Finding and Reporting Milfoil


While this may seem obvious, the first step in controlling milfoil in the lake is to know where it is located. Unfortunately, locating milfoil is a very tedious and time consuming job. While we have a formal program that divides the lake into (currently) 10 roughly mile sections, with a specific volunteer assigned to monitor each section, the monitoring is at best imperfect, and the more eyes we have on the lake the better. Thus, if individuals are able to monitor their own small stretch of lakefront it will significantly increase our chances of identifying a new bed and eliminating it before it can grow.

How to identify milfoil

Eurasian milfoil has slender stems encircled by feathery leaves in groups. It can be difficult to identify because you are typically looking down at the plant in the water. The photograph is a good representation of how it would appear in the water if you were observing it wearing a diving mask. However, milfoil out of the water looks quite different. To identify milfoil, break off a stem and hold it upside down. If the leaves droop and collapse around the stem it is likely to be milfoil.

Northern vs. Eurasian Milfoil

Northern Milfoil           Eurasian Milfoil

Northern milfoil

Northern milfoil, a native, non-envasive plant, closely resembles Eurasian milfoil, and can also be found in Brant Lake. A technique for telling the two apart is that the feathery leaves of Eurasian milfoil collapse when removed from the water, while Northern Milfoil leaves remain firm. The photograph on the left illustrates this difference.

How to look for milfoil

Milfoil is generally found in water 3 to 10 feet deep. However, it is recommended that you extend your surveillance to 12 feet to be on the safe side. Since Brant Lake is generally shallow, the 12 foot depth line is typically a significant distance from the shore. This means that a single pass will not be sufficient, and usually 3 or 4 passes at different water depths will be required for a given stretch of shore line to be properly inspected. Some people may wish to, at least initially, place soda bottle floats with (taunt) 12 foot lines to mark the outward boundary of the area they are covering.

You will quickly discover that unless conditions are right you will be unable to see well below the surface. Obviously you will want still water, but in addition you will want the sun to be close to the horizon, as it will be in the early morning and late afternoon. You may also find that partial cloud cover is helpful. It will also be extremely helpful to wear polarized sun glasses to reduce the surface glare.

While milfoil can be spotted from a kayak or canoe, a far better technique is for one person to stand in the bow of a powered boat while a second slowly pilots the boat throughout the area. This technique provides a higher view angle, which reduces the surface glare.

Reporting Milfoil

If you discover what you believe may be milfoil, please report it by calling 518/532-4454, where you can leave a message, or emailing Terry Lynch. Please include as much information as possible, including:

Our team will record the information and investigate the area. You may be called for more information.