DES Recognizes Volunteers during National Volunteer Week
Concord, NH – In celebration of National Volunteer Week, April 10 to 16, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) extends its appreciation to the volunteers participating in the Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP), Volunteer River Assessment Program (VRAP), Lakes and Rivers Management & Protection Programs, and Weed Watchers for outstanding contributions in environmental monitoring, education, and awareness.
Approximately 700 volunteers participate in VLAP and VRAP donating over 4,000 hours annually to monitor water quality throughout the state. Volunteers monitor 215 lakes and rivers providing data to assess the health of New Hampshire’s waterbodies. Volunteer monitors go above and beyond the call of duty collecting fish for mercury, identifying watershed pollutants and assisting in pollutant remediation efforts.
The 750 volunteers that participate in Weed Watchers donate over 3,000 hours surveying lake and river shorelines to identify the growth of exotic plant species. Volunteer weed watchers monitor 300 waterbodies and have been responsible for finding new infestations of exotic aquatic plants in several waterbodies in New Hampshire which has led to early detection and rapid response initiatives.
Volunteers participating in the Lake and River Management Advisory Committees provide over 450 hours to advise DES and state policies and issues relevant to New Hampshire’s lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Local River Advisory Committees for 16 designated rivers represent 118 communities and donate over 10,000 hours annually to assist their communities and the state implement, manage and protect approximately 900 river miles. It is also worth noting that there are more than 250 lake, river and watershed associations across the state whose members volunteer their time and expertise to maintain and improve surface water quality. In total, over 1,500 volunteers dedicate over 17,000 hours annually to monitor and protect New Hampshire’s lakes and rivers.
For over 25 years, citizens sharing a keen interest in the environment and water quality have been instrumental in sustaining New Hampshire’s quality waterbodies for recreational use, aesthetic beauty and economic value. For more information on these DES programs visit www.des.nh.gov, and check out the daily volunteer highlight on VLAP’s blog http://xml2.des.state.nh.us/blogs/lake_reflections/.
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