Concord—February 3, 2013—A number bills affecting New Hampshire’s lakes will be considered by the State Legislature this session. Chief among them is House Bill 292, which would require boats registered in other states to obtain a “milfoil decal” in order to operate in New Hampshire waters.
A portion of the fees generated from the sale of the decal will be applied to the cost of containing and removing invasive milfoil from state lakes—a cost estimated to be upwards of $1.5 million annually. At present, private landowners, municipalities, and the state are paying the entire cost.
The bill is being supported by the NH Lakes Association (NHLA), which will hold a meeting of lake stakeholders at its headquarters on Monday, February 4, to discuss it. State Senator Jeb Bradley, who represents the Ossipee Lake area and is a member of the Legislature’s Exotic and Aquatic Weeds and Species Committee, is one of the bill’s sponsors.
NHLA is also supporting House Bill 393, which proposes to reduce the negative impact of phosphorus and nitrogen on surface water quality and aquatic plants by reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in lawn fertilizers. The organization also backs House Bill 428, which would allow all dam owners, excluding the state, to receive money from the state’s dam maintenance, removal, and improvement revolving loan fund.
Other lake-oriented bills still being developed pertain to the state’s Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act and the sale of lead sinkers and lead jigs, which have been shown to be a danger to the state’s loon population.
In an email to lake associations, NHLA president Tom O’Brien noted the difficulty of securing new lake legislation in the current political environment.
“One of the things we have been reminded of in our meetings with the legislative leadership is that the state budget is still the #1 priority—revenues do not match the state’s obligations. However, lake water quality and the essential character and condition of our lakes is important to all of us, and to the long-term beauty and economic health of this state, so we believe lake issues can and should be addressed on an ongoing basis.”
O’Brien also said NHLA is working with other state conservation organizations to ensure that user fees that have been dedicated for specific purposes are actually applied to those purposes. As examples, he cited dedicated funds for the DES Exotic Species Program and the Bureau of Marine Safety’s share of boater registration fees to fund essential capital projects.
Questions and comments on NHLA-supported legislation may be addressed by email to email@example.com or by phone to (603) 226-0299.