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Group to hire divers to pick invasive milfoil at Moody Pond

Steve Sonnenberg collects milfoil from Moody Pond in Saranac Lake. (Photo provided)

SARANAC LAKE — Eurasian watermilfoil is rapidly expanding in Moody Pond, outpacing a new friends group’s efforts to raise money to fight it — so far.

“Two years ago, there wasn’t a fragment on my shoreline,” Steve Sonnenberg said of the invasive aquatic plant. “Today, I filled the front of my canoe with fragments from only my 120 feet.”

The Friends of Moody Pond has developed a plan to hire divers to drape mats over the densest patches of milfoil and to hand-pick the weed elsewhere. Such work is labor intensive and doesn’t come cheap for a grassroots group — it’s expected to cost almost $7,500 for a week’s worth of work by three divers. The friends group hopes to raise $15,000 a year for the next three to five years for this purpose.

Eurasian watermilfoil was first found in Moody Pond in 2018. The friends group was formed in fall 2019. It is currently running a virtual fundraising campaign called “Foil the Milfoil: the Moody Pond Challenge,” which encourages participants to set a donation goal around any activity of their choice. Local businesses and more than 200 individuals have donated so far. The donation website, https://givebutter.com/FriendsOfMoodyPond, shows roughly $8,000 raised online.

Friends of Moody Pond has also organized an online auction featuring donated items and gift certificates, starting Aug. 1. To view the items and participate in the auction, go to https://www.32auctions.com/FoilTheMilfoil2020.

A pile of milfoil sits in front of a sign stating “Save the Pond” along the shore of Moody Pond in Saranac Lake Monday afternoon. The Friends of Moody Pond have a plan to combat this invasive plant. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

On Saturday, Aug. 8, both virtual events culminate with an “Ice Cream Social-distanced Celebration” at 331 Forest Hill Ave. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature three bands — Rustic Riders, High on the Hog and a local bluegrass group — a children’s magic show by Tim Dumas, and ice cream by Stewart’s and Donnelly’s, plus coupons to Mountain Mist Ice Cream. Attendees should stand 6 feet apart and wear masks, eating ice cream as they exit the property. A site plan and parking plan can be found at https://friendsofmoodypond.org.

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