Shadow Lake Achieves Milfoil-Free Status through Community and DEC Collaboration

A lake in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is now milfoil-free after the invasive plant was eradicated there. Because there has been no sign of Eurasian milfoil there for years, it looks like Shadow Lake in Glover could get off the list of lakes with the invasive species this season. To eradicate the invasive plant, infamous for disturbing native ecosystems and impeding water activity, the Shadow Lake Association partnered with the Department of Environmental Conservation and local volunteers. Divers scoured the lake to locate hot spots. They installed benthic mats along these areas which block sunlight and suffocate the plant. In addition to the mats, the Shadow Lake Association implemented a boat washing station, planted gardens along roads to collect runoff and sent out dive crews to search for and remove milfoil. The efforts worked. Shadow Lake has been milfoil-free since 2017. Eurasian milfoil was identified in Vermont in 1962. Since then, it’s steadily invaded the state’s waterways. According to the DEC, it’s present in approximately 12%– or 103– lakes and ponds today. “Once it’s infested, once it’s rooted and reproducing, it’s very hard, not impossible, but very hard to eradicate,” said Oliver Pierson, the manager of the DEC Lakes and Ponds Program.