On July 6, Ryan Fallon was working as the Lake Host at the Hancock ramp on Nubanuist. He greeted a fisherman trailering his old bass boat. Ryan noted vegetation on the bottom of the boat and the trailer. He offered an inspection and suspected the vegetation was milfoil. He removed all the vegetation, photographed it, and later submitted the photo to DES for definitive identification. Indeed it was milfoil, and it all went in the dumpster and not in the lake! He educated the boater about invasive aquatic species. Three days prior, the fisherman had last had his boat in Powder Mill Pond on the Contoocook River in Greenfield. Powder Mill Pond is choked with milfoil and is one the closest infested water bodies. Hopefully he will clean, drain, and dry his boat between water bodies in the future!
Milfoil is an invasive aquatic species that grows rapidly in the lake, out competes native weeds and markedly degrades the quality of the lake and property values of lakefront properties. It is exceedingly difficult and expensive to eliminate and often can only be controlled and not eliminated. We will be increasing our surveillance with the Weed Watcher Program and working to increase the hours that lake hosts are at the ramp in Hancock. Weed watcher volunteers monitor plant growth around the lake and harvest anything that looks suspicious. Suspicious weeds are sent to DES for identification. If we do get an invasive infestation, catching it early with a smaller amount of growth can make it easier to control. The Nelson Conservation Commission has been supporting the Lake Host Program for many years. This preventative program has paid off in concrete form this year.
Late one Sunday our paid Lake Host, John Walton, was approaching a boater to do a departing boat inspection. To his surprise the boater reported that he had seen milfoil in Granite Lake at the cove. Our Lake Host coordinator, Sharon O’Brien-Iagulli, happened to be walking by the boat ramp at that time. John was quite taken aback by the report of milfoil in the lake, and said to the boater, “You need to tell her what you told me.”
Sharon took to her kayak and visited the cove and pulled samples and sent them to NH LAKES for identification. The report back was that the suspected “milfoil” was a look-alike native plant, bladderwort. A week later NH LAKES presented a webinar, “What Plants Are Growing in the Lake,” a session to help us identify the plants growing in our lake and what to do if you think you’ve spotted a problem plant. And guess what native plant is commonly mistaken for milfoil? You guessed it – bladderwort!
Granite Lake has had a few saves in its 20 years of participation in the Lake Host Program, but we had never had any reports or evidence of invasive species in the lake. Thankfully, this was a false alarm. The Lake Host Program hopes to keep our lake free of invasive species. If you would like to help us next season by being a Lake Host volunteer or a paid Lake Host on weekends, please contact Sharon O’Brien-Iagulli at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mifoil infestations are to be avoided at all costs. But what if there are costs? Every year the Town of Nelson set’s aside funds in an expendable trust specifically for the purpose of being able to afford immediate remedial action in the event that it is required.