The Lake George Association has released a report with findings from the 2010 Lake Steward program. The Association considers the Lake George Lake Steward Program “a critical part of protecting the water quality of Lake George and preventing the spread of invasive species between waterbodies by boaters throughout the Lake Champlain Basin and the Northeast.” Despite the fact that dozens of aquatic invasive species have already made inroads nearby, only four are currently found in Lake George.
In 2010, Lake Stewards were posted at four launches around Lake George: Norowal Marina, Mossy Point, Hague Town Beach and Rogers Rock. Lake Stewards inspected a total of 2,538 boats at these sites, and educated boaters about the threats of Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels, curly-leaf pondweed, and the Lake’s most recent invader, the Asian clam. Thirty-six samples of Eurasian watermilfoil were removed during the season. Nine samples of curly-leaf pondweed were found, three samples of zebra mussels, and five of water chestnut, an invasive that is not currently found in Lake George.
The program also collects data on the body of water most recently visited prior to Lake George within the past 2 weeks, and whether spread prevention steps were taken prior to launch. In 2010, 65 boaters stated that the body of water they visited prior to Lake George was Lake Champlain, a lake with 49 documented invasive species.
Thirty-three boaters had most recently visited the Hudson River, a waterbody with 91 invasives. Ninety-five percent of the boaters reported that they had taken spread prevention measures prior to their launch. Stewards also inspected bait buckets and educated boaters about New York State’s new baitfish and firewood regulations.
Currently, Lake George is infested with four known invasive species: Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), and Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea). Nearby, Lake Champlain has 49 invasive species, the St. Lawrence River has 87, the Hudson River has 91, and the Great Lakes have 183 documented invasive species.
The 2010 Lake Steward Program was funded by the Bolton Local Development Corporation, the town of Hague, the town of Ticonderoga, the Lake George Park Commission, the Helen V. Froehlich Foundation, and the NYS Department of State with funds provided under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund. The program was originally conceived by the Invasive Species Task Force of the Lake George Watershed Coalition and is currently coordinated by the LGA.
Lake advocates are currently seeking passage of a state law that would make it illegal to transport an invasive species from one water body to another.
The full report can be found online [pdf].
Illustrations: Above, boats coming to Lake George had previously been in 112 different waterbodies in 13 different states within 2 weeks prior to launching at Lake George. Some locations were not state specific such as the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Champlain, Great Lakes, and various rivers. Middle, Lake George Association Lake Steward Monika LaPlante inspects a boat in 2010 at the Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing. Below, the percent of boaters that took spread prevention measures for all launches in 2010. Courtesy Lake George Association.