Volunteers from Echo Lake, Lake Memphremagog, Lake Carmi, Waterbury Reservoir, Lake Champlain, Lake Willoughby and Seymour Lake gathered last Friday afternoon to learn about aquatic invasive species at a Volunteer Invasive Patroller, or VIP, workshop offered by the Watershed Management Division’s Lakes and Ponds Management and Protection Program.
VIP workshops provide an opportunity to learn about this form of biological pollution, establish a volunteer early detection network and inform the Lakes Program of new invasive species populations. Volunteers that opt to become VIPs, agree to survey a water body they frequent or care about at least once a season for aquatic invasive species, and inform the Lakes Program of the results.
The June 24, 2016 workshop, sponsored by the Memphremagog Watershed Association, was held on the shores of Lake Memphremagog at the North Country Career Center. Attendees learned the ins and outs of aquatic invasive species, the threats they pose, the importance of early detection and spread prevention, and how to identify invasive plants and animals of concern, both established in Vermont and those in neighboring states and Canadian provinces.
Workshop highlights were hands on aquatic plant and animal identification and an invasive species “challenge” that tested attendees’ knowledge of aquatic invasive species. Attendees also had the opportunity to view starry stonewort, Vermont’s newest aquatic invasive species. This plant-like algae was first confirmed in 2015 and is known only from one area of Lake Memphremagog.
Does becoming a VIP sound like something of interest? Learn more about VIPs and aquatic invasive species on the Lakes and Ponds Management and Protection Program’s Aquatic Invasive Species website.