Gov. Kathy Hochul signed bipartisan legislation last month that allows town boards to stop the spread of invasive aquatic invertebrate species, such as Zebra mussels and Asian clams, instead of just aquatic invasive plants.
The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury and state Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake.
Stec said the law gives communities more flexibility to address invasive species. Woerner said invasive aquatic species harms the environment, health and recreational economy. Both lawmakers were grateful to Hochul for signing the legislation.
With boating season upon us, it’s important to remember to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) using the “clean, drain, dry” method for boats, as well as disinfecting fishing gear. Boat stewards are available at more than 200 launches across New York State to educate and assist boaters in practicing these techniques every time they come off the water and prior to launching.
On June 27, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in partnership with seven Great Lakes states, six Northeast states, and six Canadian provinces, announced the annual Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz will run from June 30 through July 9. This international campaign bolsters existing efforts to inform boaters and others about the risks of introducing and spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS). During this coordinated outreach effort, partners will boost social media AIS messaging and increase in-person AIS education at thousands of water access sites throughout the Great Lakes and Northeast region.
The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute officially launched its 2023 Watercraft Inspection Program on Memorial Day weekend to help prevent the spread of invasive species in Adirondack waterways. The college was recently awarded a $13.2 million contract from New York State to continue implementing the goals of the Adirondack Region Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program. The 5-year contract allows AWI to continue its efforts to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in regional waterways.
ADIRONDACKS —The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and its partners have charted a course for the next five years. The “Adirondack Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) Strategic Plan 2023–2027” outlines how APIPP and its partners will minimize the impact of invasive species on the Adirondack region’s communities, lands and waters.
“The 2023-2027 Strategic Plan highlights some of the innovative ways PRISM partners build knowledgeable and engaged Adirondack communities that are empowered to act,” said Peg Olsen, Adirondack Chapter Director of The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy and APIPP share a vision for an Adirondack region where the diversity of life thrives, and our lands and waters are protected for future generations. As the climate continues to change and exacerbate the spread and impact of invasive species, APIPP’s foundational work as a leader in invasive species prevention, eradication and management, and as a convener of more than 30 diverse regional partners, is even more vital.”
All are encouraged to gain hands-on experience monitoring aquatic invasive species of the Adirondacks during a Lake George Association (LGA)-sponsored Citizen Scientist event this weekend, August 19-21. The event tasks residents with monitoring a specific area of Lake George for a few invasive plants and shellfish. The monitoring can be done by swim, snorkel, kayak, boat, etc.
Participants will survey a section of shoreline for aquatic invaders, primarily non-native plants as well as mussels, snails, and fish. Citizen scientists can complete the survey of their areas at any time during the three days of the monitoring event. The Lake George Association will offer a training session before the event to help participants navigate their Survey123 reporting app and also assist with species identification while on the water.
LGA staff will be stationed at various areas on the lake on Friday morning from 8 a.m. to noon for participants to report to with data or questions. Aquatic invasive species monitoring in the lake is vital for early detection of new invaders, such as hydrilla, that may pass by the inspection station and boat launch stewards.
For more information or to register, please click here.
PAUL SMITHS – A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation law was recently enacted that requires boaters operating any kind of motorized watercraft in the Adirondack Park and within ten miles of the Park’s boundary to obtain and possess a certification that confirms their motorboat is free of harmful aquatic invasive species.
The new measure to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species went into effect in June 2022 and is meant to complement the existing Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program operated by the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute.
The public can learn more about this regulation via a new informational video and fact sheet, and can find locations around the region to get a courtesy inspection and a free boat wash at adkwatershed.org/clean-drain-dry.
The mission of the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute is to protect clean water, conserve habitat and support the health and well-being of the people in the Adirondacks through science, collaboration, and real-world experiences for students.
Photo at top: The easiest way for the public to ensure their boat meets the “Clean, Drain, Dry, Certify” standard is to visit a Watercraft Inspection Steward at a boat decontamination station. There are several located across the Adirondack region and a boat wash is free. Photo credit: Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute. Photo provided by Zoë Smith, Deputy Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute.
St. Lawrence County–Volunteers are needed to assist a removal effort of water chestnut on the Oswegatchie River near the dam, in the Village of Heuvelton.
The removal effort is scheduled for Saturday, June 25th, 2022. Food will be provided by the Village of Heuvelton Fire Department to those who assist the effort. This is a great opportunity for community members to spend some time on the water, and help protect the Oswegatchie River.
A debate has heated up in Lake George around the best ways to treat the invasive aquatic plant Eurasian watermilfoil.
Despite objections from several stakeholder groups, the Adirondack Park Agency on Thursday approved a controversial plan to apply an herbicide to two infestations of invasive milfoil in two bays on the east side of Lake George.
Here in the Adirondack region, we know how special Lake Champlain is. It provides year-round recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike and drives our local economies. It hosts some of the best fishing in the nation and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Lake Champlain provides so much to our communities, and now we need the state to step up and protect it.
Invasive species outcompete native wildlife and cause severe harm to our ecosystems and our economies. Their proliferation can lead to the extinction of native plants and animals and threaten our way of life.
Lake Champlain is facing that threat now, with the looming introduction of invasive round goby. Round goby is a small fish species native to southeastern Europe that arrived in the Great Lakes 31 years ago in a ship’s untreated ballast water. Round gobies aggressively outcompete native fish for habitat and feed on their eggs and young, harming native fisheries and local businesses.
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?
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