The Lake Fairlee Association has had variable success dealing with the invasive Eurasian milfoil that has invaded our lake and many others around the region. We do other things as well – we promote safe boating practices and encourage shoreline planting that is best for the health of our lake. And we continue to build community and provide social opportunities around the lake — as we did 20 and 40 and 60 years ago, long before the advent of the milfoil.
In 2010 we successfully treated all of the affected areas of the lake with the herbicide triclopyr. Within weeks 99% of the milfoil was rotting on the bottom of the lake. Unfortunately the herbicide only kills the milfoil that extends into the water column; the extensive root system persists. Also the small fraction that survived can reproduce by seeding, propagation, or fragmentation. And new milfoil can be introduced by transient boaters or even waterfowl.
Management of milfoil is heavily regulated by the State. That is not a complaint, as we are in favor of strict controls of what goes in the lake, particularly of herbicides. But it means that politics and bureaucracy are involved at every turn in our attempts to control the weed. Milfoil again affects significant portions of the lake, but we will not be treating it with herbicide this year. We will negotiate with the State and attempt to duplicate our 2010 success in 2015.