On April 17, 2021, Nottingham, the town, held its first ever Deliberative Session (DS). In contrast to the traditional annual town meeting, which the town had had for 298 years, DS could discuss and amend the Warrant Articles (WA) but they could not be voted upon. Voting would be done on the election on Tuesday, June 8th, 2021. With this in mind, this is the third in a series of articles on the individual WA. The proposition of these reports is that the more informed the voters are, the better decisions they make.
Here is the actual Article as it would appear on the ballot. “Article #18: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Dollars) to be added to the Invasive Species Prevention and Eradication Removal Expendable Trust Fund previously established. Majority Vote Required. The estimated tax impact is $0.013 per $1,000 of property valuation.<
The Select Board recommends this appropriation (5-0).
The Budget Committee recommends this appropriation (10-1).”
To gain more information on Article #18, this reporter sat down with Dee-Ann Decker on Wednesday morning, May 19, 2021, at the Community Center. We both wore masks and were more than 6 feet apart, Decker holds two positions extremely relevant to this article. For New Hampshire Lakes Association’s Lake Host Program, she is the local coordinator. She is also Vice President of the Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association (PLIA). She coordinates the Lake Host program on Pawtuckaway Lake. Here is the definition of it. “The NH LAKES’ Lake Host™ Program is a courtesy boat inspection and public education program whose goal is to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.”
Decker immediately pointed out that Article #18 covered all Nottingham waterways. She says “Nottingham has many bodies of water including North River Lake, Nottingham Lake, Round Pond, Pawtuckaway Lake and other smaller ponds, rivers and streams that are on both public and private property. These water bodies are in danger of aquatic plants and animals that are invasive (nonnative) which could make them uninhabitable to native species of plants and animals.” Furthermore, ”the aquatic invasive species trust fund is for all water bodies in Nottingham. Pawtuckaway Lake is the largest and most heavily used having the public boat launch at Fundy, the town beach and the state park.”
She continued. “Invasive species are not just plants but animals too and these animals are spread by water droplets in boats, dry wells, coolers, buckets and ballast tanks. The best way to keep from spreading them is to rinse everything that comes in contact with water with high pressure clean water and is allowed to dry for at least 5 days.” She cited the Lake Host Program is not just j boat inspection but also education. She noted Pawtuckaway has a team of NH LAKES Lake Hosts that educate boaters on invasive plants and animals at the public boat ramps at both the State Park and at Fundy. The Lake Host team is the front line in preventing invasive from entering Pawtuckaway Lake but also any water body that people may visit in the future, public or private. Prevention costs far less than eradication!”
She talked about that in 2020, Lake Hosts inspected over 15,000 boat inspections at the Fundy Boat launch. This was up from 11,000 inspections there in 2019. She attributed the increase to the pandemic and the many first-time boat owners this year. The educational work done by Lake Hosts is particularly valuable for those new water craft owners.
Decker said, “Pawtuckaway Lake has been infested with variable milfoil and we - the Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association (PLIA) - have a team of watchers, divers and specially trained SCUBA divers for removal that diligently checks known areas and removes what it finds. What many may not realize is that variable milfoil is not the only aquatic invasive species in Nottingham. We also have purple loosestrife, phragmites and Chinese mystery snails. The way this invasive species spread is by a watercraft that moves from water body to water body without being checked or cleaned and carried on waterfowl.”
She concluded, ”Funding invasive species control is the responsibility of the town where it is located, and the most effective way of controlling spread is prevention. The Nottingham Invasive Species Prevention and Eradication Removal Expendable Trust Fund is designed to increase funds each year so that if/when the Town needs to eradicate an invasive species, funds are available. These funds are not just for Pawtuckaway Lake but for all water bodies in Nottingham. Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association has requested and received funds from the Town for our Lake Host Program and we greatly appreciate it. These funds are matched by PLIA members and are added to a grant from NH LAKES to fund our Lake Host Program. The PLIA has not requested any funds to help remove the milfoil, phragmites or purple loosestrife. All time and equipment have either been donated or paid for by other grants.
Please vote in favor of Warrant Article 18 on the ballot June 8th to help keep all water bodies in Nottingham free of aquatic invasive pests!”