Lake Host Program

 

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The Lake Host Program

Goal

To prevent the introduction and spread of exotic aquatic plants (such as variable milfoil) in New Hampshire’s lakes and ponds.

Target Audience

All residents and out-of-state recreational boaters and anglers who launch boats on public waters.  In the case of Silver Lake… it is particularly vital to inspect boats and trailers that have been in neighboring infected lakes such as Ossipee, Wentworth and Winnipesaukee.

Objectives

To place trained Lake Hosts at public motorized boat launch sites, to (1) educate visiting boaters about exotic plants by distributing brochures, answering questions, and completing a brief boater survey; (2) conduct courtesy boat and trailer inspections and power wash on vessels both entering, and leaving, public waters;  (3) show boaters where to look for plant “hitch-hikers” and encourage them to “self inspect,” (4) remove and properly dispose of all plant material found; (5) send samples of “suspicious” plants removed from boats to the NH Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) for identification and notification.

Background

The Lake Host Program was created and implemented by The New Hampshire Lakes Association in 2002 to help prevent the spread of milfoil and other exotic species in the State.  Prior to 2002, two to three lakes were being infection every two years.  Since the execution of the program four years ago, only one additional lake has become infected.  The NHLA, with the assistance of Senator Judd Gregg received an initial grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  In addition, the state legislation passed a bill to raise three dollars on every boat registration starting in 2003.  NHLA applies to DES for a portion of those funds each year and subsequently entertains grant requests of up to $4000 from NH lake associations, conservation commissions or towns.  These funds require a 50% volunteer or “in kind” match… which SLAM easily fulfills by supplementing the NHLA grant with its own funding, volunteer Lake Hosts, and the contribution from the Town of Madison.

SLAM’s Lake Host Program

The Lake Host Program on Silver Lake is unique in many respects.  First, it is a cooperative venture between SLAM, NHLA and the Town of Madison.  Secondly, it is an extensive program covering the town boat ramp for a full day, all days, all through the summer (see manning schedule).  Thirdly, it is supported by a unique Aquatic Plant Ordinance in the town that makes it illegal to launch boats on any other town property than the town boat launch at the foot of the lake, thereby assuring that the vessel receives a proper inspection and power wash. And lastly, while the payroll, insurance, and administration of the SLAM Lake Hosts are completely and expertly handled by NHLA… all new Lake Hosts for Silver Lake come from a pool of candidates who are graduates of Kennett High School and who have received an award from the Madison Scholarship Fund for continued education.  

Volunteers needed

The Silver Lake Lake Host Program can always use trained volunteers to supplement the paid Lake Hosts.  The schedules, training and coordination with NHLA are administered by a Point Person.  He is Paul Littlefield (603-498-7082) who is the person to contact if you can consider being an occasional volunteer Lake Host.

Success

The Lake Host Program at Silver Lake has been extremely successful in educating and inspecting boaters.  It has also prevented milfoil from entering the lake on three different occasions.  So between educating and preventing, SLAM is indebted to this excellent program provided by the New Hampshire Lakes Association.

 

   



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