Boat stewards are being deployed at 14 new locations and 11 new decontamination stations will be available across the Adirondacks this summer as part of a collaborative program to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the Adirondacks.
The program is the result of an agreement reached among more than 60 conservation groups, owners associations, and local and state governments in March.
The program is expected to locate inspection stewards and decontamination stations along highway corridors with high boat-trailer traffic and near waterbodies with significant AIS concentrations. The stewards, hired and trained by Paul Smiths College, will show arriving boaters the signs of possible invasive threats on their watercraft and trailers. Using high pressure, hot water decontamination units, stewards will also clean boats that have not been cleaned and drained, especially those last used in waters with high risk for AIS. Boater participation is voluntary.
This effort is funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the new state budget included an additional $1 million in the EPF targeted specifically for combatting AIS.
Invasive species attach to the outside of boats or the bilge, live well, bait well and ballast areas on the inside of boats, wreaking havoc on native fish and plants as they travel from water bodies. Lake associations spend millions of dollars every year and organizers say it is more economical to prevent invasive species than to try to eradicate them.
Boat stewards are already deployed at Fish Creek Pond Campground, Lewey Lake Campground (Indian Lake Launch and Lewey Lake Launch), Moffitt’s Beach Campground, Piseco Lake Campgrounds, Town of Day Launch, Hinckley Flow Reservoir, Northhampton Beach Campground, Brown’s Tract Pond Campground, Carry Falls Reservoir, Chazy Lake, Golden Beach Campground, Hudson River at Luzerne, and Limekiln Lake Campground. Boat stewards are also in place (under another program) at Loon Lake in Warren County, Lake George, and Lake Champlain.
The Clifton/Fine boat decontamination station opened this past holiday weekend and additional decontamination stations are scheduled to open in June at: Speculator, Northville, Chateaugay, Okara Lakes, Paul Smith’s, Cadyville, Ray Brook, Horicon, Piseco and South Colton.
DEC advises boaters and anglers to check your boat, trailer and other fishing and boating equipment for any plants or animals that may be clinging to it. Be sure to check bunks, rollers, trim tabs and other likely attachment points on boats and trailers. Following a thorough inspection, DEC encourages boaters to follow the CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY standard
CLEAN boats, trailers and equipment of any debris, and dispose of it in an upland area or receptacle provided for this purpose.
- DRAIN the boat completely, including bilge areas, live wells and bait wells. Water ski and wake board boat operators should be sure to drain all ballast tanks. Many aquatic invasive species can survive in as little as a drop of water, so it is imperative that all water is removed.
- DRY all equipment for at least five days before using it in another water body. Longer drying times may be required for difficult to dry equipment or during damp or cool periods. Recommended drying times for various seasons can be found at www.100thmeridian.org/Emersion.asp. Drying is the simplest and most effective way to ensure equipment does not transport plants or animals.
If boating equipment cannot be completely and thoroughly dried, it should be decontaminated prior to use in another water body. Various decontamination techniques and special techniques to clean boats previously used in zebra mussel infested waters are provided on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html.
For a listing of the aquatic invasive species that have been reported from publicly accessible state waters, visit the DEC boating access directory at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7832.html.
Photo of investigators checking a boat for invasive plants provided by DEC.