Divers will be out in Lake Winnisquam this summer removing invasive milfoil by hand. It’s the first comprehensive attempt to manage the weed in New Hampshire’s fourth-largest lake.
The newly formed Winnisquam Watershed Network got $46,000 in state and local funds for the project.
They’ll send out divers from now until September to remove the feathery milfoil from mucky shoreline areas by pulling it out at the roots. They’ll also use suction hoses and, later this fall, herbicide on some denser growths.
Network president Lisa Eggleston says before now, the five towns around the lake - Meredith, Laconia, Tilton, Sanborn and Belmont - were tackling milfoil in a patchwork way.
"If you don't manage the entire thing, it's kind of a spit in the bucket,” she says. “The milfoil does move – it gets chopped up by boat motors, and it drifts and it finds another place to settle in."
She says Winnisquam isn't yet as badly affected by invasive species like milfoil or zebra mussels as some other lakes in the region – and they want to keep it that way.
"We don't want it to spread within the lake, and we don't want it to go affect somebody else,” Eggleston says.
That also means educating boaters about cleaning invasive species off their boats, and planning more regular, large-scale milfoil management in future years.