Did you know… a single fragment of Eurasian watermilfoil can multiply into 250 million new plants in one year!

Invasive Species: Invasive species can be plants, animals, insects or organisims that are accidentally or intentionally introduced into a habitat that cause harm to the environment or health. The rate and risk of invasives over the years is increasing due to human population growth, environmental alteration, movement of people and equipment. One of the greatest risks we face on Schroon Lake/River are “hitchhikers”, invasive aquatic plants and organisms that are on a boat when it launches.  Once established, invasives can quickly become widespread due to lack of natural control and high reproductive ability.

Invasive species not only negatively impact the look and enjoyment of our waters but also the way it functions. Infestations degrade habitat, diminish count and variety of fish and wildlife, even creating a toxic environment.  ESSLA’s mission, in a cooperative effort with state and local agencies, is to protect the Schroon Lake/River region from the negative impacts of non-native invasive species.  Our programs provide surveillance, harvesting, education and boat washing stations to achieve these goals.

Photo courtesy of: Alison Fox, University of Florida, Bugwood.org

Photo courtesy of: Alison Fox, University of Florida, Bugwood.org

Eurasian watermilfoil

is a submerged perennial grass that can reach heights of 20 feet. Plant fragments easily break off and can be transported from lake to lake via boats and trailers, starting new populations, degrading habitat and reducing recreational access. Once established, it spreads easily, grows quickly and is difficult to remove. The densely growing grass entangles boat propellers, interferes with swimming and fishing and negatively impacts the natural aquatic habitat. ESSLA utilizes physical harvesting by professionals to manage milfoil infestations.

How do you tell the difference between good milfoil and bad milfoil? Here’s how…

Northern Watermilfoil

(Myriophyllum sibericum) – Beneficial native offers shade, shelter and foraging opportunities for fish

  • Usually 7-10 leaflet pairs per leaf
  • Leaflets are widely spaced
  • Leaves are rigid around stem when out of water
  • Green stem that does not branch near surface

Eurasian watermilfoil

(Myriophyllum spicatum) – Harmful Invasive forms dense mats near surface that entangle boat propellers and interfere with swimming

  • Usually 12-21 leaflet pairs per leaf
  • Leaflets are closely spaced
  • Leaves collapse around stem when out of water
  • Reddish stem that branches near surface