JOIN Manchaug Pond Foundation's Aquatic Plant Survey Team
What's growing in Manchaug Pond? Our survey team has found a diverse ecosystem of plants making for important spawning areas for lake fisheries, food for ducks and other wildlife, and more. The MPF has trained* volunteers like you - all ages - to be citizen scientists who learn more about our lake and what is unique about Manchaug Pond. We work as a team going out annually in two 2 1/2 hour sessions to survey Manchaug Pond in a 50 point grid identifying all submerged aquatic plants captured, monitoring existing plant varieties, tracking size of weed bed growth, watchful for new invasives, and following up in kayak and snorkel! We want you to join us in our important work keeping current invasive species in check and preventing new ones from getting established.
*Training: Special thanks to DCR Lakes and Ponds Program's Tom Flannery and Jim Straub as well as the former Lycott Environmental for initial training sessions. Current volunteers receive hands-on instruction in action as part of the team.
Be a Weed Watcher...
Plants, both submerged and around the shoreline, are a vital part of the lake ecosystem.
The mission of our Aquatic Plant Survey Team is to be on the lookout for new invasives before they take hold, monitor the success of our yearly winter drawdown in keeping current invasive Fanwort, Variable Milfoil, and Asian Clam in check, and monitoring the wonder and diversity of plant species.
Early detection and removal is the key!
If we all monitor the pond, we can remove new invasives before they become established at the boat ramp, dock, campsites, roadsides and along the shore and in the water. Our team successfully eradicated Purple Loosestrife from the northwest shoreline by handpulling new plants as they came in.
If you see an invasive...
- pull or cut it out
- bag it
- and dispose of it away from the lake
- note the location where you found it and contact the MPF Aquatic Plant Survey Team
"On a global basis...the two great destroyers of biodiversity are, first, habitat destruction, and second, invasion by exotic species..." E.O. Wilson, Strangers in Paradise, 1997
"The presence of a non-native wetland or semi-terrestrial macrophyte(s) (e.g., Phragmites sp., Lythrum salicaria) is not usually considered an impairment of the Aquatic Life Use unless they have eliminated the open water area of the waterbody."MassDEP Division of Watershed Management
Invasives ~ Know the lake's enemy!
What are invasive species?
Our lakes and ponds contain a wide variety of native plants and animals that are essential to a healthy ecosystem. These native species originated here in New England and are well adapted to our climate and to other species that live here. However, many "non-native" or "exotic" species have been brought here from other parts of the country and the world for use in aquariums and in home landscapes. Some of these species are considered "invasive" because they are able to dominate or significantly alter an area's ecology. Once established, they continue to spread to additional locations by hitching rides on boats, trailers, gear, and in bait buckets.
When invasive species enter a water body, they can have a devastating impact. Since the local ecosystems has not developed natural controls (animals or other plants to limit their growth) invasive species may spread rapidly.
Why are they harmful?
- Many invasive plants form dense mats of vegetation that can restrict boating, fishing, and swimming, and make the waterways entirely impassable.
- Many native plants and animals cannot compete for space or food with exotic species, and are crowded out or eliminated from the area.
- The aesthetic appeal, recreational value, and surrounding property values may quickly decline as the invasives species take over.
- The microscopic larval stage of Zebra Mussel and Asian Clam can easily travel undetected in bilge bait and livewell water. They can proliferate at an alarming rate and frequently destroy boat motors, buoys, and fishing gear. Their razor sharp shells often create a hazard for beach visitors.
- Once invasive plants and animals are established, they are almost impossible to eradicate.
How can you help? Know that your activities make a difference!
Your activities matter: at home, at the campground, at the lake, on the water, or living in the watershed:
Before you visit:
- Clean your boats before bringing to the lake. Remove all plants and animals from your boat motor, trailer, anchors, fishing gear, and dive gear and dispose of them on dry land, well away from the water or in a trash can.
- Flush engines and dispose of live-well, bait bucket, and cooling water away from the shore after each use.
- Never release any plant or animal into a body of water unless it came out of that body of water.
- Never empty aquariums into a water-body.
- Inspect and wash your boat, preferably with hot water, and allow it to completely dry before entering another body of water.
- Be a weed watcher while you're at the lake and/or join the MPF's survey teams.
Information courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Lakes and Ponds Program
At the lake, home or campsite, on the water, and in the watershed:
- Clean your boats before bringing to the lake.
- Avoid weedy coves! Your propeller captures and brings back plant fragments to your dock where they drop and root.
- Remove floating weed fragments from lake or that wash up on the beach/shore - dry and burn or compost or bag and dispose.
- Fertilize your lawn not the lake or impervious surfaces! Runoff from your landscape will fertilize lake plants causing them to grow. Leave a buffer unfertilized between the lawn and the lake, don't fertilize before a rain storm, use half the recommended amount, and only no phosphorus formulations (middle number should be zero)
- Don't bring in sand to your beach or shore front! - A rocky shore inhibits plant growth.
- Pet waste is a source of bacteria and fertilizer: remove, bag and dispose or bury away from the lake shore.
Think prevention, control, and eradication!
The Most UNWanted!
If you see, contact us ASAP so the Weed Watcher teams can respond right away! Click the photo for a link to learn more about each non-native invasive.
Established Invaders we need to keep in check!
Yellow Flag Iris
Watch for Winter Lake-level Drawdown
While an annual winter drawdown of the Manchaug Pond's water-level is employed for flood control reasons, in 1990 we requested the timing be adjusted for the control of exotic invasive species in mind: keeping Fanwort and Variable Milfoil plants, and Asian clam populations at the boat ramp in check. The Manchaug Pond Foundation advocates for this no-cost, effective method of weed control with the lake's dam owner. With a shallow shoreline of less than five feet, drawdown offers a good knock down of invasives at beaches and docks.
Control is dependent on depth of drawdown and winter weather which contributes to the freezing and drying of shoreline soils. Snow cover and lack of freezing temperatures can impede to the process. Visit our Waterlevel & Dam page for details.
Learn More & Get Involved:
Click each to learn more! Contact us to observe a team in action:
- Aquatic Plant Survey Team (2 1/2 hour session, two afternoons in August)
- D.A.S.H Team/Boat for Manchaug Pond (in the planning stages-boat and volunteers needed)
- Water Sampling & Testing
- On-Lake (once/month May-October)
- Watershed (second Saturday morning of the month April-November)
- Manchaug Pond Foundation Laboratory and Stream Team (New this season!)