Bristol Pond gets help to fight invasive species

BRISTOL — Aquatic invasive plant species have been present in the Lewis Creek watershed for decades and outcompete native plants by forming dense mats of vegetation. These dense mats impede recreational boaters, swimmers, and anglers, and degrade ecosystems and wildlife habitats. 
Aquatic invasive plants are spread via seeds, roots, fragments, animals, and by humans. Bristol Pond is a popular destination for anglers, recreational boaters, and wildlife enthusiasts. 
As of 2018, there were two known aquatic invasive species in Bristol Pond: European frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) and Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum). Therefore, Bristol Pond could function as a point of introduction for the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Lewis Creek watershed and throughout the state. 
Lewis Creek Association (LCA), a local non-profit watershed group, recognizes the importance of keeping additional aquatic invasive species out of Bristol Pond, as well as preventing spread of those invasives from Bristol Pond to other areas of the state. 
To this end, LCA applied for and was awarded a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to survey Lewis Creek, Bristol Pond and Monkton Pond for aquatic invasive species and create a management plan for these areas, and to fund a boat launch steward to be stationed at Bristol Pond this summer. The boat launch steward greets boaters as they arrive at the pond, and offers to inspect their boat for aquatic invasive species, while also collecting data on where the boat has been and how many aquatic organisms he encountered. He educates boat owners on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, which includes cleaning, draining, and drying your boat (and other equipment that has been in the water) before moving to a different water body. This could even include swimsuits and life jackets, which could carry small microscopic organisms like the fishhook waterflea, which was recently found in Lake Champlain. 
Next time you are out at Bristol Pond, say hi to LCA’s boat launch steward! You may also run into Matt Gorton out on Lewis Creek, Bristol Pond, or Monkton Pond, who is contracted to do aquatic invasive species surveys. He’d be happy to talk to you about what they are finding. You can learn more by contacting Kate Kelly, program manager for Lewis Creek Association, at [email protected] or 488-5203. 
This project has been funded by an agreement awarded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program. 

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