Vermont Invasive Patroller Program

Chair: Peggy Stevens

Volunteers:  Lori Kempton, Patti Lennon, Larry Martin, Maryanne O’Brien, Eric Stevens, Peggy Stevens, Cindy Swanson, Amy Wagner, Tom Wagner,

The Watershed Management Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) promotes the Vermont Invasive Patroller Program, which relies on volunteers to monitor water bodies for new introductions of invasive species, and report their findings to the DEC.

The Echo Lake Protective Association organizes a volunteer staff of lakebed surveyors, many of whom are  trained Vermont Invasive Patrollers (see list below). These volunteers conduct an Aquatic Plant Survey twice during the summer months, and record what plants are generally found in each section of the lake.

In summer of 2015 a total of 31 volunteer hours were used to survey the lake, covering about 70% of the lakeshore, and no invasive aquatic species were noted in the areas surveyed. Although not an aquatic plant it was observed that Japanese knotweed is taking hold in some spots along the waterfront and could present a lakeshore infestation problem in the future.

The species type and distribution of plants in the lakebed varies from year to year. This year we noted that predominant species are in the pondweed family and wild celery with lesser density of native plants here and there. Inlets seem to be more nutrient rich with the greatest density of weedy growth. The major inlet at White Birch Lodge, however, has much less density of growth than surveyed in previous years. We don’t know if it is because of decreased nutrients coming in from Seymour Lake, because of the significant sand runoff from the bridge, or because of some other reason.

We need more volunteers for 2016. The Vermont Invasive Patrollers program is very important to the defense of the lake from invasive species. That portions of the lake were not surveyed this year is of some concern in that our boat access greeters did intercept 2 boats that tested positive year for Eurasian Watermilfoil.

2016 VIP Workshop
Echo Lake residents, John Wall, Holly Bull, Peter Bestenbostel, and Susan Czerepak joined Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation staff on June 24, 2016 for the 2016 VIP workshop offered through the Vermont Invasive Patrollers (VIP).  VIP workshops covered such fundamentals as the difference between native, exotic, nuisance and invasive species; how invasive species are introduced and established; how to differentiate native aquatic plants and animals from their invasive lookalikes (plants will be emphasized); and how to conduct surveys for aquatic invasive species in lakes and ponds.
The 2.5-hour VIP workshop, hosted by the Memphremagog Watershed Association, included classroom time and an optional site visit to view starry stonewort, a new to Vermont invasive macro algae.   2016 marks VIP’s 10th year.
As Association members, it would be helpful if we each could take responsibility for our own stretch of lakebed. During the summer, we all spend a good deal of our time on or in the water. Devoting a few hours of that time as VIPs would benefit us all. Become familiar with the native plants that help to create a healthy lakebed habitat. If you find something unfamiliar, call Peggy Stevens or another trained VIPs listed below who can help to identify plant species and rule out any concerns. Although it isn’t necessary, all lakeshore property owners are encouraged to become trained VIPs.

The Vermont Management Division sponsors Vermont Invasive Patroller workshops that cover:

  • The fundamentals of lake ecology
  • The difference between native, exotic, nuisance and invasive species
  • How invasive species are introduced and established
  • How to identify common aquatic plants and animals, both native and invasive (the latter are emphasized)
  • How to conduct surveys for invasive species in their natural habitat

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Peggy Stevens at PStevens@echotakeassocition.net. Even if you’re not trained as a patroller, you can help!

Trained VIPs:  Patti Lennon, Maryanne O’Brien, Eric Stevens, Peggy Stevens, Tom Wagner, Amy Wagner, Larry Martin, Cindy Swanson

Here are helpful links: