State to Detail Ossipee’s Milfoil Options

Ossipee – November 13, 2009 — The method of treatment and the cost will be among the points of discussion when Ossipee officials meet on Monday with the state’s exotic species program coordinator to discuss how to address the new milfoil infestation in Pickerel Cove and the ongoing spread of invasive weeds from Phillips Brook into Leavitt Bay.

The meeting, at Town Hall at 4:30 p.m., was arranged by the Ossipee Conservation Commission so that state limnologist and milfoil specialist Amy Smagula can answer questions about her recommendation to treat the two sites with the herbicide 2,4-D, the state’s current treatment of choice for getting an upper hand on the rapidly spreading menace.

Although Ossipee Lake has been at the forefront of using non-chemical methods to remove milfoil from the lake, state officials believe the extent of the new discovery and the rapid spread of weeds into Leavitt Bay require more aggressive action. Last year, DES made a similar recommendation for Danforth Pond, where hand-pulling and suction harvesting have been successful but haven’t kept pace with the weed’s spread.

Whichever method is used in Ossipee, cost will be an issue.

Last month Smagula told Ossipee Lake Alliance that DES will not be able to subsidize the $9,245 project cost because it has already made its 2010 funding decisions. While the Town of Ossipee has a discretionary milfoil control fund, the cost of the project exceeds what is currently available and the fund won’t be replenished until voters agree to do so at Town Meeting in March.

That lag could possibly delay treatment of the weeds until 2011 because the state’s required 90-day permitting and notification process might extend the implementation date beyond the chemical application window of late May to mid-June. In January, a scheduled $14,000 2-4,D project for Danforth Pond was postponed to 2011 for similar reasons of timing.

State funding for milfoil control has steadily declined in recent years, leaving lake communities stuck with an ever-increasing bill. While the N.H. Legislative Aquatic Species Committee held a “Milfoil Summit” this summer and is discussing vastly increased funding levels, meaningful state assistance remains months and likely years away. Meanwhile, the cost to lake communities continues to rise.

In a preliminary analysis of milfoil costs for the lake, Ossipee Lake Alliance director David Smith said the new control project will bring total expenses for the Ossipee Lake system to around $145,000. The state has paid just 16% of that amount.

In the Town of Ossipee, an estimated $15,500 has been spent to date to control milfoil in Phillips Brook, Leavitt Bay and Portsmouth Cove, of which 38% was paid by the state. If the current project is approved, the state’s contribution toward total costs in Ossipee will decline to 28%.

Smith says DES has not contributed to Ossipee’s milfoil control costs since 2005 when the Alliance arranged for the agency to pay half of the state’s first test of divers as an alternative to chemicals in Phillips Brook and Leavitt Bay. Divers have continued to harvest weeds from that part of the lake annually and are paid through the town’s milfoil fund.

Smith cautioned that the Alliance’s estimates are preliminary and that information on local payments is still incomplete. He said he believes another $30,000 has been spent in Ossipee and Freedom that hasn’t yet been added to the tally. If so, that would bring the grand total of all costs to around $175,000 since 1992.

Smith said he hopes to have a complete accounting of costs in time for a multi-community meeting on the milfoil issue that is being organized for January by the Ossipee Conservation Commission.

8 Comments

  1. steve 12 years ago November 13, 2009

    It seems to me that there should be an emergency meeting scheduled so the treatment does not get delayed and the infestation does not get out of control more than what already has happened. It needs to be prioritized.

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  2. Lee 12 years ago November 14, 2009

    Obviously in these times of fiscal constraint at the local, state and federal level we can not expect much help from from the authorities. It is very disappointing that despite the fact that the lake community puts forth a tremendous amount of money for property taxes, boat registration fees and gasoline tax that there is not enough put aside to address an issue as serious as the rapid spead of the invasive milfoil. This plant has already had a very negative effect on the enjoyment of many families and is a threat to the entire lake. Is there any local fundraising for which donations would go directly to treatment of the milfoil?

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  3. typical gov 12 years ago November 15, 2009

    even if this was not a time of fiscal constraint I still would not expect much from our governments…I find it amazing that as the DES begins to levy fines for anyone violating the shoreline protection act (remember the 250 ft rule to help protect our lakes…that which no one ever voted on) that they still can’t seem to come up with any funds to protect the lake from milfoil

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  4. Ray 12 years ago November 16, 2009

    Seems like the first response to “we have a milfoil problem” is “how much money can I get from the government?” Go into the milfoil summit with an open mind as to how the problem can be addressed with volunteers at low costs. You have the time to experiment with low cost, high labor solutions. The state is trying to cut costs at your request and won’t be able to help for a year. Attend the workshop, learn about inexpensive solutions, make a plan that includes state help down the road, and put enthusiastic volunteers to work. It will increase involvement. Good luck to the Ossipee Lake Alliance.

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  5. typical gov 12 years ago November 17, 2009

    Ray,
    Not for nothing but you must be a Gov employee. Given all the money the Gov. collects in taxes why wouldn’t one ask “how much money” the Gov is going to put up to solve the problem??? On a larger scale I think and hope most people would ask why the Gov can not responsibly manage the tax revenue it already receives…you see the bigger problem is the lack of fiscal responsibility and wasteful spending of Gov…at all levels. Why are you so quick to let our state Gov off the hook??? We all need to put more pressure on our officials not make excuses for them… When our representatives stop lavishing themselves with state owned vehicles, fine offices and furniture, palatial state buildings, wonderful pensions and healthcare that the rest of us can only dream of then I will believe they are “trying to cut costs”.

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  6. freedomresident 12 years ago November 18, 2009

    Why doesn’t the state simply reinvest one year of registration fees from all the boats registered on Ossipee Lake into a milfoil plan? Of course we all know the answer given how inefficent the state is. What a shame, Ossipee Lake really is one of the states jewels.

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  7. Jerome Davis 11 years ago November 21, 2009

    As president of Aquacleaner Environmental, a company with a 10 year history of invasive plant removal and water front restoration, I have seen and heard of similar problems with lake front home owners and associations who want to do more but have their hands tied by state/local bureaucracy. While everybody would like these agencies to fund remediation projects there’s never enough funds to go around and in the end its the people who live on these lakes that must pool their own resources in order to get things done.

    My understanding about your states regulations to me makes no sense because the DES wants you to have their certifications in order to simply just pull invasive plants even on your own property…. to my knowledge your state is the only one with such regulations.

    My company plans to address and possibly challenge these regulations which would be a benefit to us and all lake front homeowners

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  8. type gov 11 years ago November 25, 2009

    Mr. Davis,
    Does your company have a proven solution to the milfoil infestation??
    If so, which water bodies have you serviced? What where the results both short and long tem??

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