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Lake Host Program: Good for SLA

The New Hampshire Lakes Association began a “Lake Host Program” back in 2002 with the purpose of educating those using lakes and ponds in our state on the dangers of spreading exotic weeds and other life that does not originate here in the Northeast. According to the Association’s LAKESIDE MAGAZINE, during that time, 1,409 “saves” have been made by lake hosts at the busiest boat ramps.

20 years ago, 30 NH lakes were infested with what is referred to as “aquatic nuisance species,” or “exotic plants and animals.” Today, that number has risen to 68 lakes and 11 rivers. Lake Hosts monitor boat traffic at launch ramps during busy times, educating boaters about the dangers of introducing exotic plants into NH water bodies. They also check for these weeds themselves. According to the NH Lakes Association, they are truly “manning the front lines for the well-being of our water bodies.”

Weed Watchers are slightly different. They attend a session in Concord, and learn how to recognize exotic plants, so when they are out canoeing or kayaking, they can spot an unwelcome species and report it.

The Swains Lake Association hopes to use a combination of Lake Hosts to monitor our boat launch, and weed watchers to spot suspicious plants as they are out enjoying the water themselves. For the 2015 season, we will be hoping to accomplish this on a volunteer basis. This is because in order to obtain grant money to pay a Lake Host, our board learned that Lake Associations obtaining a grant must put up equal funds to pay for these monitors. In other words, if we were to get a grant of $500, the SLA would also have to put up $500 to pay for the monitor. At this time, we do not have the budget for this.

In the upcoming month, the SLA Board hopes to decide when we can have volunteers staffing the boat launch as Lake Hosts. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Wendi Tremblay or Jan Shaw (see contact page).

Keeping exotic weeds out of our lake is not only important for the local economy. It will also affect our property values when we decide to sell our lakeside homes. Also, the negative impact on boating and fishing cannot be understated.

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