Milfoil Management on Squam

Background

Variable milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) has been in New Hampshire since the late 1960s and is currently found in 64 waterbodies throughout the state. It was first identified in Squam during the summer of 2000. 

Variable milfoil is a submerged aquatic plant characterized by feathery leaflets surrounding a thick, reddish main stem. Milfoil prefers to grow in relatively calm and shallow (less than 20 feet) waters. Though milfoil can produce seeds, the primary form of reproduction and cause of spreading are fragments that break off the plant and grow roots. Variable is a prolific plant; it can grow up to an inch per day and can reproduce from fragments that are as small as several inches. Boats, wind, current, and waterfowl transport these fragments and spread the plant to previously unimpacted areas. Fragments can also stow away in boats, trailers and fishing tackle where they could potential spread to unaffected bodies of water.

Because of variable milfoil's rapid reproductive cycle and the fact that there is not an abundance of natural predators, this invasive species can spread rapidly through a waterbody. It can displace beneficial native vegetation and quickly become a monoculture. It can negatively impact native species, recreation and even property values around infected lakes.

Learn more by downloading the NH DES Factsheet on variable milfoil.

Management methods

In 2012 the SLA removed more than 3500 gallons of variable milfoil from the Squam Lakes. This record breaking year was a result of our successful Squam Conservation Internship Program and our milfoil control boat, Millie, which houses a Diver Assisted Suction Harvester (DASH)--see photo below and left. This unit, designed by SLA Director of Recreation Brett Durham, is the most efficient method we have identified to remove variable milfoil from Squam. The DASH unit has a suction hose that scuba divers carry into large milfoil infestations. While underwater, the divers harvest milfoil by the roots and feed the material into the suction hose. Milfoil material is then transported through the hose where it is processed aboard Millie (photo below and right). The DASH unit allows divers to remove large quantities of milfoil while maintaining underwater visibility. For smaller infestations, scuba divers remove milfoil plants by hand, place the plant material in a mesh bag and carry the bags to the surface. The SLA has also used benthic barriers, herbicides and lake drawdown to manage variable milfoil.

Click here to view a map of all the milfoil management zones of 2016.

Aquatic Invasive Species Reports

What you can do

Site Specific Milfoil History

Bennett Cove

2017 Bennett Cove Milfoil Management 

2016 Bennett Cove Milfoil Management

2012 Bennett Cove Milfoil Management

Dog Cove

2017 Dog Cove Milfoil Management 

2016 Dog Cove Milfoil Management

2012 Dog Cove Milfoil Management 

2010 Dog and Grapevine Coves Milfoil Management

Grapevine Cove

2017 Grapevine Cove Milfoil Management 

2016 Grapevine Cove Milfoil Management

2012 Grapevine Cove Milfoil Management

2010 Grapevine and Dog Coves Milfoil Management

Little Squam and the Channel 

2017 Asquam Marina Milfoil Management

2016 Asquam Marina Milfoil Management

2012 Little Squam, the Channel, Squam River Milfoil Management

2010 Little Squam Milfoil Management

Squam River

2017 Squam River Milfoil Management 

2016 Squam River Milfoil Management