Volunteers from Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) are hard at work at Adams Pond, digging up the invasive honeysuckle that has long threatened the forested area on the west side of the reservoir.
Boothbay Region Water District Natural Resources Program Manager Sue Mello explained, “The crew is here to remove invasive plants from the buffer along Adams Pond. When it comes to water quality protection, the best thing for any water body is to have natural native vegetation around it because it acts as a filter. Boothbay was historically all farms and the area around Adams Pond was once all fields. Back in the mid 1900s the water district trustees planted red pines around the reservoir to protect against runoff. Now those trees are in decline, some of them have died and many of them are dying. On the west side of the pond the invasive honeysuckle is a big problem because it’s preventing new tree growth. It’s literally taking over.”
Over the years, Mello has had help from two interns and together they have done what they can to keep the honeysuckle at bay, but it has been a losing battle. This year, MCC has joined the fight.
The MCC crew of six share little in common with one another: Caleb Smith, 31, is from Florida; H Justin, 18, is from Michigan; team leader Maija Griffioen, 21, is from Maryland; Aiden Kelley, 18, is from Ohio; Nasanet Keita, 34, is from Washington, D.C. and Caleb Kinsman, 24, the assistant leader, is originally from Massachusetts, but now lives in Bangor.
The team started work on Monday, June 28, when the temperature in Boothbay rose into the 90s and yet they went straight to work with chainsaws, hand tools and a tractor. “It was so hot, but their energy was amazing,” Mello said. They are so gung-ho and enthusiastic.”
The work is hot, physical and tiring. The water district hopes to clear about eight acres in the three weeks the MCC crew is on site, and the team is up for the challenge. “They are six serious workers,” said Mello.
The Adams Point invasives project is the third such task the MCC team has worked on this summer. Prior to arriving in Boothbay, the team was in Winthrop and Naples and when the crew leaves this area, they will head to Rangeley and beyond.
“Having this team here is huge for us,” said Mello. “Getting ahead of the honeysuckle will be a massive achievement and hopefully we’ll be able to keep it in check going forward.”