Lakes Region gears up to combat milfoil

Special to the Union Leader
April 25. 2013 10:06PM
This diver assisted suction harvesting unit -- or DASH -- was used to suck invasive milfoil from Back Bay in Wolfeboro last summer. The Lakes Region Planning Commission is hosting a presentation on milfoil control at the Wolfeboro Public Library on Monday at 6 p.m. (COURTESY)

WOLFEBORO - The Meredith-based Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) will host a presentation Monday on the impact of milfoil and other invasive species on New Hampshire's lakes and rivers - and what the state plans to do to address the challenges.

The milfoil presentation begins at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 29, during the commission meeting to be held at the Wolfeboro Public Library, 259 South Main St.

Amy Smagula, a New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) limnologist and coordinator of the Exotic Species Program, will lead the presentation. According to LRPC Executive Director Kimon Koulet, most people already know that both native and non-native species are found in our lakes, ponds and rivers. Exotic aquatic plants pose a threat to the ecological, aesthetic, recreational and economic values of lakes and ponds.

Studies have shown that a reduction in water quality - whether perceived or real - can impact lakeshore home values as well as summer tourism, he said.

One goal of the meeting is to highlight best management practices and to gain insight from past and current practices, from utilizing the herbicide, 2,4-D, to hand pulling by divers, to suction harvesting.

This past fall, milfoil watchers around Lake Winnipesaukee were astounded to find how weather conditions and other factors created a 'perfect storm' for milfoil creation.

"It was really astounding to me how rapidly this plant can multiply under the right growing conditions," said Ken Marschner, chair of both the Town of Wolfeboro Milfoil Committee and the Milfoil Joint Board, a tri-town collaborative between Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Moultonborough.

A late, mild winter, early, warm spring and hot summer in 2012 combined to form the ideal conditions for milfoil re-growth, especially in Wolfeboro's Back Bay with its shallow sawdust bottom and lack of ice this year, he added.

And Wolfeboro is not alone. Representatives from lake and milfoil committees through out the state are reporting milfoil growth.

While towns such as Moultonborough approved $195,000 through a warrant article this year to combat the invasive weed, other towns raise much less for annual milfoil control efforts, and the state only funds 11 percent of the total spent.

According to a study commissioned by the Ossipee Lake Alliances and presented in June of 2012, the state contributed $90,000 towards milfoil control efforts statewide in 2011; private groups, such as associations and private donors, contributed $357,000 in 2011; and municipalities contributed $347,000 toward milfoil control costs statewide the same year.

The Ossipee Lake Alliance is updating the study for 2012.

EnvironmentOutdoorsMeredithPhoto Feature

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