Conservation Journal: Erin

The Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) is an AmeriCorps service program that develops skills and experiences for conservation professionals. LRCC members are the driving force behind the Squam Lakes Association’s conservation efforts. The program provides hands-on conservation work experience and numerous certifications over a broad range of areas, which ensures that LRCC members are capable of independently approaching a variety of tasks in the environmental conservation field. Members remove invasive species from the Squam watershed, manage and act as caretakers at our backcountry campsites, maintain the SLA’s 50+ miles of trails, educate the public on local and regional conservation initiatives, spearhead reports on conservation efforts, lead SLA volunteer crews and ensure the daily functioning of the Squam Lakes Association’s programs. Click here to learn more about the LRCC program.

July 30, 2018

Erin

One of the most significant moments for me this summer happened back in June. We (meaning the dive crew for that day) were heading out for one of the first milfoil removal and survey days of the year. We were heading to the Squam River to dive in the coves. When I was an intern back in 2016 these coves were FULL of milfoil, with large patches of milfoil over 6 feet high. I was fully prepared to spend the entire day gleefully use our DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvester) to tackle there large patches of the evil milfoil.

Our first diver hopped into the water to start checking things out while we got everyone else prepared for the removal process on the topside of our beloved Mille, the milfoil removal boat. After thirty minutes, our diver had yet to find a milfoil plant in that cove… I was absolutely flabbergasted that by the end of the diver’s survey there only seemed to be a few very small plants in the cove. This is when I realized how much more faith I should have been putting in our efforts!! I mean, I expected the milfoil to be significantly reduced from 2016, and knew that in previous years the invasion has been drastically shrinking on Squam, but to see that kind of improvement, right in front of my eyes, in just a two year span of time blew me away. Some of the AmeriCorps members have even been complaining about somewhat “boring” dive days because all they do is survey for milfoil and find maybe one or two plants! Now, of course there are still some areas that are hard hit with the milfoil, but the significance of this change is that we can now spend even more time in these places, getting rid of some of the last remaining large patches of this aquatic weed.

While my future work will hopefully be more closely tied to the field of marine biology and coral reefs, I can only hope to continue to be able to carry out conservation efforts that are as efficient and right at the heart of the issues as those we do at the Squam Lakes Association. I love the hands on aspect of working with non-profits as driven as the SLA, and know that this will remain to be the case as it expands with the AmeriCorps program further, and they will keep hammering out conservation efforts year-round.

Erin is from Dallas, Texas. This is Erin's second summer with the Squam Lakes Association and first summer with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps. She graduated from University of Texas-Austin with a degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology. Click here to read Erin's bio.

Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.

 

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