CONTACT:
Jane Vachon, NHF&G: (603) 271-3211
Jody Connor, DES: (603) 271-3414
Amy Smagula, DES: (603) 271-2248
June 13, 2003

Before You Boat -- Know What You Tote

CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department today issued an advisory to boaters who launch craft into New Hampshire waterways to take care not to bring along nuisance plants and animals. Aquatic invasive species like milfoil and zebra mussels can easily be transported by boats, motors, trailers, fishing equipment, bait buckets, diving gear and other aquatic recreational equipment. These organisms can wreak havoc in lakes, ponds and rivers by choking waterways through explosive growth, fouling intake and discharge structures, lowering lakefront property values, and possibly harming native fish, plants and insects. Once established in a waterbody, they are nearly impossible to eradicate.

When you do head out for the water this year, don't be surprised if you are greeted at the boat launch by a local "Lake Host" - a person on duty to check your craft for nuisance invasive plants before you launch. At more than 40 New Hampshire lakes, people are stationed at boat launches to provide a courtesy inspection and educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of exotic species. They are on the watch for the spread of variable milfoil, already established in New Hampshire, as well as preventing the introduction of other invasives like hydrilla -- now present in Maine and Massachusetts -- and Brazilian elodea, which first appeared in New Hampshire in 2001.

"There's no question that milfoil is one of the greatest threats to the quality of New Hampshire's lakes, ponds, and waterways," said Jody Connor, Director of the Department of Environmental Services (DES) Limnology Center, which tests biological samples from freshwater lakes around the Granite State. "Checking your boat and motor for milfoil and other weeds should be as automatic for boaters as fastening a seat belt is for automobile drivers."

Here's how you can help to prevent the spread of exotic weeds and other pests:

  • Look for "Warning Signs" for exotic species near boat launch sites.
  • Hand-remove all materials (plant or animal) from equipment. Don't throw the material back into the water! Dispose of it far away from the water. Pay special attention to the bunks or rollers where the boat is seated on the trailer.
  • Wash and dry all equipment before reuse. Hose off the boat, diving gear or trailer.
  • Drain and flush the engine cooling system and live wells of your boat, your bait buckets and the buoyancy control device from diving equipment that's been in contact with an infested waterbody (to protect against the spread of zebra mussels).
  • Help spread the word -- Know What You Tote. For a list of exotic aquatic species regulated within New Hampshire, visit www.des.state.nh.us/wmb/exoticspecies.

For more information on boating in New Hampshire and what you can do to help prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants and animals, click here.

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

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