Paradox Eurasian milfoil was first discovered in Paradox Lake by Lake Manager Steve LaMere of Adirondack Ecologists in 2008, and the Paradox Lake Association has been very aggressive in its efforts to control this invasive plant since then.
The first sighting was next to the state boat launch, so the PLA started a lake steward program in 2010 to educate boaters about cleaning their boats and not carrying any further invasives into the lake.
Scott Ralls of Southwoods Camp has donated two full-time stewards to monitor the boat launch site for 40 hours a week, with many volunteers from the PLA taking turns covering early morning hours and days off.
To date, these stewards have stopped boats carrying water chestnut, milfoil and zebra mussels to prevent any more infestation of the lake and educated hundreds of people about the threat of invasives.
With the help of hand harvesting by LaMere, and the many volunteers who spot and mark milfoil, these efforts have proven effective over the last three years, according to Gretchen Sunderland of the PLA. In many of the areas where he has hand-harvested, LaMere and the PLA have noticed little or no return of milfoil in these sites.
However, last summer, it was apparent that milfoil was spreading to sites not previously infested, so LaMere, Emory Dergosits and Doug Hamilton donned their scuba gear and searched for plants that were not ordinarily sighted from the lake surface. As LaMere suspected, the spread of milfoil was coming from plants 10 – 12 feet below the surface, which the divers quickly harvested.
This summer, LaMere will lead volunteer divers into other areas he suspects may have milfoil and will harvest these sites before they have a chance to spread.
“Will Paradox Lake ever be completely free of eurasian milfoil?,” Sunderland asked. “No. But with the supervision of our lake manager and the dedication of many volunteers, we are managing the problem successfully.”