NH Mission: The Frightful 14

missionfrightful0715nhdes.jpg

Research Question

Where are New Hampshire’s “frightful 14” unwanted invasive aquatic plants and where AREN’T they? How will climate change affect the spread of these invasive plants?

You're invited

Amy Smagula, from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and Andrea LaMoreaux, from the New Hampshire Lakes Association, need your help in fighting off the spread and introduction of invasive aquatic plants. Your help in looking for these invasive plants where you swim, fish, paddle, and relax can make all the difference. Of the “frightful 14,” nine are already in NH freshwater bodies. More eyes on the water can help in the fight against invasive aquatic plants.

Mission steps

  1. Choose one of the following freshwater invasive species to monitor:

    Already in NH freshwater bodies:

    missionfrightful121917water_chestnut_wikimedia.jpg
    Water chestnut, Wikimedia

    Yet to be found in NH:

  2. Gather your materials for fieldwork, including the species ID card for the invasive that you are monitoring and a Freshwater Species Survey datasheet.
  3. Go out to your local freshwater body and look for invasive species. You can use a weed weasel or just look around.
  4. Add your observation to the Vital Signs Project Bank page. Here is a short how-to-video to guide you.

Why this Mission matters

Aquatic invasive plants have been an issue for New Hampshire’s freshwater bodies since the mid-1960’s. The challenge of protecting the granite state’s lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers is growing as the climate changes and the range of the many aquatic invasives shifts.

Invasive species can have major impacts on freshwater ecosystems, like habitat disruption and loss of native plant and animal communities. As explained by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Exotic Species Program,

    Since invasive plants come from outside of the state, they have no natural predators to keep their growth in check. This allows for these plants to grow without natural controls and encroach the habitats of native plants. This can disrupt the food chain, stunt fish growth, and degrade wildlife habitat.

New studies are showing that the effects of global climate change can worsen these impacts (USEPA, 2008). For these reasons, the NHDES Exotic Species Program needs your help with monitoring so that new invasions can be detected early and responded to right away.

Want to know and do more?

Check out this list of NH volunteer programs.