New Milfoil Found on Big Lake

Ossipee—July 22, 2019—Even with annual milfoil surveys conducted by boat, state officials and local Weed Watcher volunteers can miss things. Such apparently is the case with the discovery of the invasive weed deep inside the boat basin at Westward Shores Campground. 

The infestation is thick and resident in several spots, suggesting it has been there for a while. It was discovered by members of the Ossipee Lake Alliance board of directors who were taking their summer intern on a boat tour of the lake. 

A red “X” at the lower left marks where milfoil was discovered deep inside the boat basin at Westward Shores.

In an email, DES Exotic Species Program Coordinator Amy Smagula said the lake survey the state conduced in 2017 encompassed the big lake’s nooks and crannies, and included the boat basin, which is part of the campground’s marina.

But the basin extends well inland of the marina, in a kind of meandering river where dozens of boats are moored. The cove ends at the campground’s road leading to what is known as the Peninsula, and that’s where the milfoil was hiding. 

Milfoil found at Westward Shores shows familiar leafy structure.

If the infestation can be pulled by professional divers, it’s possible it may be removed this summer. Otherwise, control treatment will have to wait until next spring, according to Smagula.

The chance discovery is a reminder that lake residents and visitors should always be on the lookout for milfoil and keep their boats away from it. When boat propellers chop it up, tiny fragments are spread by water currents and can result in new infestations. 

Pockets of milfoil are now found in all parts of the Ossipee Lake system, including Danforth Pond and the Ossipee River. Known infestations are monitored regularly, but Smagula said it’s important for the public to keep an eye on the lake’s small, less accessible coves and narrows that annual surveys might miss.

Milfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds are a major state environmental issue, and controlling it is expensive. In the Ossipee Lake system, close to $350,000 has been spent on control programs, of which the state has paid around 28%. All three Ossipee Lake towns work annually with the state to arrange for control efforts and determine how to fund them. 

You can access the state’s latest master plan for milfoil control in Ossipee Lake here. If you find suspicious weeds outside the known areas of infestation, email a picture to Amy.Smagula@des.nh.gov with a notation of the location and date found.

6 Comments

  1. Lorraine Cardosi 2 years ago July 22, 2019

    Glad to see that people are on to this and are doing something about it. Don’t live in that area now but spent many happy hours at Milton swimming as a kid when I lived in Rochester. Would hate to see these waters contaminated so badly that swimming won’t be allowed…Keep up the good work and save these awesome waters for the future…

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  2. Deb Stark 2 years ago July 22, 2019

    I think there is more of this in Square brook as well this year. I will try to get a photo too.

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  3. Freedomnh1 2 years ago July 23, 2019

    Westward shores should be prohibiting boats in that immediate area , if boats go thru there they’ll chop it up and continue to spread it more. Now they know it’s there it needs to be removed !Hopefully the new owners step up and address this as diligently as they did I fighting to develop that area !

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  4. Jonathan Kinney 2 years ago July 23, 2019

    Are the owners of Westward Shores (Northgate /SunNG Resorts) responsible for mitigating the milfoil infestation? This is a very active section of the campgrounds marina and potentially a source of an even greater infestation. Also, are land owners of marina’s responsible to monitor and report when milfoil is found?

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  5. David Smith 2 years ago July 23, 2019

    Lake property owners are not legally responsible for milfoil monitoring or mitigation because the state owns the lake. But all property owners, especially businesses like campgrounds and marinas, are encouraged to be proactive about educating their boaters about milfoil and what to do if they find it.

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  6. Jack Snow 2 years ago July 24, 2019

    New ownership only wants green in their pockets. That area was dug out previous manager and a couple more boats tied up in that vicinity. Most come from out of state and don’t realize what they are bringing in. This is due to ramp there and no checks. Not enough help there. Not enough people are even aware of what it is.

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