Invasive aquatic species have been the big topic this week, in news papers, mailings and MPAction!
~ The Central Mass chapter of the Congress of Lake and Pond Association (MaCOLAP), in this week’s mailing for membership renewal gave a News Alert!! of the Laurel Lake zebra mussel discovery and noted the MaCOLAP directors are supporting the proposed Senate Bill 2113.
Bill 2113 looks to protect our lakes and ponds but realistically I question whether it could ever be successful. In essence, the bill makes it a criminal offense to put a contaminated boat in a lake or river in the Commonweath. That means if your boat or trailer has any weeds -invasive species -not only zebra mussels but a piece of milfoil or fanwort or Asian Clam, you could be fined or imprisoned.
Take a look at the bill for yourself:
An Act protecting lakes and ponds.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 90B of the 2008 official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following section:-
Section 5D. No one shall place a vessel that is contaminated with an invasive species or that has been exposed to contaminated waters in the last thirty days and has not been properly decontaminated upon the inland waters of the commonwealth. For the purposes of this section, invasive species is defined as an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
Section 2. Notwithstanding section 14 of chapter 90B of the Massachusetts General Laws, whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than three hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than sixty days or both.
How would this be monitored and enforced. Most of the time our public access ramps are open and unattended. Environmental police, desperately needed for boating safety, are already in short supply. A criminal offense… imprisonment for 60 days!
I would rather see the bill focus on expanding the current DCR Lakes and Ponds Program Boat Ramp Monitoring Program – train boat ramp monitors and gatekeepers, work with towns and lake associations to expand current outreach and successes to educate boaters. Set up boat wash stations making it easy and obvious what boaters need to do to prevent the spread. Educate!
~ This week’s Telegram article talks about the burden of lake associations and lakeshore property owners who bear the brunt of taking care of our lakes and ponds: monitor weeds and funding studies, spending man-hours mapping and harvesting, paying and raising the funds to keep invasives at a minimuim.
Thankfully, for years the MPA had the dam caretaker’s cooperation in addressing our weed issue with a successful lake level drawdown program. With that being lost the past few years we are seeing a huge surge in weeds on Manchaug.
This summer the MPA hired professionals to do another weed study of Manchaug Pond ($800 I believe was the price tag.) Conservation Commission had asked for updated information last fall when the waterlevel and drawdown was an issue. MPA had to present documentation from a previous study that fanwort is present as it is an invasive successfully controlled by lakelevel drawdown. In our study this summer, the “subsequent vegetation management options” calls for yearly monitoring, hand harvesting of some and if drawdown isn’t an option recommends chemical management at a price tag of $95,000 every other year for the fanwort and $10,000 to $15,000 every year for the Variable Milfoil. Manchaug has never been chemically treated, and MPA continues to work to minimize the causes and promote other effective tools such as hand harvesting of new infestations and proper lake-level drawdown.
~ Further, the study states “due to the apparent favorable conditions for invasive species, and traffic from non-resident boaters, the lake has the potential to contract other even more aggressive species.” Hydrilla to be specific. Swell! Asian Clam was brought in last fall at the boat ramp.
Try this article in section B, page 5 of today’s Blackstone Valley News Tribune.
Section B, Page 5
~And THEN, with all that… I’ll see you all at the Boat Ramp as we hand pull those emergent aquatic invasives – common reed, loosestrife, canary reed grass, etc.