch and remove their boats from the water, CBIs will discuss with boaters how invasive aquatic plants spread, show how to inspect boats and equipment for plant fragments, urge boaters to inspect before and after every launch, distribute information about invasive plants, and articulate Maine law regarding the transport of these plants.

At the time of this writing, we have just concluded our first CBI season, and the overall stats for our CBI activities this past summer are impressive: We started inspections on Saturday July 6th and concluded them on Sunday September 29th representing a total of 85 individual 2-hour shifts. Most CBI programs around the State wrapped up their activities after Labor Day, but we saw no fall off in boat traffic by the end of August and we therefore felt justified in extending our inspections through the month of September. All told CLA volunteers spent 173.8 hours at the State boat launch and made a total of 270 inspections. 4 plants were found, none of which were determined to be invasive.

Here’s a link to the 2019 State-wide CBI data compiled by DEP. It’s worth spending some time looking it over, there’s a lot of information here including individual inspection details and shift details. Click on “Clary Lake Association” in the “Organization” panel on the left side to see the details for our program:

This past summer we’ve been working under the auspices of the Midcoast Conservancy, and they’ve handled all the administrative details associated with our participation in the State’s CBI program. Next year however we’re going to be on our own. This coming winter we’ll be looking into the requirements for running our own CBI program so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running next spring. We’ll be looking for more volunteers and would like to both expand our inspections to include week days, and extended hours (it was a rare morning when I arrived at the boat launch at 7 am and found the parking lot empty!). If you are interested in getting involved in this fun and important program, contact George Fergusson.