Milfoil back strong in Wolfeboro's Back Bay
“It was really astounding to me how rapidly this plant can multiply under the right growing conditions,” said Ken Marschner, chairman of both the Wolfeboro Milfoil Committee and the Milfoil Joint Board, a tri-town collaborative involving Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Moultonborough.
Weather conditions combined to form the “perfect storm” for milfoil regrowth, said Marschner. And Wolfeboro is not alone. Representatives from lake and milfoil committees through the state are reporting milfoil growth from Ossipee Lake to the Squam Lakes to the north and in water bodies in Hollis and Merrimack.
“The growth potential under the right conditions is an inch a day,” he said. Marschner, a retired chemist who formerly worked with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, has testified before the Legislature on various bills related to invasive milfoil funding and treatments.
This past spring, divers and volunteers with the Joint Board's DASH unit (Diver Assisted Suction Harvester) collected 21,240 gallons of milfoil from the Back Bay and Wolfeboro Bay. The load was hauled to Spider Web Gardens in Tuftonboro and turned into compost.
Two weeks ago, Marschner, Wolfeboro selectmen Chairman Linda Murray, divers and volunteers showed state officials the Back Bay infestation and DASH unit operation. Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, Rep. D.L. Chris Christensen, R-Merrimack, of the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee, and Bob Reynolds, Ossipee Lake Alliance director, took the tour.
Milfoil Committee members concur the two weapons in the war against milfoil include more money and a streamlined DES application process for towns with state-approved milfoil treatment plans in place.
Marschner said the town committee plans to request double the $16,800 it received last year. He said Moultonborough has committed a lot of money to milfoil control — $200,000 for each of the last three years. Tuftonboro allocated $45,000 and also received matching funds from the DES, as did Wolfeboro.
Both legislators agreed that invasive milfoil poses a threat to the economic health of not only the Lakes Region, but also across the state.
“There is no question that in the Lakes Region, and anywhere where there is shorefront property, the consequences of having milfoil spread are really significant,” Bradley said in an interview Friday.
According to an Ossipee Lake Alliance-commissioned study, in 2011, the state provided only $90,000 to communities for milfoil control efforts; municipal funding accounted for $347,000 of the total and private funding accounted for $357,000 of the total $794,000 expended in 2011. Reynolds said the total spending needs to double, with more resources needed from the state.
The legislators agree, but the mechanism for additional funding is unclear at this point.
“No question we need more money,” said Christensen. “I think broadening the base is the way to go. We need something simple.”
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Larissa Mulkern may be reached at LMulkern@newstote.com.
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