“Milfoil Decal” Could be Required for Boats Registered Out of State

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 tobrien@nhlakes.org or by phone to (603) 226-0299.


  1. A. J. Hincman 11 years ago February 3, 2013

    Why only a “PORTION” of the proceeds from the decal sale goes to milfoil control. ??
    It should be 100% of the money, minus the costs of printing & handeling.
    I expect most agents that sell boat registrations would be entitled to a nominal fee for selling them. But the rest should go 100% to milfoil control, and not into the states general fund for example. After all, they are being sold for milfoil control , Are they not??
    Ossipee Lake

  2. steve Foley 11 years ago February 3, 2013

    Great step. But AJ, the policy makers are only following the usual procedures, taking from the initial need and spreading ’round the gold. It’s the American way.

  3. Perry Fine 11 years ago February 3, 2013

    Regarding the Milfoil Decal program: this is a huge step forward. Consider that we have been trying to get some attention on this matter for more than a decade, and paying out of our own pockets to keep our beloved lake healthy, let’s celebrate…at least for a few moments!

  4. atony 11 years ago February 4, 2013

    That’s what happens when Government get’s involved. They get to “play” with the money any way they see fit. However, I agree with Perry, it is 2 steps forward…. but it is then 1 step as only a portion will be used to address milfoil and the rest will go towards…maybe subsidizing basket weaving for the under privialged.


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