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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: September 19, 2019
CONTACT: Amy Smagula, 603-271-2248

No New Aquatic Invasive Plant Species Infestations for Two Years and Counting

Concord, NH – As the 2019 boating season winds down, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) recognizes the tremendous efforts that have gone into prevention, early detection, and rapid response efforts statewide to curb the spread of aquatic invasive plant species. The efforts are obvious, in that no new infestations of aquatic invasive plants have been listed in two years.

Aquatic invasive plant species are not naturally found in New Hampshire's lakes, ponds, and rivers. Because they are not native, they have few predators or diseases, allowing them to grow quickly and dominate the freshwater systems and impact the native plants, fish, and aquatic insects already present. Aquatic invasive species can lead to reduced shorefront property values, water quality impairments, and problems with the aesthetic and recreational values of waterbodies. These species are spread primarily by transient boaters who move from waterbody to waterbody. Aquatic invasive plants can hitch a ride to new waterbodies on propellers, fishing gear, trailers, as well as in live wells and bait buckets. In many cases, these introductions can occur by a single fragment that goes unnoticed.

According to Amy Smagula, the NHDES Exotic Species Program Coordinator, "New Hampshire now has a total of 76 infested lakes and 11 infested rivers, most containing variable milfoil as the primary invasive plant, while others have fanwort, Eurasian water milfoil and water chestnut. A new infestation is quite literally a boat ride away".

Legislative initiatives in recent years are paying off. Most notably, requirements for boaters to clean and drain their vessels and gear, as well as pulling drain plugs in transit and emptying water containers have contributed hugely to this success through these prevention activities.

The Lake Host Program, implemented by New Hampshire Lakes (NH LAKES) through a grant from NHDES, has contributed significantly to prevention efforts statewide, thanks to courtesy boat inspectors stationed at 100 of the state's busiest public access sites each summer. "Since 2002, the Lake Host Program has conducted over one-million courtesy boat inspections and has made nearly 1,600 'saves' of invasive species that had just hitchhiked out of a lake, or were about to be launched into a lake," explains Andrea LaMoreaux, NH LAKES Vice President. "The number of additional 'saves' Lake Hosts have contributed to by teaching boaters to always clean, drain, and dry their boat, trailer, and gear whenever they boat is immeasurable! We are grateful for all the boaters who are taking action to protect the lakes they visit."

Early detection is also critical. Many lake residents and volunteers take time to survey their waterbodies, and report any suspicious species. If something is found, rapid response initiatives can be implemented to manage the new infestation.

NHDES encourages all boater to:

CLEAN off any plants, animals and algae found during your inspection and dispose of it away from a waterbody, and use any cleaning technologies at launch sites before entering, and after leaving a waterbody.
DRAIN your boat, bait buckets, bilges and other equipment away from the waterbody, leaving your boat's drain in the open position during transport.
DRY anything that comes into contact with the water.

NH LAKES will be showcasing a new boat decontamination unit at the Department of Environmental Services, 29 Hazen Drive in Concord, New Hampshire, on Tuesday September 24 from 9am to noon. This demonstration unit has been traveling the state this summer to promote prevention activities. Boaters are encouraged to stop by and check it out!

NHDES urges lake and river residents and visitors to routinely monitor for aquatic invasive species and report new infestations of anything suspicious. Look for plants or animals that appear to be growing or increasing in number quickly, and that do not appear to be part of the native aquatic community. For more information or to report a potential new infestation, please contact the Exotic Species Program Coordinator at or 603-271-2248.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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