Showing that our Greeter Program Works!

[following is an email dated August 6th, 2010, that speaks for itself]

Hi Libby,

I just received the sample you submitted that came from a boat inspected by your access area greeter, Liza.  The plant specimen is not Eurasian watermilfoil.  In fact, the specimen is fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana), an invasive plant not known to occur in Vermont, although there are known populations in neighboring states – including Massachusetts, from where the boat apparently came.

The only known populations of this plant in northern New England are in southern NH, but it has been introduced fairly widely in southern New England (MA, Conn, RI) and southern NY.  If the boat did not come from a waterbody with a known infestation it could indicate a new infestation that has not previously been detected.  It would be good to find out the specific waterbody this boat came from so that I can alert my colleagues in Massachusetts in case they aren’t aware of the infestation, and to let them know there may be a spread prevention issue for them as well.  If you could find that out for me I’d much appreciate it – or feel free to have Liza contact me directly.  Also, if this is a boat that makes frequent trips back and forth between Fairlee and an infested water in Massachusetts, it would be good to be sure that the boater is well educated about the importance of careful spread prevention.  Perhaps Liza will know whether this boat is a frequent visitor to Fairlee, or whether this was a one-time visit, and how receptive the boater was to her spread prevention information.

Hats off to Liza! This was a really important “save”!!!  It would be a shame to see this invasive plant (fanwort) become established in Fairlee or anywhere else in Vermont.  Although the plant was a little bit dried out when I received it, I believe it could have been sufficiently “alive” when Liza collected it to have been viable, and this plant fragment could have conceivably introduced this species into Fairlee.  This is what greeter programs and spread prevention are all about!  Well done!

[ . . . ]

Once again, congratulations on your successful greeter program, and thanks for all your efforts to protect Vermont’s waters!

Best regards,

Leslie J. Matthews, Ph.D.
Environmental Scientist
Water Quality Division
Department of Environmental Conservation