A $2 dollar increase in the boat registration fee – which would bring the total to $9.50 – is headed to the governor for her signature. The extra fee would be used to give lake towns a boost in their efforts to fight invasive weeds. A proposed $2 increase in boat registration fees would go primarily toward controlling milfoil in the 70 lakes and rivers already infested with the plant.
Boat registrations in New Hampshire generate around $150,000 dollars for grants to towns to fight “exotic aquatics,” but according to data compiled by the advocacy group Fair Funding for Invasive Control, those grants only account for 18 percent of what's being spent to clean up these invasive weeds. Local taxes cover 48 percent of that cost and donations 34 percent.
“A lot of people who are engaged in the battle against aquatic invasive species, feel that the state should pay more,” says Bob Reynolds President of the group. “It is their water, they own the water and the land underneath it, and they should be footing more of the bill.”
Reynolds says 80 percent of boaters who responded to a non-scientific survey were in favor of the increase as long as the money was used to control invasive lake weeds.
“Boating is a luxury sport, it’s like golf,” he says, “and you think of the cost of adding $2 a year to the cost of what it takes to maintain a boat and enjoy it for the summer that’s a very tiny percentage of the cost.”
The change will generate $200,000 dollars a year in new funds. There are 70 lakes and rivers in New Hampshire that are infested with milfoil, though only 49 of them are being treated for the infestations.
The Senate gave the bill its final approval on Thursday and the governor has given no indication that she would veto the change.