Freedom—February 4, 2019—A bill introduced in the state legislature last week would require the owners of boats registered in other states to obtain an annual $20 invasive species decal in order to use New Hampshire waters. If approved, the measure will generate revenue for milfoil management programs via the state’s Lake Restoration and Preservation Fund.
The bill, HB625-FN, was introduced by State Representative Suzanne Smith of Grafton, who chairs the legislature’s Resources, Recreation and Development Committee. Co-sponsored by the advocacy group NH Lakes (formerly the N.H. Lakes Association), it is the latest effort to develop recurring revenue streams to address the challenges of variable milfoil, the most prevalent form of invasive species that infest the state’s rivers and lakes.
Funding milfoil control is a burden shared between the state and a coalition of lake towns and lake organizations, and studies conducted by Ossipee Lake Alliance have shown a majority of funding comes from non-state sources.
In a new DES report, it is stated that locally-generated grant applications for milfoil control totaled $1.1 million in 2017, of which the state was able to award just $338,789. Those awards were split between 41 separate control programs.
If passed, HB625-FN would be the first major piece of legislation for funding invasive species control since the 2009 law that currently puts $9.50 of every in-state boat registration into the Lake Restoration and Preservation Fund.
According to a NH Lakes press release, the proposed new law is modeled on a similar program in Maine, where some 10,000 out of state boaters pay annually to access state waters. New Hampshire officials assume a similar number of out of state boaters use our state’s waters each year, and estimate $17 of the $20 fee will make it into the milfoil management fund after the cost of managing the program is deducted.
Ossipee Lake Alliance supports HB625-FN as an equitable way to increase the pool of funds available for milfoil control. To lend your support to the measure, contact the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee chair at email@example.com. The first public hearing on the measure will be on Wednesday, February 6, at 10:30 a.m. in Concord. For further information, contact NH Lakes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another “TAX” in the Live Free or Die state!? It is becoming more expensive, for selected individuals, to live in NH than it is to live in MA! For the people who do the right thing i.e. I only use my watercraft on Ossipee lake, We put them in the lake in the beginning of the season, pay our mooring/dock fees so we can leave them in all season and take the watercraft out at the end of the season (and we wait until the very last day). We wash our watercraft and trailers before we put them in the lake and we do the same when we take them out. We have; an older, but well preserved pontoon boat, a bowrider and 3 pre-2005 jetskis. This new levy would cost us $100 per season more and our watercraft never leave the lake. Sure, we could if we wanted to but why would we want to. There are no other lakes that have any more we do!
I’d also like to address the fact that there is a large population of; kayaks, canoes, john boats, boats with motors under the registration requirement, Sun fish, catamarans so many of which are trailered to the lake which are as prone to carry invasive species from one body of water to another.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for eradicating the invasive species from all bodies of water, it can become a serious problem real fast! As a waterfront home owner I pay exhorbidant property taxes, flood insurance, mooring and dock fees, out of state registration fees, etc. – we are being fee-ed out of our house already. one Fee per household and make it a placard you display on your watercraft. Don’t make it too expensive for the middle class to enjoy the lake.
This proposed new fee would not apply to you if your boats are registered in N.H. which I assume they are since you live on the lake.
Susan is correct. This would apply to Owners of boats registered in other states only….which I whole heartedly support. I think we all witness the amount of out of state boaters coming and going through fishing tournaments and the likes of public boat launches (i.e. route 25). Most people are respectful of cleaning their boats and motors …..but many do not. My question is how will this be enforced? Hopefully better than the enforcement of our “no wake zone” channels.
thank you for the clarification, that is something I can get behind. I agree that this may be difficult to enforce. With one Marine Patrol covering so many points of entry and so many acres of water to cover – We need a Wall!