Continuing with its focus on strategic long-term milfoil management for all of Lake Winnisquam, the Winnisquam Watershed Network (WWN) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded an Exotic Plant Control Grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. This award of $11,380 for the management of variable milfoil in Lake Winnisquam catapults the WWN forward in taking its first step to address invasive milfoil growth across the entire lake. Variable milfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that spreads rapidly and ousts beneficial native plant life, impacting water quality and aquatic habitat. It also makes swimming difficult and can devalue waterfront property.
The Winnisquam Watershed Network was formed in July 2017 with a mission to preserve and protect Lake Winnisquam for future generations. According to Lisa Eggleston, WWN President, milfoil management efforts on Winnisquam in recent years have been performed on a site-specific (spot-treatment) basis, depending on who had the resources and the wherewithal to get it done. Meanwhile, the milfoil infestations in areas that were not consistently treated have increased in size and density, and pose an ongoing risk of continued spreading to other parts of the lake. One of the first priorities of the WWN is the coordination and implementation of a strategic long-term milfoil management plan for all of Lake Winnisquam. The group believes that this, in conjunction with the prevention, public education and early detection measures that they will also implement, will be the most successful and cost-effective means of preventing the spread of variable milfoil in the lake and limiting its impact in areas that have already been infested.
Working with the WWN, staff from the Exotic Species Program of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) surveyed the lake in 2017 and mapped locations of variable milfoil throughout the shoreline areas of Lake Winnisquam. NHDES subsequently prepared a 2018 Long-Term Variable Milfoil Management Plan for Lake Winnisquam, calling for a controlled herbicide application in areas with the densest infestation (approximately 21 acres), and up to 25 days of professional diver-assisted harvesting in additional areas of milfoil growth.
The WWN has obtained competitive bids for the recommended work and estimates the total cost of the program for the 2018 growing season at $45,519. In addition to the NHDES grant covering 25 percent of the program costs, the WWN has requested local matches from each of the five municipalities bordering the lake, and is soliciting additional grants and donations to help fund the program. Donations (payable to Winnisquam Watershed Network) can be mailed to PO Box 502 Winnisquam, NH 03289, or made online at www.winnisquamwatershed.org. Together, we can all make a difference to preserve and protect our great lake!