Milfoil Found in Beaver Lake, Divers Called In

Beaver Lake’s status as milfoil free was altered this summer, after milfoil was found in the lake in September. But thanks to eradication by divers, the lake appears to be milfoil free once again.

The exotic weed was found by lakefront homeowners and identified by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES).

Rob Tompkins Jr., Beaver Lake Improvement Association (BLIA) president, has been on top of the situation all the way. The BLIA has been fighting milfoil for almost 25 years, and despite the Lake Hosts, Weed Watchers and multi-faceted educational and informational campaigns, milfoil was found growing in Beaver Lake this summer.

On Sept. 8, BLIA member Ken Kimball sent a picture to Dan Scharlach of a weed growing in the lake that he and his neighbors, Bill Davidson and Bob Delitta, were concerned about. Scharlach forwarded the pictures to Amy Smagula, Exotic Species coordinator for DES.

Smagula immediately confirmed it as milfoil and asked that the area where the weed was found be marked. She promised to have divers there within days.

One of the divers informed Tompkins that the milfoil was more widespread than at first thought. The divers harvested roughly 40 gallons, knocking down the main infestation and swimming out beyond the initial location boundaries to check for more. The divers revisited the area a little while later and said they found a few more plants in the original area as well as a couple outside those boundaries. They described the milfoil plants as low growing and mixed with native vegetation, with the deepest milfoil found 11 feet down.

“They think they got what is growing, and did swim several tight transects out on either side of the areas where they found growth, just to be sure,” Tompkins said. “They think they are done for this year, unless someone spots some growth. I asked Amy what the odds of us eliminating this through divers pulling and her reply was ‘Good odds of eradication at this level.  Need eagle eye Weed Watchers to keep surveying, and we will keep diving. If it gets away from us, either due to lack of vigilance or something else, then we may need to go chemicals, but hopefully not.’”

Tompkins contacted Andrea Lamoreaux at New Hampshire Lakes, who told him at least one lake in the state had milfoil that was found in an early stage similar to Beaver Lake. She said the milfoil was pulled and eradicated and the lake has remained milfoil free.

“So there is a precedent for successful eradication,” he said. “The thing I am sure of is that the BLIA will not wait and see if it will return. Our Weed Watchers will be out there this year for as long as they can and next year at first thaw. And we will continue the Lake Host program starting in June. Vigilance is the key… and not just by the BLIA but by all lake residents.”

Tompkins thanked all of the lake’s Weed Watchers but especially Dan Scarlach.

“I would also like to thank Ken and Bob and Bill for paying attention and being alert enough to find something suspicious and follow through with reporting it,” he said. “And, of course, I need to thank Amy and the divers for caring enough about our little lake to drop what they were doing and respond to our emergency.”

Smagula developed a presentation that can be accessed at

Tompkins urged everyone to support the BLIA as it continues its fight to keep Beaver Lake milfoil free. For questions or to become a Weed Watcher or a member of the BLIA, email: [email protected].