Aquatic invasive species are spread by overland transport of watercraft, trailers, and fishing and recreational equipment. The most effective way to prevent spread is through education and equipment inspections designed to catch invasive species "hitching a ride" from one waterbody to another. Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species is far more effective and economically sensible than eradicating invasive species once they are established. With support from Vermont DEC, Public Access Greeters educate lake visitors about invasive species, provide courtesy watercraft inspections and STOP introductions.
Since 2002, the Vermont Public Access Greeter Program has expanded operation to access points at 27 lakes and ponds statewide, and those numbers are increasing annually. Two new Greeter Programs will begin operation during 2018. The total number of inspected watercraft has increased since the programs inception, with 404 inspected in 2002 to 25,897 in 2016. Last year (2017), 23,547 watercraft were inspected in Vermont. Greeters intercepted and removed 517 instances of aquatic invasive species, roughly 61% of recorded intercepts. A large number of intercepts were Eurasian watermilfoil; this is similar to what was found in 2016.
Boat Access Greeter Duties
- Approaching and interacting with boaters
- Inspecting watercraft
- Identifying and handling suspicious specimens
- Collecting and reporting data
- Distributing educational material on aquatic invasive species
If you are a new greeter, a program coordinator, or would just like to brush up on the latest information regarding aquatic invasive species, join us for a training workshop and learn about:
- aquatic invasive species biology, threats to Vermont, and the importance of spread prevention
- aquatic invasive species identification
- access area rules and regulations, baitfish regulations, and invasive species laws
- tips on delivering invasive species messages and interacting with the public
If you currently run a program or want to start a new program, we provide a “Greeter on Duty” welcoming sandwich board for each program, “Access Greeter” t-shirts and training manual for each greeter, up-to-date informational literature for public distribution, and other giveaways for the boating public designed to promote the "Clean, Drain, Dry" message.
If you are interested in starting a greeter program, hosting a training workshop or learning more about aquatic invasive species, contact Josh Mulhollem at Josh.Mulhollem@vermont.gov or (802) 490-6121.