Locations of the Boat Ramp Monitors
During the summer of 2004, ramp monitors were stationed at these locations:

  • Big Pond (Otis)
  • Otis Reservoir (Tolland)
  • Lake Cochituate (Framingham)
  • Lake Wyola (Shutesbury)
  • Laurel lake (Erving)
  • Wallum Lake (Douglas)
  • Ashland Reservoir (Ashland)
  • Whitehall Reservoir (Hopkinton)
  • Pontoosuc Reservoir (Pittsfield)

Number of Surveys Collected
1319 surveys were collected from boaters statewide. Overall, the busiest boat ramp was Cochituate State Park in Natick, with 365 surveys collected, followed by Wallum Lake in Douglas State Forest (281 surveys); Otis Reservoir (232 surveys); Whitehall reservoir (139 surveys); Big Pond (109 surveys); Laurel Lake (98 surveys); Pontoosuc Reservoir (87 surveys) and finally
Lake Wyola and Ashland Reservoir with 4 surveys each.

Overall Results to Selected Survey Questions
1) What town and state do you currently live in?
14% of the boaters surveyed were from out-of-state. Graph 1 Link to the image file.

2) Prior to today had you heard of invasive exotic species?
80.4% of boaters are aware of invasive species. Graph 2 Link to the image file.

3) If so, which species had you heard of?
The non-native species that people were most familiar with was Milfoil, followed by Zebra Mussel. Graph 3 Link to the image file.

4) Are you aware that one of the main ways that invasive plants enter a lake or pond is by hitching
rides on boats, trailers, motors and other gear?
77.8% of the boaters surveyed understood that plants can be spread by boats, trailers and gear. Graph 4 Link to the image file.

5) Are you willing to take the time to inspect and wash your boat after visiting a lake or pond?
98.5% of boaters were willing to wash their boats. Graph 5 Link to the image file.

6) Has this conversation increased your awareness of invasive species?
75% of the boaters surveyed felt that the conversation had increased their awareness of invasives. Graph 6 Link to the image file.

NOTE: 1180 (89.5%) of the 1319 boats were inspected for non-native species.
(5.2% refused, and the remaining 5.3% (70 boats) were already launched, so an inspection was not possible.)
11.1% of the 1180 boats that were inspected boats had plant fragments attached. Graph 7 Link to the image file.
Of these 131 boats, more than half, 55.7% (73 boats) were transporting non-native plant fragments. Graph 8 Link to the image file.

Interpretation

The survey results show that boaters had the greatest awareness of exotic invasive species at Otis Reservoir and Big Pond, where 98.8 % of the boaters were very familiar with invasive plants, and the least awareness at Wallum/Whitehall with only 67.9% of the boaters had prior knowledge of AIS. Pontoosuc Reservoir was also on the low end, where only 71.3% of the survey participants were aware of invasive species. 

At Big Pond/Otis Reservoir, 94.4% of the visitors were aware that boats are one of the main pathways that non-native plants enter a new waterbody; however, only 53.57% of the boaters at Pontoosuc Reservoir and 70.9% at Wallum/Whitehall were aware of this.

83.3 % of the visitors to Laurel Lake and Lake Wyola felt that their conversation with the ramp monitor increased their knowledge of exotic species, while only 71.4 % at Pontoosuc Reservoir felt enlightened.

At every water body, over 99% of the boaters were willing to wash and inspect their boats, with the exception of Laurel Lake/Lake Wyola where only 91.2% were willing.

Boaters at Cochituate, Otis, Big Pond, Laurel Lake and Lake Wyola were 100% willing to participate in the voluntary boat inspection, however, 66 boaters (15.8%) at Wallum/Whitehall and 3 boaters (2.74%) at Pontoosuc Reservoir declined a voluntary inspection. This is not surprising, as visitors to these two water bodies had the least awareness of invasive species.

The greatest numbers of boats carrying plant fragments were launched at Cochituate Reservoir (15.9%) followed by Pontoosuc Reservoir (13.8%). Conversely, at the Big Pond and Otis Reservoir ramps, where the AIS awareness was the greatest, only 6.5% of the boats inspected contained plant fragments.

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