Milfoil is an invasive, non-native plant that thrives in clear, nutrient rich water.
- Milfoil is present in a growing number of water bodies, in both northern and southern areas of the state.
- Some infested water bodies have shorelines in more than one town.
- It is difficult to predict exactly where outbreaks will occur.
- The species of milfoil that is found in New Hampshire is problematic in only a handful of other states, while the Eurasian milfoil species is the more common nuisance species across the country (so nationally funded research is focused on that species).
- Property values decline when thick milfoil growth prevents swimming and use of waterways by small boats.
- Fish, including game fish, decline when milfoil growth changes the chemistry of the water (e.g. reduced oxygen). [Bass can thrive in areas with native, non-invasive species.]
- Without the clear waterways which New Hampshire depends on for its tourist economy:
- The significant amounts of money invested in marketing the state will be wasted.
- Fewer visitors to state and fewer dollars spent on tourism.
- Seed heads rise above the surface of the water and release seeds which travel to new locations.
- Cuttings (caused by wind and human activity) can grow roots, starting new patches.
- Milfoil can be spread from water body to another when fragments are present on the hulls and engines of boats of any size.
- Milfoil has no natural enemies in this area.
- Pulling milfoil breaks it apart, allowing fragments to float away to establish new plantings.
- Places where herbicides have been used, (Wolfeboro’s Back Bay, for example), have experienced prolific re-growth when applications are stopped.
- Draining water bodies is ineffective as milfoil can survive without water.
- Diver assisted suction harvesting, as practiced onSquamLake:
- Two boats dedicated to milfoil eradication work full time during warm months. Each has a driver and a diver. Volunteers follow behind to scoop any loose fragments that float to the surface. [Mr. Levine manages this program for the Squam Lakes Association.]
- Efforts must be repeated on an ongoing basis.
- Training is inconsistent or lacking and may result in accelerating spread.
- Coverage is fragmented.
- Out of pocket expenses are incurred by volunteers.
Cost of Eradication
- Freedom has spent over $100,000 since 1992.
- There are currently about thirty water bodies with identified infestations that have not been treated.
According to a survey of milfoil control funding
sources from the Ossipee Lake Alliance, a total of
$2,650,027 was spent from 2009 to 2012. Of that, 82 percent
of the funding came from municipal and private
sources, with the state picking up only 18 percent — or
$484,462 — of the milfoil control effort costs. In that four-year period, municipalities
allocated, mostly through warrant articles approved
by voters, $1,278,904, and private funding, including
money raised by lake associations, tallied $866,650,
or 34 percent.
- In New Hampshire, water bodies belong to the public.
- The State promotes water based tourism, but provides limited funding for maintaining that resource.
- When the state does not take responsibility, it falls to towns which then increase their taxes. Towns are unable to address the problem individually and some bear a disproportionate burden.
- The Department of Environmental Services runs the state’s milfoil program.
- The program is funded on a statewide basis but administered/managed locally by municipalities or organizations.
- Tri-town Milfoil Committee [Ossipee, Freedom, Effingham]
- Members appointed by select boards
- Fish & Game’s role?
- Individual alliances, such as the Ossipee Lake Alliance
- NH Lakes Association
- Milfoil Coalition
UNH Cooperative Extension
- Through the NH Lakes Lay Monitoring program, educates volunteer lake monitors across the state on reducing the spread of the weed.
- Confirms the presence of the weed and encourages participation in the DES weed watchers program and the NH Lakes Association Lake Host Boat ramp inspection program.
- When funding was available, conducted applied research projects investigating biological controls and assisted in designing and evaluating an integrated pest management approach to milfoil control.
- Demonstrated that clearing shoreline vegetation at the water’s edge increases milfoill’s ability to dominate over native plants as they thrive in direct sunlight.
2014 HB 292
- An amendment proposes to add $2 to the amount of a boat registration to be dedicated to milfoil prevention and eradication.
- Focused on broader coverage for mitigation.
- Will allow more aggressive treatment locally.
- Passed in both the House and Senate
Other Legislation Needed
- Education and prevention funding (e.g. increase grants to Lake Host program as well as other opportunities to inform both residents and visitors).