Vermont’s Public Access Greeter Program had a record-breaking year in 2015 while working to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Public access greeters educate lake visitors about invasive species and provide courtesy watercraft inspections for AIS.
This past year, greeters conversed with boaters and inspected watercraft at 27 lakes in Vermont. They inspected over 21,000 watercraft, shattering the previous record of 18,407 set in 2012. Of all the watercraft inspected, 659 were found to have either plant or animal material in/on the vessel, and Eurasian Watermilfoil was the culprit species in a majority of those instances. Luckily, greeters were on the scene, and removed this nasty invader from watercraft and trailers so that it couldn’t be transported to uninfested waterbodies.
Although it is still winter here in Vermont, the boating season will be upon us soon, and greeter program coordinators are gearing up for the 2016 season. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC) staff will be holding at least five training sessions for greeters from April to June. The dates and locations of those trainings will be finalized in the coming weeks, and will be posted on VTInvasives.org’s events page. Trainings educate greeters on AIS biology and spread prevention, and how to communicate effectively with the boating public. All interested individuals are welcome to attend, including those not affiliated with a greeter program.
For more information on Vermont’s Public Access Greeter Program, or to find a greeter workshop in your area, contact Josh Mulhollem with VTDEC’s aquatic invasive species management program at 802-490-6121.