The Lake George Association (LGA) Lake Stewards are back on duty for the boating season in an effort to protect Lake George from new introductions of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Last Saturday, May 4, was their first day out at launches on the lake.
In years past, the lake stewards have not started at the launches until Memorial Day weekend. However, this year with an additional $20,000 being provided through the Lake George Park Commission from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, the program is starting earlier and will be collecting data throughout the month of May. Lake stewards are currently on duty 8 am to 5 pm Thursdays through Sundays at the Mossy Point Boat Launch in Ticonderoga, Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, and the Million Dollar Beach Boat Launch in Lake George .
Additional stewards are expected to start Memorial Day weekend as usual, increasing the hours of coverage of the program and launches with lake steward coverage for the main summer boating season. “We are working to coordinate our lake stewards with increased efforts by the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) this season as well,” said Kristen Rohne, the LGA’s Education Coordinator, who will be in charge of the program this year. “In addition to increasing hours and coverage of the program, we are working to increase coordination with the LGPC Marine Patrol and boat wash attendants. It is going to be a very busy – and exciting – season. There is a larger public-private effort underway as well as an outreach campaign – so there is a lot going on this year. The goal of it all is to increase the protection for the Lake and stop the introduction of new AIS.”
According to LGA data, since 2008 lake stewards have inspected almost 25,000 boats at high traffic launches around Lake George, removed over 400 AIS samples from boats, and have educated around 60,000 boaters about invasive species spread prevention. In 2012, the lake stewards inspected almost 7,000 boats, educating around 18,000 boaters about AIS and spread prevention and removing 131 samples of invasive species from boats. For the past few years the LGA has been coordinating its program with other regional programs on Lake Champlain and in the Adirondacks and is also currently part of an advisory team developing a Lake Steward Manual for the State.
The data collected by the lake stewards on Lake George is being used by the Lake George Park Commission to prepare a Lake George AIS Prevention Plan, of which a draft has recently been released and is available for public comment.
Photo: A lake steward at Mossy Point Boat Launch in Ticonderoga on May 4, 2013.