LACONIA — Memorial Day weekend not only signifies the start of the recreational boating season, it also marks the official start of the New Hampshire Lakes Association (NH LAKES) Lake Host Program. This summer, approximately 750 Lake Hosts stationed at 105 of the most highly used boat ramps throughout the state will teach boaters how to clean, drain, and dry their boats to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species from water body to water body.
Aquatic invasive species can be spread between water bodies on boating, fishing, and recreational equipment. Once in a water body, they can cause serious problems. Not only do these species crowd out native plants and animals, they affect people by degrading boating, swimming, and fishing areas, and by reducing shoreline property values and tourism. Last summer 750 Lake Hosts working in partnership with 82 local groups performed over 83,500 courtesy boat inspections and captured 58 fragments of invasive species that were hitchhiking on boats and trailers.
Through the "Clean, Drain, and Dry" approach, Lake Hosts encourage boaters to always take time to do the following before and after boating to prevent invasive plants and animals from hitchhiking a ride into waterways: clean off any plants, animals, mud, and other debris from your boat, trailer, and recreational gear; drain your boat (bilge, engine, and ballast tanks), trailer, and equipment away from the water; dry anything that came in contact with the water--at least five days of drying time is best.
"Through the Lake Host Program, we have met thousands of boaters over the years that have told us how much they appreciate learning what they can do to help protect the lakes and ponds they love from devastating aquatic invasive species like milfoil and zebra mussels," commented Andrea LaMoreaux, Vice President of the New Hampshire Lakes Association. "We thank all boaters for always taking the time to clean, drain, and dry their boat, trailer and gear before and after boating."
The Lake Host Program is funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, private foundations, and local groups. Since 2002, Lake Hosts, have conducted approximately 664,579 courtesy boat inspections and captured 1,467 pieces of hitchhiking invasive plants and animals before they were able to infest N.H. water bodies.
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