Questions and Answers
Brant Lake Milfoil Control Program

Q: What is Milfoil?

A:  Milfoil, formally known as Eurasian Water Milfoil, is a non-native, aggressive, and submersed aquatic plant that spreads and grows at a rate much faster than our native aquatic plants.  Milfoil spreads mainly by shoots, runners, and broken plant fragments.  The stems are usually 3 to 10 feet in length and they have bright green feathery leaves.  In a relatively short amount of time, milfoil takes root and forms dense milfoil beds.


Q: How does Milfoil find its way into Brant Lake?

A:  Fragments of milfoil are often left on boats, boat trailers, and fishing equipment that has been used in lakes and waterways containing milfoil.  Broken plant fragments root very quickly and as stated above, milfoil grows at a rate much faster than our native aquatic plants.


Q:  What are we doing to prevent fragments of milfoil from entering and leaving our lake?

A:  Doug Paton, President of the Brant Lake Association will be approaching Ralph Bentley, Horicon Town Supervisor, with a request to hire a “steward” at the town boat launch.  The steward would be responsible for checking incoming and outgoing watercraft and fishing equipment for fragments of milfoil.  Together with the owners of the vehicles, they would remove and properly discard the “culprits”. 


Q:  Why do we need to control Milfoil in Brant Lake?

A:  If milfoil growth is not managed and controlled, it will literally “choke” Brant Lake by depleting the lake of native plant and animal life.  Simply put, milfoil grows much faster and thus, “crowds out” native aquatic plants, the primary food source for our fish.  While milfoil beds may provide shelter for our fish, it is not a food source.  If we don’t manage and control the growth of milfoil, underwater beds of tangled stems and vast areas of milfoil vegetation will form at the water’s surface. These dense beds cause a loss of plant diversity and degrade the quality of our water.  A proliferation of milfoil in Brant Lake will dramatically reduce the number of fish and animal life in our lake.

To date, we have identified over 20 dense milfoil beds in Brant Lake.  Without significant efforts to rid and control the growth of milfoil, many more beds will be formed, recreational usage will be severely limited, and property values will decline.


Q:  How do we control and manage the growth of Milfoil in Brant Lake?

A:Because Brant Lake is located within the Adirondack Park (Park) our options to control Milfoil are limited.   Currently, the Adirondack Park Agency has not approved the use of herbicides to control milfoil.  Their lack of approval is based on their concern and belief that herbicides will have residual and negative effects on our native aquatic plant and animal life and the quality of our water.  After much research and best practices sharing with other lake communities within the Park, we have concluded that hand harvesting and lake bottom matting is the most viable and cost effective method to attack dense milfoil beds and control future growth.

During 2008, dedicated teams of volunteers focused on hand harvesting and placing weighted mats in three of the largest areas of dense milfoil beds.  The milfoil in these very dense beds had reached the surface of the lake and they were located in areas with very heavy boat traffic. When boat motors make contact with the milfoil, fragmentation occurs.  Fragmentation is responsible for spreading the milfoil throughout the lake.


Q:  I understand that we have contracted with Aquatic Invasive Management to assist with the Milfoil Control Program.  What can you tell me about this organization and how were they chosen?

A: Once we realized the extent of the milfoil invasion in Brant Lake, we realized that we could not win the battle without the help of experienced professionals. 

Aquatic Invasive Management (AIM) was formed by Andrew Lewis and Tommy Thomson, alumni of the Paul Smith’s College of Natural Resources.  They were selected by the members of the Brant Lake Association’s Milfoil Committee. The Brant Lake Association first contracted with AIM in the fall of 2008.  Prior to selecting AIM, members of the Milfoil Committee searched the internet, consulted with the Adirondack Park Council, and networked with milfoil committees from Loon Lake, Schroon Lake, and Saranac Lake.  The committee in Saranac Lake was the most experienced at milfoil control and several years ago, they chose AIM to assist them with their efforts.  The AIM organization has extensive experience and they have made tremendous strides toward controlling milfoil in Saranac Lake.  In addition, they have worked on Minerva Lake and they are in negotiations to perform work on Lake George.  AIM’s team of professional scuba divers will augment the significant efforts and progress that has been made by the dedicated volunteer dive teams, mat makers, kayakers, canoeists, and those who have worked diligently to identify and map the dense milfoil beds in Brant Lake.


Q:  What is the cost of the Brant Lake Milfoil Control Program?

A:  The Program requires a three-year operating budget (2009-2011) of $250,000.  The budget will be funded by contributions from citizens from the Brant Lake community, businesses in the greater Horicon area, and grants.  It’s important to note that without the progress that has been made by our volunteers, and without ongoing and expanded volunteer efforts, the cost to control the proliferation of milfoil in Brant Lake would easily exceed $1 Million.


Q:  I'm interested in volunteering to help with the Milfoil Battle. How do I “sign up?”

A:  A schedule of volunteer days and volunteer task, including milfoil harvesting, is found at on a recently launched website: www.brantlakemilfoil.org   To participate in the milfoil volunteer activities simply “sign up” on line.  


Q:  I would like to make a financial contribution to the Brant Lake Milfoil Program.  Where do I send my check and is my donation tax deductible?

A:  Milfoil Control Contribution Forms are located on the inside panel of the Brant Lake Milfoil Control Program brochure.  The brochures have been placed in over 30 establishments in the Brant Lake and Chestertown communities.  In addition, they can be obtained by members of the Milfoil Communications Team.  If you would like to have a brochure mailed to your home, contact Elna Meader (494.2275) or  Bette Lynch (494.4482).

Checks should be made payable to the Brant Lake Foundation, thereby qualifying for a tax deduction to the extent allowed by law.  The foundation is a not-for-profit, 501(c) 3 corporation.  100% of your donation will be used to control milfoil in Brant Lake.