The 2016 season marked another year of successful milfoil management on the Squam Lakes. The unseasonably mild winter conditions and early ice-out in the spring of 2016 did result in winter grow-back of variable milfoil across the Squam waterbodies. Fortunately, our team of Squam Conservation Interns (SCI), the primary workforce behind our milfoil removal program, zealously tackled the substantial grow-back. Our interns ultimately removed 3,717 gallons of milfoil over the course of the summer months. Only 2% of the 3,717 gallons of milfoil removed in 2016 was from Squam Lake, which indicates that milfoil growth in Squam Lake continues to be easily managed. In 2015 and 2016 our interns only used the hand-pulling method of milfoil removal in Squam Lake. The hand-pulling method is used for removing small and sporadic milfoil plants, in contrast to the Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) method, which is used for large infestations. The use of hand-pulling is therefore further indication of sparse and controlled milfoil growth in Squam Lake. The controlled nature of the growth in Big Squam and Little Squam allows our interns to dedicate more time to the large infestations found in the Squam River. The majority of the milfoil removed in 2016 was from the Squam River, which constituted over 90% of the milfoil removed. We continue to tackle the milfoil growth in the Squam River with our DASH system. In 2016, we observed decreases in milfoil growth in Cove 3 and we continued to see low growth levels in Cove 1. We hope these milfoil levels are a sign that the milfoil growth in the Squam River are becoming more manageable. For 2017, we also hope for a late ice-out and another wonderful team of interns!
In 2016 we also ran Weed Watcher Mornings each Saturday during the summer months. These training events taught Squam Lake enthusiasts the basics of underwater ecology and how to identify both native and nonnative plants, such as milfoil. While our intern crew focuses primarily on milfoil removal, our volunteer Weed Watchers are the first line of defense for previously undetected invasive species growth. Once trained, Weed Watchers scan the shoreline and shallow areas in search of suspicious plant growth.
Another ally in the fight against milfoil in 2016 was the Ashland Elementary School fifth grade class. SLA Director of Conservation Rebecca Hanson visited these dedicated students in the fall and discussed milfoil and its impact to the lake. These students then took action by writing to local papers and reaching out to local audiences, helping to spread the SLA’s message and call for help.
2016 Site Specific Milfoil Reports:
- Dog Cove Milfoil Management
- Bennett Cove Milfoil Management
- Grapevine Cove Milfoil Management
- Asquam Marina Milfoil Management
- Squam River Milfoil Management
Learn more about invasive species, variable milfoil, and the SLA’s efforts to control invasive species in the Squam Lakes:
Milfoil Removal on Squam (including site-specific removal reports)
Find a Weed Watcher Morning: These training events will be held around the Squam Lakes in June, July, and August.