Alewife access restoration

The Medomak Brook Connection (MBC) Washington’s alewife access restoration project has gained status and momentum over the past year and is now on the radar of agencies including the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources and Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and even the National Wildlife Service, not to mention Maine Rivers, which is now a leader of the efforts begun so long ago.

Any kind of activity that has anything to do with water is scrutinized by many public and private organizations and requires some kind of approval prior to each step forward. That makes for a long process, but provides assurances no harm will be done to water quality, quantity, or environment. MBC volunteers removed numerous water flow barriers by hand and are hoping to explore the entire length of the waterway for obstructions that will require further effort. Negotiations are in progress on a privately owned dam and other blockages, such as culverts, are being considered by the agencies that oversee them. Various stages of evaluation exist. Work will be starting this year and go on until Medomak Brook — aka Little Medomak River — is free flowing from Medomak Lake (near Morse’s) to Washington Pond allowing sea-run fish to enrich Washington Pond and provide food for scores of animals, birds, and other fish.

The community has shown healthy skepticism and concern about the stream, the water quality, the property values, or other concerns, and taken advantage of information and public meetings to understand the benefits. The naturalist’s dream that started so long ago down river has become an important focus of fish passage that’s going on in sync with many other such projects along both U.S. coastlines. Many thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers and professionals who show us the way to make it happen and our gratitude for a community that pays attention.

Free Crystal Lake outing for kids

Washington Lakes Watershed Association is sponsoring a free event at Crystal Lake to show children ages 5-10 what kinds of plants and living creatures make their homes in and around the lake. The walk, which will start at 10 a.m. at Crystal Lake boat launch Thursday, July 7, will be led by Brett Willaroad, program director at Merry Spring. Registration is necessary. Call Roxanne at 207-930-0307 to sign-up or for more information.

Lakes Association seeks volunteers

At the recent meeting of Washington Lakes Association (WLWA) board of directors, the focus was on wrapping up their reviews and modifications of their bylaws and finishing membership definitions and dues. However, this periodic job was upstaged by the need to organize again this year to limit the spread of Chinese mystery snails, a large invasive species that was discovered late last summer in Washington Pond. WLWA plans to harvest and dispose of another summer’s worth of Chinese mystery snails manually.

WLWA will be organizing work sessions to remove as many snails as possible and destroy them. Watch for new messages coming soon. Caution! There is a particular way to make sure harvesting efforts don’t make the situation worse. Volunteer for sessions when WLWA’s informed team can show the way to correctly deal with these creatures effectively. Contact Peg at 845-2900 or 207-930-0307.

Poison ivy reducer

I’m using a natural homemade poison ivy killer this year which worked adequately a couple of years ago. Mix up this combo in a stainless steel or glass container: Three cups vinegar and ½ cup salt until completely dissolved — I make the mix in a stainless steel pan and warm it over low heat to make sure the salt completely dissolved. Then, let it cool. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap (helps the solution stick to the plant) and stir thoroughly. Put the mixture in a sprayer bottle and apply it to the green leaves of the plants you want to kill. Do this during a dry spell if you can.

In a week or so, go around and spray any signs of life. Mark the area somehow so you can locate the sites you spray. Be sure to re-visit them next season and confirm they’re gone. If not, spray again. Look around for sneaky little runners and spray them, too. Some well established plants may need even another application. I’ve used this concoction before and it works for me. Weeds are persistent so keep after them. By the way, here in our rural area, poison ivy has what we might call a redeeming quality in its berries are a fat-rich food for birds. Too bad the birds that eat the seeds disperse them as they migrate so it’s a challenge to get rid of it all.

Other notes

Parade, Strawberry Festival, Book Sale, Sunset Paddle all on July 9. Be here.