Following are brief descriptions of program elements with major budgeted expenses for each.
NOTE: Salaries, benefits and expenses for three DEP staff total approximately $280,000 in 2006. In the below chart, this staff cost is distributed across program elements according to time spent on each. This staff cost plus the expenses listed below will not equal the projected total in the chart above because only major expenses are listed below. Any additional questions regarding funding should be directed to DEP.
Support from the Maine Lake and River Protection Sticker permits the Voluntary Lake Monitoring Program to add more trained volunteers to its existing cadre of 1500 volunteers able to identify invasive plants statewide. These “citizen scientists” provide a core force for surveying boat ramps, dock and swimming areas and other areas of human use and potential plant invasion.DEP Aquatic Invasive Species Program Budget Pie Chart
Expenses include $115,000 for the Invasive Plant Patroller Program plus an estimated 10% of DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program (IASP) staff time.
The Maine Lake and River Protection Sticker supports educational activities necessary to both inform residents and visitors of the invasive species threat as well as promote behaviors that prevent the spread of new infestations. Those activities include…
* public speaking opportunities
* production and distribution of brochures
* outreach to plant retailers and schools that use plants as classroom tools
* warning signs on infested and non-invested lakes and ponds
* paid print advertising, and
* opportunities in print, television, radio and at outdoor sports trade shows to spread the word on not spreading invasive plants.
Approximately $42,000 is budgeted for myriad education and outreach efforts plus an estimated 41% of DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program (IASP) staff time.
One day all boaters will inspect their watercraft and trailers leaving boat ramps for hitchhiking plants and other biological debris that potentially migrate from lake to lake. Until then, courtesy boat inspections are the most effective way to assure biological threats do not spread while, at the same time, it is a teachable moment for showing boaters the importance of taking the time to inspect. Trained boat inspections conducted by lakes associations, municipalities and stewardships are sponsored by the Maine Lake and River Protection Sticker and have increased from 2,500 in 2001 to over 40,000 in 2005. Even more are anticipated in 2006. The 2006 courtesy boat inspection program budget exceeds $150,000, including $55,000 in cost share funds and $75,000 for inspection time to prevent the spread from infested lakes, plus an estimated 15% of DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program (IASP) staff time.
Site Management and Rapid Response
If an invasive aquatic species is detected in a Maine water body, Maine Lake and River Protection Sticker revenues go to work to limit its spread both within the infested lake and beyond. Efforts include hand removal of plants by trained volunteers and professional SCUBA divers, deployment of warning buoys to direct boat traffic away from infested areas, and—in worst-case situations—the application of herbicides. The 2006 budget includes up to $105,000 for site management and rapid response, including work to contain and manage the Pickerel Pond (Limerick) hydrilla population and the Eurasian water-milfoil population in Scarborough, plus an estimated 32% of DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program (IASP) staff time.
Task Force/Interstate efforts
Collaboration, both with neighboring states which deal with older, more extensive invasive plant problems and with stakeholders within Maine, is essential if efficiencies and priorities are to be set. Not only do nearby states have a greater variety of invasive species able to migrate into Maine, they also have more experience in curbing or controlling plant infestations. Communication and the free exchange of experience are essential.
Within Maine, a Governor-appointed panel of stakeholders, the Interagency Task Force on Invasive Aquatic Plants and Nuisance Species, overviews and advises how the Maine Lake and River Protection Sticker revenues serve the state best. As with officials in neighboring states, rapport is key. The 2006 budget includes $700 for task force and interstate efforts an estimated 2% of DEP’s Invasive Aquatic Species Program (IASP) staff time.