Saturday, August 27, 2016

Volunteering For The Lake Host Program

In photo above, Lake Host Catherine Greenleaf volunteers to inspect motor boats, kayaks, and canoes for invasive aquatic species like Eurasian milfoil and the Chinese Mystery Snail.

by Catherine Greenleaf

Do you know what the Lake Host Program is? The program, launched by the New Hampshire Lakes Association several years ago, trains individuals to inspect motor boats, kayaks and canoes in order to find and remove invasive aquatic species.

Volunteers inspect the boats when they are brought to a boat launch for a day of activities on a lake. They look for invasive aquatic species that have been brought into our country by huge container ships that arrive from Europe and China. The weeds cling to the hulls of these massive ships and then break apart and find their way upstream to ponds and lakes all throughout New England. They are picked up and carried by U.S. boaters further and deeper into New England every year.

The state of New Hampshire is working hard to remove and eradicate these invasive plants, which abundantly reproduce, choking our waterways and robbing lakes and ponds of oxygen needed to sustain fish and other native aquatic life.

You can play a big part in helping New Hampshire lakes by becoming a Lake Host. There is only one morning workshop required in order to become a Lake Host. Usually held at the Squam Lakes Association headquaters in Holderness, N.H. Afterwards, you are given a hat and T-shirt to help identify yourself to boaters, along with a packet of photos used to identify invasive aquatic species, like Eurasian milfoil, Fanwort, Zebra Mussels and the Chinese Mystery Snail.

When you work as a Lake Host you inspect boats and ask motor boat operators to empty their bilge on dry land before launching their boats on the lake. After they remove their boats from the water, you once again ask them to empty their bilge on dry land before traveling to the next lake or pond. Bilge dumping on dry land prevents "hitchhiking" invasive critters and plants inside the boat's engine from ending up in our waterways. Then you also conduct a visual inspection of the boat and trailer hitch and remove any invasive aquatic species. These are later bagged up and identified for examination by state officials.

Please think about volunteering to help keep our lakes beautiful for all to enjoy.