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Lake Host, a boat inspection program

What is the Lake Host Program and why do we have it?

The Lake Host™ Program is a courtesy boat inspection program sponsored by the non-for-profit organization NH LAKES in cooperation with the SLA.  This nationally recognized aquatic invasive species education and prevention program aims is to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive aquatic plants and animals such as Eurasian milfoil and Chinese mystery snails into Spofford Lake.  Milfoil has been found in nearly 80 of New Hampshire’s 1,000 lakes as well as other bodies of water.  As of 2021, Spofford Lake gratefully remains clear of any invasive species thanks to this program 

What are the responsibilities of boat owners and Lake Hosts? 

Boaters are required to "Arrive Cleaned, Drained & Dry" to block invasive species from moving between water bodies on or in boats.  The Lake Hosts are charged with inspecting all boats entering and leaving the Lake.

Why was the program started?  

The NH legislature created the program to boost prevention of invasive species.  It realized that infestations of invasive species can quickly and profoundly change the character of a lake, stream or river.  Moreover, recreation in and on the water could become unpleasant and even dangerous. And shoreline area property values would likely decline. Infestation is difficult to remediate and expensive to control.

When did Spofford Lake get involved?

Spofford joined up the first year of operation.  Jozefa Johnson and Val Starbuck, aided by Fred Newton (and others) blazed the trail for what has become a robust and well-run program.  Starbuck recalls that “… it was difficult back then because people didn't really want to waste any time to comply with checking their boats. It was a battle for a few years until education became more widespread and then boat owners got on the bandwagon.”  Jozefa adds that “once the State provided pamphlets and other educational materials” boaters started to take the program seriously.”  We should all be grateful to Jozefa, Val, Fred and the others for being so forward thinking!  We all have benefitted from their early efforts. 

How effective has the program been?

The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary for the program.  NH LAKES reports a record-breaking 130,000 boat and trailer inspections were completed in 2020, nearly 30,000 more than 2019.  

The Spofford Lake Host team of 8, tell us they expect another record in 2021.  In the first 8 weeks of the season, May-October, Lake Hosts have already inspected more than 2,200 boats.  Across the state, ere is how the program has evolved from 2002 to 2020.

  • Participating boat ramps:  45 -->94
  • Lake Host inspectors:  161 --> 598
  • Boat/trailer inspections:  <25,000 --> 130,000
  • Invasive species ‘saves’:  1,635 from 55 water bodies.  Fanwort and variable milfoil are the top two offenders.  
  • Spofford Lake Hosts:  In 5 different years, our Lake Hosts have intercepted invasive species from boats before entering the Lake.  2013 was the last year of a recorded ‘save.’  Great job Lake Hosts!  Spofford lake is all the better because of your efforts.  

How does the program work?

Lake hosts are paid an hourly basis bringing the total cost of the program in 2020 to $23,870.  Expenses were covered by three parties:  Spofford Lake Association, the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, and matching grant funds from NH LAKES.     

In 2020, over 6,800 boats were inspected by our Lake Hosts, an increase of 22% versus 2019. 

How do I become a Lake Host?  

Board members Frank Turner and Art Huggins manage the program for the SLA.  Click here to sign up. 

Page updated April 2, 2023

The 2023 Spofford Lake Host Team

on duty from May 6-October 6



Spofford Lake Association

PO Box 177
Spofford, NH 03462

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