Invasive species fall into two categories, terrestrial and aquatic.
Terrestrial Invasive Species (TIS)
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
The Invasive Species Prevention program at Seymour Lake was founded in 1999 when, then president and vice president of the SLA, Joan Witzmann and Beth Torpey submitted the first grant to the state of Vermont. This was the first year that VTDEC offered grants for invasive species prevention and put Seymour Lake as one of the first lakes to monitor incoming watercraft.
In partnership with the Town of Morgan and with significant backing of SLA board member, Kalman Samuels, the program has been successful for the last 15 years! Many thanks go to the numerous volunteers over the years, especially to Janet Selby, who managed the program for the last 8 years.
A variety of invasive threats have appeared on the horizon since then, but the detection of the Spiny Water Flea in Lake Champlain this past year may prove to be the most difficult challenge to date. According to the Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) website, this invasive exotic zooplankton species inhabits clear waters as they use visual clues to find and catch prey and would compete with indigenous smelt and crustacean population for food. In addition, aquatic organisms that prey on the spiny water flea have difficulty digesting the organism due to the large spines. A variety of other related ecosystem impacts are associated with the presence of this organism as can be read about here
Now that spiny water fleas are in Lake Champlain, it is ever more imperative for lake users to take steps that will slow their spread to other water bodies. The simple mantra for all gear that touches the lake is CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY.
Clean – make sure there are no visible plant or animal parts on your boats or gear.
Drain – remove all water from inside boats, coolers or anything else that might have lake water.
Dry – don’t reenter water until gear has dried enough to kill anything that might still be living there. This last item is particularly difficult with spiny water flea, since their resting egg stage is resistant to drying. Research has also indicated that it takes at least five days of drying for the egg sacs to become nonviable and disinfection with bleach or chlorine actually enhances the hatching of the eggs.
The Invasive Species program is interested in any input from anglers regarding any ideas that could be helpful with keeping this species out of our beautiful lake. Please feel free to contact Beth Torpey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interesting article by Beth Torpey on the status of Aquatic Nuisance at Seymour Lake: Aquatic Nuisance by Beth Torpey November 2014
How to clean your boat before launching and before leaving:
Vermont Invasive Patroller (VIP)
This is a program administered by the Watershed Management Division of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources which utilizes lake volunteers to physically inspect the shore line of Seymour Lake. We have over 20 volunteers who twice each summer take to the lakeshore by wading, kayaking, canoeing, or with small fishing boats to hunt for invasive species. This of course, is in addition to the major inspection program at the Seymour Lake boat launch.