Bristol Pond

Bristol Pond, where three known aquatic invasive species are found.

Lewis Creek Association recently wrapped up its boat launch steward program at Bristol Pond and Monkton Pond.

The association chose Bristol and Monkton ponds due to their popularity with anglers, recreational boaters and wildlife enthusiasts, and for the natural communities present there.

As of 2021, there are three known aquatic invasive species in Bristol Pond — European frogbit Eurasian watermilfoil and brittle naiad — and two in Monkton Pond, Eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed, making both water bodies possible points of introduction for the spread of invasive species into the Lewis Creek watershed and throughout the state.

The goal of program was to prevent the spread of invasives by inspecting watercraft for biological materials, identifying and removing suspicious specimens, collecting data and educating the public about spread prevention.

Prior to inspection, 73 percent of visitors at Bristol Pond and 64 percent of visitors at Monkton Pond reported that they took aquatic invasive species spread prevention measures like cleaning, draining and drying their boats. Forty percent of watercraft inspected at both ponds had aquatic invasive species on them.

If the boat launch stewards hadn’t intercepted the vegetation on the watercrafts, 237 of the 579 inspected could have potentially spread invasives to other bodies of water.

“The vast majority of visitors to Bristol Pond and Monkton Pond seemed genuinely excited to have the program at the ponds and many people from the community went to the ponds to see Lewis Creek Association’s boat launch stewards in action,” said Kate Kelly, program manager. “Research has shown that visual inspection and hand removal of aquatic vegetation is extremely effective at preventing AIS from spreading to other bodies of water.

Further details on the program’s results can be found at lewiscreek.org.

The association hopes to continue the program in 2022. For more information or to volunteer, reach out to Kelly, lewiscreekorg@gmail.com or 488-5203.

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