FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Freedom — May 1, 2005 — Owners and managers of Ossipee Lake’s boat ramps last weekend took the first steps in an ambitious multi-year effort to prevent milfoil from entering or leaving the lake on boats and trailers at more than 30 access points.
Meeting at Calumet Conference Center, representatives of homeowner associations, campgrounds, and marinas listened to speakers and shared ideas on how each of them plans to increase milfoil awareness among the boaters using their ramps. This summer, Ossipee Lake Alliance will work with the ramp owners to implement their plans.
The Alliance is sponsoring the program, which is nicknamed ESP for Exotic Species Program, in partnership with the N.H. Department of Environmental Services. Two of the State agency’s invasive species specialists spoke at last Saturday’s program kick-off meeting and their news was sobering.
State limnologist Jody Connor detailed the economic damage to property values and tourism on lakes where invasive weeds have been allowed to take over, noting that heavy milfoil infestations can obstruct boat traffic and ensnare swimmers. Amy Smagula, who manages the State’s Weed Watchers initiative, narrated a slide show on invasive weeds including hydrilla, found in near-by Limerick, Maine and considered to be even more destructive than milfoil.
Despite the challenges of invasive weeds, the message of the day was that there is much that can be done to keep new milfoil out of the lake. In the first of two “thinking outside the box” presentations, David Welch of the Maine Lakes Environmental Association offered a variety of low-cost boater awareness ideas that have worked in his state, both at private ramps and businesses such as marinas. Next, Silver Lake Association member Ted Kramer detailed the grassroots effort in Madison that resulted in the purchase of boat washing equipment for the town’s public ramp.
After the presentations, private ramp owners and managers from diverse points on the lake met in small groups with businesses like Danforth Bay Camping Resort and Lakefront Landing Marina (formerly Lord’s Landing) to create a milfoil prevention plan for each of their ramps. Those plans will be launched over the summer with the Alliance’s help, according to the program’s director, Susan Marks.
“By pooling everyone’s ideas we were able to identify common needs and create ways to share resources and keep everyone’s cost to a minimum.”
Marks says the Alliance has ordered a large quantity of the State’s milfoil warning signs so that ramp owners can pick them up locally from a single location. Additionally, the Alliance will produce a milfoil awareness pamphlet that is specific to Ossipee Lake and shows the locations of existing infestations. The pamphlet will be provided at no cost to the ramp owners.
While most of the ramp plans will be developed in the coming weeks, Ted Hoyt of Danforth Bay Camping Resort took immediate action by arranging for the Alliance’s June D’Andrea to make a presentation this weekend at the annual meeting of his campground’s seasonal residents, a group meeting that usually numbers in the hundreds.
Prevention Will Enhance Control
The ESP program is considered to be a prevention initiative in the sense that it is designed to prevent new milfoil from coming into the lake. Ossipee Lake already has one of the most active milfoil control programs in the State, keeping milfoil in check where it has already taken hold.
During the past two years, Ossipee Lake Alliance has identified and monitored infestations across the lake system and has arranged for volunteers and for State and local funds to ensure that each infestation is treated. An active and growing Weed Watchers initiative is also in place, led by June D’Andrea.
As a result of these control efforts, milfoil infestations were treated last year in Phillips Brook, Leavitt Bay, Danforth Pond, Danforth Brook, and the Ossipee River. The Alliance is currently working with State and local officials on an additional clean-up of Phillips Brook and western Leavitt Bay, and treatment of a mass of weeds found last fall in Portsmouth Cove between Broad Bay and Leavitt Bay.