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New group forms to fight Moody Pond milfoil

Canada geese stand on a log in Moody Pond, Saranac Lake, in April. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — Eurasian watermilfoil, an aggressive aquatic invasive species, has moved into about 14% of Moody Pond, according to a newly formed group that is seeking help to control it.

“Since the Moody Pond neighborhood is enjoyed and loved by not only those of us who live here, but also a sizable share of individuals and families from the wider community, we’re hopeful that there will be an interest to join us in our mission to ‘preserve and protect Moody Pond and the surrounding neighborhood as a treasured resource for the enjoyment of the Saranac Lake community,'” Heidi Kretser, president of the new Friends of Moody Pond organization, said in a press release.

Friends of Moody Pond says it is “Decidedly not a homeowner’s association, but a community nonprofit.”

The group says quick action is needed if the underwater weed is to be contained. For one, that means spreading the word so people know about the invasion; that includes a website (www.friendsofmoodypond.org) and Facebook page in the pond’s name (www.facebook.com/moody.pond.5).

The other first step is fundraising “to develop and execute a plan to contain the spread and reduce the presence of Eurasian watermilfoil in the pond,” the press release said. The group isn’t yet saying how it might try to do this. Milfoil is notoriously hard to control. Chemicals and hand-harvesting are two methods sometimes used, but they are often unreliable. The Upper Saranac Lake Association has been more successful than many lake organizations at controlling Eurasian watermilfoil, but that requires regular professional harvesting, which is expensive.

The group says plans are afoot to seek grants, organize events, administer donations through its website or by mail (payable to Saranac Rotary Foundation at P.O. Box 1127, Saranac Lake, NY 12983; reference FMP on the check), and accept membership dues of $25 per household. Paying dues makes people eligible “to attend meetings and express their views on issues related to FMP’s mission and objectives,” the press release said.

Moody Pond, named for Saranac Lake’s first settlers, is ringed with houses as well as the Mount Baker trailhead. The road around the pond is one of the most popular places to walk in Saranac Lake. People also fish, swim and canoe there.

The release says that the milfoil, left unchecked “will transform this sparkling treasure of our community to seaweed soup.”

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