A Brief History

The Beginning

Pleasant Lake/Parker Pond Association began in the 1960s when Dr. Joel Bloom, an educator from New York who had grown up on Pleasant Lake, established the Pleasant Lake Association to deal with a serious problem of receding water level. With the help of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries, better control of the dam soon remedied this problem. In the 1970s Association changed its name to the Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond Association.

Milfoil Alert

In 1998 Dr. Bloom became the Association’s president when he moved permanently to Maine and the prior president retired. He heard a rumor that there was Variable Water-Milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) growing and expanding in Lily Brook, the passageway between Parker Pond and Pleasant Lake. At this time most residents of the area had not heard about the hazards of milfoil.

Dr. Bloom promptly hired Scott Williams, an expert in aquatic plants, to survey Lily Brook, Pleasant Lake, and Parker Pond. He found no milfoil in either lake, but found a great deal of it in Lily Brook that was expanding rapidly. Dr. Bloom informed Casco and Otisfield selectmen that the Association would immediately begin milfoil removal, and received removal permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The first step was to obtain Casco’s approval to install galvanized screens at both ends of the passageway to prevent milfoil fragments from spreading into Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond. Casco approved a six-month trial installation, and the Association purchased and installed screen at both the north and south ends of Lily Brook.

Benthic Barriers

Fred Cummings researched the use of benthic barriers to kill small patches of milfoil. Installing the barriers for 10 to 12 weeks prevents sunlight from reaching the milfoil, thus killing it. Removing the barriers allows native underwater plants to regrow. The Association followed Mr. Cummings’ suggestions in a six-year crusade to eliminate the Lily Brook milfoil. In fall 2001 volunteers placed four 10′ x 12′ benthic barriers over milfoil in the northern part of Lily Brook, using sandbags to hold them in place. Unfortunately, the sandbags did not work. The following summer volunteers installed ten barriers, hiring a scuba diver, Jim Chandler, to secure them systematically with rebar and record their location and installation date. This installation worked. Underwater photography verified the barrier’s successful eradication of the milfoil. Ultimately the Association installed 60 benthic barriers, eliminating milfoil from Lily Brook and proving the barriers’ effectiveness for milfoil control. Almost every lake association now uses this method to remediate milfoil infestations.

Courtesy Boat Inspection

The Association persuaded both Casco and Otisfield to allow it to hire and train inspectors to inspect boats for milfoil before they are launched. Funding from both towns, the Maine DEP, and the Association enabled implementation of the Courtesy Boat Inspector (CBI) Program at the respective Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond boat launches in Casco.  Through frequent articles in local newspapers and position papers presented at Town Meetings, the Association has educated decision makers, lake users, local residents, and the public generally about the need to control the spread of invasive aquatic plants.

Good Work Recognized

At a recent seminar, the Association was presented an award for outstanding proof of successful, permanent killing of Variable Water-Milfoil in the passageway between our two lakes. Credit belongs to the following volunteers whose hard work helped to make this possible: Dennis Bergeron, Elaine Cummings, Fred Cummings, Louise Henderson, Brian Hughes, Steve Jordan, Bob MacGregor, Trevor Tidd, Lew Wetzel, and Pixie Williams. Most of all, credit belongs to Dr. Joel Bloom, for spearheading the Association’s milfoil project.