Mission: 11 most unwanted

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Research Question

Can we keep Maine's unwanted invasive aquatic plants out of our lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams?

You're invited

Paul, John, Karen (Maine Department of Environmental Protection), and Roberta (Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program) want your help looking for invasive aquatic plants where you swim, fish, paddle, and relax. They want to know where you do not find them (hopefully!), and where you do find them so they can respond quickly.

Local Watersheds In Action

Mission steps

1. Print an invasive species ID card for one of Maine's most unwanted invasive aquatic plants:

    Brazilian waterweed
    Curly leaf pondweed
    European frogbit
    European naiad
    Eurasian watermilfoil
    Fanwort
    Hydrilla
    Parrot feather
    Variable watermilfoil
    Water chestnut
    Yellow floating heart

2. Print a Freshwater Species Survey datasheet

3. Go out and look for the invasive species

4. Add your "found" or "not found" observation through your My Vital Signs page (link at top right)

5. Check out the Lakes Vulnerability Analysis Mission to figure out how your observation fits and what it means

Why this Mission matters

Like no other program, Vital Signs creates a collaborative foundation for students, scientists and resource managers to respond rapidly to new environmental threats to Maine while providing essential experience to the next generation of its citizen scientists.
Paul Gregory, Environmental Specialist, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Straight from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection website:
"The introduction of non-indigenous invasive plant and animal species to the United States has been escalating with widespread destructive consequences. Until now Maine has been spared the worst introductions, but this will not last. Significant habitat disruption, loss of native plant and animal communities, loss of property values, reduced fishing and water recreation opportunities and large public/private expenditures have accompanied invasive plant introductions in all of the lower 48 states except Maine."

Straight from the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program website:
"No matter how comprehensive and aggressive our statewide prevention effort, chances are, some invasive organisms will slip through the cracks. In such cases, it is crucial that the invaders are detected as early as possible, before they have had an opportunity to cause significant damage or to spread to other waterbodies. Early detection provides the best (and sometimes only) hope of eradication. If we truly want to have an effective, statewide early detection system we must act swiftly, vigorously and with unprecedented commitment to the “long haul.” Not only must millions of acres of underwater habitat be screened by trained eyes, these same vast acres must be visited and revisited on a frequent and ongoing basis, indefinitely."

Want to know and do more?

Maine Department of Environmental Protection Map of Waterbodies
Before you head out, see who has looked and what they have found in your lake.

Volunteer with Volunteer Lakes Monitor Program (VLMP)
Do water quality monitoring or be an Invasive Plant Patroller!

VLMP Resources
Dive deeper into aquatic plant identification!

The National Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force
Learn more about aquatic invasive species, what they do, and why we care.

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel
Check out these lists of aquatic species that are invasive to the Northeastern United States.