Thursday, July 14, 2022

Clean boats, clean waters

boat stewards

The state’s new requirement that boaters get certified that they have cleaned their boat before launching in Adirondack waters is in full effect this summer, so how it’s going?

We will be working on an update in the coming weeks and want to hear from anyone who has seen the scene at boat launches this summer: Are people complying with rules or resisting the message of stewards working to limit the spread of invasive species?

While boat stewards from the Adirondack Watershed Institute and other programs around the park are reaching as many boaters as possible, we are hearing some concerns that law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to strictly enforce the law when stewards are not present at launch sites.

AWI last week posted a picture of one of the stewards stationed at the Lake Champlain boat launch in Westport. The steward posed in front of a large mound of invasive curly-leaf pondweed intercepted from boats as they left the lake. They have also documented Eurasian watermilfoil and water chestnut on boats looking to launch on Great Sacandaga Lake and other places in the park. The updates are a sign of effective management and a reminder that the invasive plants are always looking for a way in.

Reach out if you have any experience with how the new law is playing out and what you are seeing at boat launches this summer.

Thinking about ice

A team of researchers across the world in June released the latest data of long-term ice cover trends in the Northern Hemisphere, including some from the Adirondacks. The ice records “represent some of the longest climate observations directly collected by people,” according to the study. The data has shown that in recent decades, “lakes have experienced unprecedented ice loss.”

The study includes data from Mirror Lake (apologies for incorrectly referring to Lake Mirror in last week’s newsletter), as well as other New York lakes.

The mass collection of lake ice data is one of the strongest indicators of warming trends. If the trends continue, it could doom deeply-held Adirondack traditions that center around frozen ponds and lakes.

Our latest magazine issue should be arriving in mailboxes anytime. I wrote about a local effort to recognize Adirondack rivers as containing inherent rights worth protecting in court – an emerging movement among environmental activists seeking new ways to protect important ecosystems and species.

Outdoors columnist Klarisse Torriente has a story about her recent visit to OK Slip Falls. I made my first trip to the gorgeous waterfall this weekend, continuing down to a quiet beach on the Hudson River. Next time, I’m going to make sure I bring a picnic and swimsuit with me.


Boat stewards photo courtesy of Adirondack Watershed Institute

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

3 Responses

  1. Dave West says:

    The boat wash station at our home base in Long Lake is never open. I believe it is a staffing issue. I try and get the boat cleaned whenever we go to another body of water. Last week we put in on Lake Flower in Saranac Village, after getting the boat washed at the Second pond boat wash. This was the first time I have been given a certification card. I’ve not seen much on the certification requirements. Don’t know if I can self-certify or whether I need to visit a boat wash each time. I’ll need to find out whether certification applies to canoes and kayaks.

    • Paul says:

      The state doesn’t seem to care enough to even put a pressure washer at each launch like the one you describe in SL. Luckily you passed one coming from Tupper/Long. As far as canoes – for the St. Regis Chain at Upper St. Regis you wash the boat. Then launch on the lake (p/u invasives potentially - ) then carry into Bog, Bear, etc. its makes zero sense?

  2. Dave West says:

    Found this link that has answered my questions:

    Motorized boats only…
    Self-certification is and option
    Self-cert form link on the URL above.

    Hope the additional paperwork is worth it. Also hope the burden of “enforcement” does not fall to the Stewards by default.

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