Calling all paddlers: Help tackle European frogbit

Courtesy photo
2014 Frogbit Project Manager Mollie Wills and her field team work in Thorp Kimball Cove.

By Krista Hoffsis

Do you enjoy spending time on Lake Champlain? Do you care about water quality and habitat? Join Lewis Creek Association and volunteers as we manage European frogbit and other aquatic invasive plants in Shelburne and Charlotte this June.

Frogbit outings in the lower LaPlatte and Town Farm Bay provide great wildlife sightings along with beautiful, peaceful times on the water appreciating the morning and evening light, socializing with other volunteers, and enjoying the rewards of contributing to a healthy Lake Champlain.

Since 2011, a group of volunteers and paid workers have removed frogbit, water chestnut and yellow iris on the lower LaPlatte River in Shelburne and Town Farm Bay’s Thorp and Kimball wetland complex in Charlotte. Their efforts have successfully reduced frogbit populations to manageable levels.

“Frogbit is one of the few invasives that can be controlled without special equipment or laborious uprooting,” said Judy Raven, long-time volunteer and past project coordinator. “It floats on the surface and can be plucked out by hand using a small rake. Left alone, it reproduces rapidly and the roots intertwine to form large dense mats that can block waterways, choke out native vegetation, and negatively impact recreation activities like fishing and kayaking.”

Shelburne and Charlotte need to maintain an ongoing effort to keep frogbit and other invasive plants at low levels that allow native plants and animals to flourish. Lewis Creek Association depends upon volunteers and financial support from Charlotte and Shelburne to insure long term stewardship and success.

“The only economically feasible way to do this is for local residents who care about our waterways to come out every year, pitch in and help protect these beautiful natural areas,” said Marty Illick of the Lewis Creek Association.

Dates for frogbit picking in both the LaPlatte wetlands and Town Farm Bay are June 14, 24 and 27.

Krista Hoffsis is the frogbit program coordinator for the Lewis Creek Association. Contact her to be added to the email list for updates and volunteer opportunities: 448-2849 or kristahoffsis@yahoo.com.

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