Sometimes in the environmental protection field there’s a celebration of achievements before they’re fully realized. Case in point: We recently reported that a state road salt task force that was celebrated as a potential win for Adirondack water quality was not actually a done deal, as the governor has yet to appoint its members.
Environmental groups are hopeful that incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul will finish the job. The Adirondack Council’s Willie Janeway said this about it in a news release: “Many of the state’s functions inside the Adirondack Park have ground to a halt as the executive branch of government succumbed to administrative paralysis while the current Governor attempted to defend his actions. As Kathy Hochul becomes governor, the entire state will have an opportunity to heal and make progress again.”
It’s important work, as is the road salt study, septic and sewage management and proposed new surveys of park lakes’ changing ecology. We’ll see how the new governor approaches these problems.
Editor’s note: This “It’s Debatable” column is running in the July/August 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine. Click here to subscribe. This issue’s debaters don’t fit neatly into the Explorer’s usual yes/no format, as both support inspections of some kind. We’ve attempted to frame the question in a way to reflect their nuanced views.
The question: Should New York enforce boat inspections?
The Lake George Association’s Floating Classroom will be in Sandy Bay to support the Lake Stewardship Group of Cleverdale Asian Clam Day on Thursday, July 15. Asian Clam Day is a hands-on educational and awareness event for residents and visitors.
Aquatic invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels, can clog lakes, outcompete native wildlife, and harm ecosystems. Identifying these species early, before populations grow out of control, is essential for protecting the lakes we love from the negative impacts of invasive species. The state legislature recently passed a law that makes the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Act permanent and allows pilot programs in the Adirondacks to further efforts to prevent invasive species. You can do your part by always cleaning, draining and drying your boat, fishing gear and sports equipment when moving from one waterbody to another.
And as an Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) Lake Protector, you can do more! Citizen scientists have surveyed over 400 lakes throughout the Adirondacks for invasives species in order to support critical early detection efforts. Lake Protector volunteers will learn how to identify, survey and record data about aquatic invasive plants. Once trained, volunteers can adopt an Adirondack lake or other waterbody to survey between July and September. APIPP provides all the training and resources you need to be part of this extraordinary network.
“The old law in question requires boaters recreating in the Adirondack Park to take reasonable precautions against spreading aquatic invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. Boats should be cleaned, drained and dried to prevent spreading any unwanted hitchhikers. The Adirondack Park is home to more than 3,000 lakes, 8,000 ponds and 1,500 miles of rivers. With more than 12 million visitors each year, the threat of a new invasive species introduction is always looming.”
What are your thoughts about best ways to keep our waterways safe from invasives? Should the state require — and enforce — boat inspections? Or is the current system working well enough?
Photo provided, Connor Vara/Adirondack Watershed Institute. AWI stewards recently finished a 2-week training at Paul Smith’s College to learn techniques for implementing Clean, Drain and Dry at area boat launches.
Stewards are ready for another busy Adirondack boating season
Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) is offering free boat inspections and decontaminations starting on Memorial Day weekend at more than 60 boat launches and road-side locations across the Adirondack region to help the public stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
Pilot Program to Run April 15 to Dec. 15 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin closing the gates at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock boat launches on Lake George on April 15, as part of an ongoing pilot program to increase protections from aquatic invasive species, DEC Regional Director Joseph Zalewski announced today. The overnight closure will continue through Dec. 15.
“Lake George is one of the most beautiful and heavily recreated lakes in the Northeast. We believe the Commission’s mandatory boat inspection program provides a great balance in protecting Lake George from invasive species without impacting boating activities on the lake,” said Dave Wick, Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission. “The state and local partnership that created this invasive species prevention initiative has been tremendously successful over its seven years of existence, and it continues to have strong public support.”
Photo: Boat stewards assist the public with checking their watercraft for aquatic invasive species. They also provide education and at some locations, free boat washes. (Photo by Adirondack Watershed Institute, Paul Smith’s College)
The boating season may have unofficially ended Labor Day weekend, but New York State’s Watercraft Inspection Steward program continues at select locations. To date, this year’s boat stewards have inspected more than 330,000 boats, talked with hundreds of thousands of water recreationists, and intercepted more than 18,000 aquatic plant and animal hitchhikers (including one very important finding of the infamous invasive plant hydrilla!).
The New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership Grants program has awarded the Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) a $19,000 matching grant in order to allow for the expansion of successful efforts in controlling and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the USL watershed at Fish Creek Campground.
The Fish Creek AIS Spread Prevention and Containment Project protects the economic value of the area via recreation, tourism, sportsmanship and vacation home ownership, and provides clear waterways to these ends by combating invasive species. in order to maintain native species in their natural habitats, and to improve the water quality, ensuring sustainability of our natural resources for future generations. The USF will support this project by matching funding and services for a total budget of $26,000 dollars.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in cooperation with seven Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces, have teamed up on the second annual Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Landing Blitz, a regional campaign to inform boaters and others about the risks of introducing and spreading these invasive pests.
During this coordinated outreach effort, partners throughout the Great Lakes region are educating the public at hundreds of water access sites through July 5.
AIS are non-native aquatic plants and animals that can cause environmental and economic harm and harm to human health. Many AIS have been found in the lakes, ponds, and rivers of New York, and can be transported from waterbody to waterbody on watercraft and equipment.
Friends of Moody Pond, in Saranac Lake, is an organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of Moody Pond and the surrounding neighborhood from invasive species- specifically Eurasian watermilfoil.
This invasive species was found in Moody Pond in 2018 and makes up at least 3.5 acres (14 percent) of Moody Pond, according to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.
A rapid response is essential in managing and eradicating aquatic invasives, and Friends of Moody Pond will be raising funds to educate the public and provide a rapid management response to that end.
In recognition of Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) — which wraps up today — the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has this profile about Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa):
Also known as Brazilian Waterweed, Brazilian Elodea is a popular aquarium and water garden plant that is often sold under the generic name “Anacharis.” A submerged invasive perennial plant that looks very similar to some native species, Brazilian elodea is characterized by its bright green coloration and minutely serrated leaves that are1-3 centimeters long and up to 5 millimeterswide. Brazilian elodea has four (sometimes eight) leaves per whorl; whereas hydrilla, another invasive species, has five leaves per whorl; and the native American elodea waterweed, has only three.
Brazilian elodea also has small white flowers in the spring and fall. The flowers have three petals and either float on the water or above the surface on threadlike stems.Only male flowers have been found in North America so far, so seed production does not occur in its introduced range.
Offered through the Paul Smith’s College Training Institute, and timed to launch during the 2020 Invasive Species Awareness Week, June 7-13, the program focuses on how to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms in our lakes and rivers. Programs will be open and ongoing throughout the summer.
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