Lake Ninevah Remains Healthy in 2020 Thanks to a Combined Community Effort
It has been a tough year for everyone and for many reasons. Despite the hardships, as we look back on 2020, we still have some successes and accomplishments to be grateful for and to celebrate. One of these accomplishments is maintaining the continued effort to protect Lake Ninevah from the threat of aquatic invasive species through the long-standing boat access greeter program. This program was once again made possible this year by the combined funding and organization efforts of the Ninevah Foundation, Town of Mount Holly, the Lake Ninevah community members, and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC).
We started 2020 with lots of uncertainty around being able to run a greeter program this summer during a global pandemic and if grant funding would even be available. But in May, the grant funding came through and special COVID-19 prevention training was quickly provided to all greeters by VTDEC. Ninevah Foundation was also able to continue their part in organizing the matching funding with the state grant and organize the program’s logistics.
The Town of Mount Holly was fortunate enough to receive a 2020 VTDEC grant award of $8,915 for Lake Ninevah combined with Ninevah Foundation’s $20,000 in matching funds in order to maintain greeter program. Furthermore, Ninevah Foundation’s contributing funds could not be possible with out the generous donations from the lake community and Mount Holly residents. As a non-profit conservation organization, Ninevah Foundation depends heavily on annual charitable giving supporting projects which promote ecological health of Lake Ninevah and the surrounding forest.
An immense “thank you” should be given to our two Lake Ninevah greeters: Judson Rohlff and Ronald Symonds. Combined, Jud and Ron have almost 20 years of experience working as dedicated returning greeters for Lake Ninevah. This year, both greeters put in over 1,300 hours at the Lake Ninevah boat access area. Putting in 74 hours in every week June-October, Jud and Ron inspected over 1,500 boats entering and exiting the lake. Luckily, no invasive plants were found during inspections this year and many boaters familiar to the greeter program are now very diligent about keep their boats clean and dry before entering the water. Regardless of not finding any threats, the greeter program is an essential prevention tool for Lake Ninevah.
Across the state, Vermont greeter programs saw a significant increase in activity. The VTDEC reported over 40,000 inspections across all of the Vermont greeter programs. This is a 10,000 increase from the 2019’s 30,000 inspections. The rise of outdoor recreation activity during the year of COVID-19 was very apparent and reflected in the boat access areas use across the state. Because the diligence of all 53 Vermont greeter programs, nearly 1,300 plants were intercepted before entering Vermont waterbodies. Therefore, even though Lake Ninevah greeters did not have an interception this year, the threat of invasive plants spreading from one waterbody to another still remains.
This is Lake Ninevah’s 20th year receiving grant funding from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation for aquatic invasive species prevention. This program is not only vital for prevention and control measures, it’s also an effective in spreading awareness to boaters and visitors on the importance of checking boats for hitchhiking plants while launching and exiting the water. Along with annual lake surveys, the greeter program is the primary tool in which Lake Ninevah remains free of aquatic invasive plants.
Thank you to all who have contributed to the Lake Ninevah greeter program this year. Ninevah Foundation looks forward to future partnerships with the Town of Mount Holly, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Mount Holly and Plymouth community. Please email Kelly Beerman, Ninevah Foundation Conservation Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or more information about this program and others Ninevah Foundation supports.