Once aquatic nuisance species become established in a waterbody, they are very difficult or even impossible to remove, and very costly to control and manage. Spread prevention relies on early detection, rapid response to new threats, and educational programs. Also aiding in spread prevention are strict laws and regulation prohibiting transport of any plant material or animal between waterbodies and requirements that all gear and vessels be inspected and cleaned. Check out the Vermont laws regarding aquatic invasive species.
Lake Champlain is home to some 50 aquatic invasive species. Those of highest priority to control and to prevent any further spread include:
Check ou the full list and pictures of all the known invasive species in Lake Champlain.
Of these, only Eurasian Watermilfoil has established an infestation in Lake Iroquois. However, with Lake Champlain less than 10 miles away, there is always a concern that other invasives could be carried into the lake. Inspection and cleaning of all boats and gears coming into and leaving the lake is the best prevention.
Vermont is home to some 800 inland lakes and ponds, the “big lake” Lake Champlain, and thousands of rivers and streams. Nearly all of these waterbodies are public waters, open and accessible to all. This is a wonderful resource for the people of Vermont but it requires that all of us be responsible to protect this precious resource. The following programs do much but it takes all of us to insure that our waters continue to be protected not only for us today but for future generations.
Greeters are stationed at the Lake Iroquois Public Access Friday – Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with additional hours around the July 4 holiday. The pressurized hot-water boat wash station is open whenever greeters are present. Vermont law requires that all boats be inspected and washed if a greeter deems it necessary.
This is a volunteer program sponsored the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. The Lake Iroquois VIPs are trained to regularly survey the lake to detect the presence of any invasives.
In addition to the pressurized hot-water boat wash station at the Lake Iroquois public access, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation sponsors a cooperative boat wash program which helps boaters find car washes in the area that are suitable for pressure washing boats. Details about this program can be found at:
- Remove any visible vegetation, animals, mud, & dirt from your boat, trailer, boots, fishing gear, and all equipment exposed to the water. Make sure to dispose of anything at least 200 feet from the shoreline.
- Drain any water from the motors, jet drives, live wells, bilge, & ballast tanks of your boat.
- Check your hull for any rough or gritty spots, which could be young zebra mussels. Clean your hull & any equipment, including your boat's live wells, bilge or ballast tanks, with hot water (at least 140 degrees F). If hot water isn't available, use a hose with a spray nozzle to increase the water pressure. Or use one of the car washes in the cooperative boat wash program noted above.
- Check and clean your vehicle bumper, trailer, lights, and axle for vegetation that might have caught onto your trailer or tow vehicle at the ramp. Again, be sure to dispose of anything found far from the shoreline.
- Empty canoes & kayaks of any water when you pull them from the water.
- Drain foul weather gear including your boots, bibs & waders.
- Pay attention to your anchor, dock lines, & other equipment that spends a lot of time in the water.
- Don't release unused bait into the waters you're fishing; dump it into a trash can or on land far away from any water body. Be aware of any bait regulations, & don't use live bait in waters where it's prohibited.
- Make sure your boat & other equipment are allowed to dry for at least 48 hours and before using in a different waterway.
- Know the regulations & inspection procedures at the waterways you're visiting before you go.
(From Boat U.S. Magazine January 2009)