As Memorial Day approaches, anglers and boaters are beginning to converge on many of Vermont’s lakes and ponds, and will continue to enjoy those waters throughout the summer. Soon, individuals dedicated to the protection of Vermont’s aquatic resources will also be found at public boat launches across Vermont, acting as Public Access Greeter Program personnel. These folks are contributing to efforts to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in Vermont and preserve others’ ability to utilize Vermont’s water resources.
The Public Access Greeter Program, started in 2002, is a crucial resource for aquatic invasive species spread prevention in Vermont. Public Access Greeters are tasked with providing information on aquatic invaders to boaters, anglers, and other recreation enthusiasts. They are also responsible for inspecting watercraft for invasive species and offering decontamination services or suggestions when necessary.
In 2018, the Greeter Program will operate at approximately 30 public access points. Last year, Vermont Greeters intercepted 517 watercraft carrying aquatic invasive species and provided 23,547 courtesy watercraft inspections statewide. This program is invaluable in its ability to protect Vermont waterbodies from new invasive species introductions and inform the public on the status of aquatic invasive species in Vermont.
This year, five Public Access Greeter trainings are being offered (see flyer for dates, times, and locations). To be considered an authorized Public Access Greeter Inspection Station in Vermont, a representative from each Greeter Program must have attended at least one training session over the last two years. At the trainings, prospective and returning Greeters will receive tips for interacting with and educating the public about aquatic invasive species. This year, Greeter trainings will provide ample opportunities for hands-on experience inspecting and decontaminating watercraft during simulations.
Newly passed legislation related to aquatic invasive species will also be discussed at 2018 trainings. All boaters are now required to inspect their own boats on arrival and departure from a waterbody. Boaters must also have their watercraft inspected and decontaminated if deemed necessary by an authorized Greeter. Due to this provision, 2018 Greeter trainings will focus on inspection and decontamination of watercraft and recreation equipment more than in previous years. New statute regarding removal of standing water and drain plugs as well as new aquatic invasive species transport laws will also be discussed at the 2018 Public Access Greeter Program trainings.
Please consider contributing your time to protecting Vermont’s waterbodies from new aquatic invasive species infestations and attend a Public Access Greeter Program training. If your local waterbody does not have a Greeter Program, but would like to start one, contact Josh Mulhollem for information about available assistance.