2015 Committee Chair and Coordinators: Maryanne O’Brien and Patti Lennon
2015 Paid Greeter Staff: Maura Gahan, Cheryl Hryckiewicz, and V Pierce
2015 Volunteer Greeter Staff: Ann Beams, Lee Topshe, Patti Lennon, Maryanne O’Brien, and Terry O’Brien
2016 Committee Chair and Coordinators: Terry and Jean O’Brien
This program is funded in part by a Watershed Management Grant
The purpose of the Vermont Boat Access Greeter Program is to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). An invasive species is nearly impossible to eradicate once introduced, so early detection and spread prevention by citizen monitoring efforts are critically important.
Boat access greeters, who are trained at State of Vermont sponsored workshops, do the following:
- Offer visual inspections of boats and associated equipment to locate and remove any plant material or animals.
- Educate water users on Vermont’s spread prevention laws, the importance of spread prevention, and the ease with which one can clean and maintain recreational equipment.
A critical function of the Echo Lake Protective Association is to fund and maintain a core of individuals who serve as access greeters for Echo Lake to keep our waters pristine. Dues, donations, and watershed and aquatic nuisance grants fund the program. In addition, some of our association members volunteer their time as trained greeters.
In 2015 we manned the Access Greeter Program from May 22 through September 13, inspecting boats going in and coming out of the lake, as requested by the State of Vermont. Volunteers worked a total of 98 hours at the access, which is down from 149 hours in 2014.
Our paid greeters worked Wednesday through Sunday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and volunteers worked on Mondays and Tuesdays. Saturdays tended to be the busiest days and the 4th of July was the busiest, with 35 boats.
Paid staff and volunteers logged a total of 846 boats putting in at the access. Eighteen of the boats we checked this year had some kind of weeds, and in two of these instances the weeds tested positive as Eurasian Watermilfoil. Thanks to our watchful greeters, both of these boats were caught while they were launching. Suspected Milfoil samples were sent to the State for positive ID. Forty-nine (5.7%) of all boats that launched at Echo Lake in 2015 use lakes that are infested with Eurasian Watermilfoil.
This summer our greeters also checked for a new AIS threat, spiny water flea, which has been found in Lake Champlain. It is very hard to detect and can live for days on wet equipment such as anchor lines and fishing equipment. The introduction of spiny water fleas is especially bad news for Vermont, as their presence could exacerbate the problem of excess algae growth caused by high phosphorus levels. In addition they deplete the food supply in lakes, and scientists think that could affect the survival of young fish.
Changing of the guard. After 7 years of dedicated service, Maryanne O’Brien and Patti Lennon are retiring as Committee Chair and Coordinators of the Echo Lake Access Greeter Program. We owe them a debt of gratitude for all the good work they did. Terry and Jean O’Brien have graciously taken on the mantle as our new Committee Chair and Coordinators.
If you would like to help out and volunteer as an Access Greeter for 2016, contact Terry O’Brien at TObrien@echolakeassociation.net