Mission: Belgrade Lakes Region

Created by C. Dawson, BRCA

Research Question

What impact are invasive species having on freshwater and upland habitats in the Belgrade Lakes region?

You're invited

The Belgrade Lakes region is a beautiful and important resource for the local community and beyond. Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA), Maine Congress of Lake Associations (COLA) and Colby College invite you to join in a community effort to measure the impact of invasive species on local upland and freshwater habitats and to work together to protect those habitats.

How to Participate

Whether you are a local educator or student, part of a local watershed association, or a lone community member interested in citizen science, you can help with this effort. Here's how:

1. Create a Vital Signs account.

2. Print the species ID card for the species of concern that you are going to look for.

3. Print and check out:

4. Grab equipment.

  • Digital camera
  • GPS (No GPS? Use itouchmap!)

Additional equipment for freshwater habitat investigations:

  • Ziplock bags for suspicious plant collection
  • White plastic container for plant collection and photography
  • Optional: rake, bucketscope, mask & snorkel, scissors

5. Go out and look closely for the invasive species. Do you think you found it, or not? Both are equally important to report! Document it with photos and written evidence.

6. Upload your data! Add your "found" or "not found" observation through your My Vital Signs page (link at top right). Click "Add new investigation."

Tips for entering freshwater observations:

  • Pick "freshwater" for the habitat
  • Pick "Lower Kennebec" for the watershed
  • For the MIDAS codes, use:
    Great Pond - 5274
    Little Pond - 5350
    Long Pond - 5272
    North Pond -
    East Pond - 5349
    McGrath Pond - 5348
    Salmon Pond - 5352
    Messalonskee Lake - 5280

    If you think you found it:

  • Collect a specimen in your ziplock bag - be careful not to fragment and spread the plant!
  • Call the Maine Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants: 207 -783-7733 (reference your Vital Signs observation!)
  • No one there? Call the Maine Department of Environmental Protection: 1 -800-452-1942

Why this Mission matters


Invasive species affect Maine's native species and natural ecosystem processes, impact our economy, and influence our relationship with and reliance on our environment. In the Belgrade Lakes region visitors come from far and wide to enjoy all natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. The popularity of this region for outdoor recreation puts it at risk for impact from invasive species, and makes it even more imperative that we work together to monitor and protect the health of our local ecosystems.

Want to know and do more?

Check out the Lakes Vulnerability Analysis Mission and use your community's Vital Signs data to figure out what is happening in your local ecosystems.

Looking for mudpuppies?
Here's where they've been found so far.

Phillip deMaynadier and Jonathan Mays of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife want your data. If you think you found them, complete this form and include these details in your Vital Signs observation.

Learn more about the mudpuppy debate. Are they a benign non-native or a harmful invasive?

For Educators
Are you an educator in the after-school setting? Learn more about Colby's outreach efforts in the Belgrade Lakes region.

For Community Members
Get in touch with the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) and the Maine Congress of Lake Associations.

Interested in being trained to identify freshwater invasive plants? Consider becoming an Invasive Plant Patroller.