Weed Watchers

Invasive aquatic plants have been a problem in New Hampshire and Maine lakes for several decades. It often takes only a small portion of an invasive plant to take root in our waters. Early detection of invasive aquatic plants ensures the most effective control because once an invader is well established, eradication is extremely difficult and costly, if not impossible.

The purpose of the Weed Watcher program is to survey our lake for invasive aquatic plants in order to be able to take action early. This program has been active for many years and utilizes volunteers in kayaks. The challenge was that Great East Lake has 17 miles of shoreline and many areas were not surveyed frequently enough.

In 2018, GELIA modified a pontoon boat for this purpose. The “Weed Warrior” has light wells in order to make it similar to a glass-bottom boat and makes viewing the bottom of the lake more effective. The Weed Warrior now surveys the vast majority of the shoreline every year. However, very shallow areas and areas containing a high plant density cannot be reached by the weed warrior and require the use of kayaks.

You can help to protect our lake by surveying the area around your property. If you do find something suspicious, do not attempt to pull it. Take a picture, collect a representative sample (preferably with any flowers), wrap it in a moist paper towel, seal it in a plastic baggie and refrigerate it. Be sure to mark the place where you found it because if it is found to be invasive, experts will want to look over the area and remove all suspected plants. Learn more about identifying and reporting invasive aquatic species here.

In addition, before launching your boat and after taking it out, you should:

  • Clean off any plants, animals, mud and other debris from your boat, trailer and recreational gear.
  • Wash and drain your boat (bilge, live wells and ballast tanks), trailer, and equipment away from the water.
  • Dry anything that came in contact with the water. At least five days drying time is best.

We welcome volunteers! If you would like to volunteer as a Weed Watcher, please contact us. It’s a great way to meet people and feel part of the Great East Lake community.

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