Staff report

The Lewis Creek Association (LCA) will continue its efforts to combat aquatic invasive plant species in the Lewis Creek watershed, thanks to a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Lewis Creek Boat launch

Photo contributed

In a June 7 press release, LCA announced it was awarded funding to continue its Boat Launch Steward Program at Bristol Pond and to establish a second program at Monkton Pond. The boat launch stewards greet boaters as they arrive at the ponds and offer to inspect their boats for aquatic invasive species, as well as collect data on where the boat has been and how many aquatic organisms were encountered.
Invasive plants, which outcompete native plants by forming dense mats of vegetation, are known to degrade ecosystems and wildlife habitats and impede recreational boaters, swimmers and anglers. The troublesome plants are spread via seeds, roots, fragments, animals and humans.

Monkton Pond and Bristol Pond are known to be menaced by invasive species such as European frogbit, Eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed. The two popular recreational sites could serve as “points of introduction” for the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Lewis Creek watershed and throughout the state, the LCA said.

The boat launch stewards educate boat owners on how to prevent the spread of AIS through proper techniques for cleaning, draining and drying boats and boating equipment before moving to a different water body. Even swimsuits and life jackets can carry microscopic organisms such as the fishhook waterflea, which was recently found in Lake Champlain, the LCA said.
According to the press release, LCA’s boat launch stewards interacted with 570 watercraft last summer and directly prevented at least 63 potential AIS infestations to other waterbodies.

For more information about the Boat Launch Stewards Program, contact Kate Kelly, Program Manager for Lewis Creek Association, (802) 488-5203.