Category Archives: Stewardship

Call To Action: Help Fight Invasive Purple Loosestrife!


Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

For the past 3-4 years I’ve been removing isolated instances of the non-native invasive plant Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) that I have found growing in and around Clary Lake. With the help of a couple of other people we’ve been able to keep this invasive plant at bay, but the situation is getting worse and I’m no longer able to keep on top of this issue without enlisting more help. Clary’s lakeshore residents need to step up to help manage this threat. It really is important that we prevent Purple Loosestrife from gaining a solid foothold around Clary Lake.

This year I’ve seen more Purple Loosestrife growing than ever before. A few weeks ago, Kelsie French and I spent half an hour pulling up plants growing down on the east end of the lake and the other day, some of them growing on the edge of the water, and some in as much as 3 feet of water. I spotted another large plant growing on the edge of the marsh over by Duncan Road the other day but was unable to get to it in my boat. You can see a good sized field of it doing what it does best, spreading uncontrolled in a small field across the road from the Whitefield Post Office. I’ve written about this invasive plant several times in recent years (see “29 July 2018: Have You Seen This Plant? [UPDATED]“). We need to take seriously the threat this invasive plant poses for Clary Lake. Continue reading

Maine Lakes Society’s This Week’s Hero

I blame my father. I’m not one to seek attention but I suppose this is news and if I don’t share it here, no one will 🙂

From the Maine Lakes website’s 50 Lake Heroes for Our 5oth Anniversary post:

George Fergusson, Clary Lake

In 2011, Clary Lake and its Association were in trouble.  A dispute with the owner of the dam controlling the lake level was leading toward seven years of unswimmable, unboatable water and significant environmental damage to the natural resource. Only 28 of 100+ littoral owners were members.  Now in 2019, thanks to the unwavering efforts of George Fergusson, the Association’s long-time Secretary, the CLA has purchased and repaired the dam, the water level has been restored, and 148 (!) members can once again enjoy the benefits of a healthy lake.

George has lived on Clary Lake his entire adult life, and has been its prime steward for decades.  He instigated the 2012 petition to DEP for a Lake Level Order, and then bore the brunt of legal harassment by the dam owner that prevented the Order from being implemented for five years. This included endless hours compiling and drafting documents for court, attending innumerable hearings, and managing fund-raising for legal expenses.  His personal solicitation of new members meant that when the dam fell into bankruptcy, the Association could raise $120,000 for purchase and repair.  George is a certified Water Quality Monitor, and has measured and maintained daily records of the lake level for years, information that was crucial to DEP’s recent approval of CLA’s Water Level Management Plan.  He has been tireless in meeting with town officials, state agency staff, the press, contractors, and attorneys to keep the effort moving forward, and continually encouraged the Board of the CLA even when the quest seemed hopeless and endless.

25 May 2020: Courtesy Boat Inspection Program Under Way

image000000Our 2020 Courtesy Boat Inspection program is underway and our first (long) weekend is behind us. The big surprise was the lack of traffic for Memorial Day weekend! Over three days our volunteers conducted only 24 inspections (we inspect water craft both entering and leaving the lake) many of which were kayaks or paddle boards. Perhaps the sub-zero temperatures this weekend has had something to do with the lack of traffic 😯 

Another surprising thing: many of the motor boats did not have 2020 registrations! The main reason people cited were closed town offices and in most cases they said they’ve registered their boats online but haven’t received the stickers yet. Not particularly surprising was the pile of trash (and a full diaper) that our intrepid volunteers collected and hauled off on Saturday. Good grief. What is wrong with people? Many people use my field in Jefferson to access the lake, and they generally do a pretty good job of keeping it clean and respecting the land. If I found a fraction of this amount of trash on my property I’d close down access in a heartbeat. Why do people think they can treat the State boat launch this way?

Last year we recorded data on paper forms which we scanned and emailed to Midcoast Conservancy who did the data entry for us. This year our inspectors are entering their own data at the boat launch directly into the DEP database using a cool phone app developed for the purpose. This is much much more efficient. The data is immediately available for review on the 2020 Maine Courtesy Boat Inspection Dashboard. Cool technology.

We’ll be conducing  boat inspections at the State boat launch off the North Clary Road from 6 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day and perhaps further into the fall. If you’re out and about stop by and say hello!


2020 Courtesy Boat Inspections: Looking for Volunteers!

Water Chestnut (Trapa natans L)

Water Chestnut (Trapa natans L), one of Maine’s Eleven Most Unwanted Aquatic Plants.

As we gear up for our second season of Courtesy Boat Inspections, everyone who volunteered last year has informed me that they are totally on board for another season which clearly indicates just how much fun they had doing courtesy boat inspections last summer: it really was a lot of fun! However, we very much want more volunteers to join our effort this year to help share the load: summer is a busy time and nobody can be expected to be available every day of every weekend, all summer long. Last year, with just 8 volunteers and 8 two-hour shifts per weekend to cover, some people just weren’t able to take a shift so some of us ended up pulling doubles. With enough volunteers to draw on, nobody should have to take more than one 2 hour shifts per weekend, if that. I very much enjoyed inspecting boats at the boat launch last summer and talking boats and fishing with people, and I look forward to doing it again. Continue reading