DERRY — Caroline Sennott recently spared Beaver Lake from a milfoil infestation.
She found milfoil while checking a Vermonter’s boat at the Beaver Lake landing.
“It makes me happy I could keep the lake clean,” Sennott said.
She was just doing her job.
Sennott, a junior in between semesters at the University of New Hampshire, is one of two summer workers who staff the boat landing. Kevin Konstant, a junior at Springfield College, is the other. Both are Derry residents.
Their 50-hour a week, $10-an-hour mission is to keep invasive species out of the water.
Beaver Lake Improvement Association Chairman Rob Tompkins maintains the $5,000 annual expense, shared by the association with the town, state and the New Hampshire Lakes Association, and supported by private contributions, is well worth it.
“If milfoil or some other exotic weed came in that would devastate the town,” Tompkins said.
The landing is right next to the town beach.
The program has operated on Beaver Lake for 11 years. Tompkins said the boat watchers made a save last year, too, and others have in the past.
But he sees them playing another important role.
“They are sort of ambassadors for the lake,” Tompkins said.
That means something to boaters, he said.
“You feel people care about the lake,” he said.
Boaters are always good about the checks.
“Luckily, people are happy to have someone trying to prevent a local lake from getting these plants,” Sennott said.
The Vermont boaters knew exactly why she was checking their craft and encouraged the inspection, she said.
“They said, ‘Oh, please do,’’’ she recalled.
They had come from a lake that had a milfoil infestation.
After removing the plant and clearing the boaters to use the lake, she sent the weed to the state for testing. It confirmed what she suspected: milfoil.
Tompkins said this is a good summer job for students.
Sennott admits she catches up on her reading in between inspections.
“I’m on my eighth book of the summer,” the future occupational therapist said.
For Sennott, the job is rewarding because she helps protect a lake her family used while she was growing up.
“I’ve always known Beaver Lake to be clean,” she said. “I went there as a kid and it feels good to help keep it clean.”
“Huge” is how Andrea LaMoreaux, the New Hampshire Lakes Association’s vice president of education, describes Sennott’s contribution.
LaMoreaux said it shows the lake monitoring program, in place in 75 communities, is working to guard against exotic invaders.
“As of today, Beaver Lake is milfoil free,” Tompkins said.
That’s a pretty good record for a popular lake in heavily populated Southern New Hampshire.
“It’s remarkable we don’t have exotic weeds yet,” Tompkins said.
“It’s maybe a small miracle and it’s wonderful,” LaMoreaux said. “We hope to keep it that way.”