Reader Submitted

News from Flint Pond Improvement Association in Hollis

Friday, February 14, 2014

By BETH FLAGLER

Special to the Journal

HOLLIS – Hollis is known for its small town charm, forested back roads and family farms. Residents and visitors also take note of the many streams and ponds that are hot spots for wildlife. We are fortunate to have so many open spaces protected; the benefits are enjoyed by creatures of all kinds and sizes.

But ponds and forestland can’t protect themselves. Flints Pond is a prime example of a place where people decided to stand up for water quality, wildlife and recreational opportunities. Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1957, the Flint Pond Improvement Association has been proud to lead the effort to protect and restore Flints Pond for more than 55 years.

Much has changed over the decades since the association was formed, however. The “big idea for a small pond” has remained the same with a focus on controlling the non-native variable milfoil that, until recently, dominated the pond. Improving accessibility and water flow at Flints Pond has been a team effort that would not have been successful without assistance and guidance from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the town of Hollis.

“A hydro-raking project in 2010 opened up the flow of the lake once again, allowing more regular outflow of water and flushing of the basin once years of built-up organic debris was removed from the outlet of the lake and other areas around the shoreline,” said Amy Smagula, DES limnologist. “Infestations of the exotic aquatic plant, variable milfoil, have also been reduced by over 90 percent, and a healthy and diverse mix of native aquatic plants flourishes in the pond, providing good competition for keeping the milfoil at bay.”

Smagula also provides training for Weed Watchers, volunteers who visit water bodies in the state, monitoring for exotic species and marking their location. The Flint Pond Improvement Association has been hoping to grow its team of Weed Watchers, as they are the front line for notifying certified weed control divers of where to focus their dive time.

The best way to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants is to clean, drain and dry all boats, before and after every use. To help get this message out, volunteers from the Flint Pond Improvement Association built a kiosk at the Fish and Game Department’s boat ramp. FPIA voted to pay for and install the kiosk before cold weather arrived.

Fish and Game Facilities and Lands Division Chief, Rick Fink, reports, “The kiosk looks great and the project has helped save the department resources for other projects. Flints Pond is a great 50-acre pond for spending the day with the kids fishing, canoeing, kayaking and viewing wildlife.”

Each year, community outreach events take place to raise awareness and funds for Flints Pond, including the fishing booth at Hollis Old Home Day, a fair share event at Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse, raffle ticket sales and membership drives.

For FPIA’s next event, golfers, sponsors and volunteers are needed for a tournament at Amherst Country Club on Friday, June 27. More information, resources about water-quality monitoring, upcoming events and news can be found at www.flintspond.org or on Facebook.

Everyone is welcome to attend the next meeting at Hollis Social Library from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Beth Flagler is a member of the Flints Pond Improvement Association.

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