Aquatic Invasive Species are a Threat to all Waterways in New York State
Aquatic invasive plants and animals threaten the quality of all of New York’s rivers, lakes and ponds, from the Finger Lakes and Catskills to the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. Motor boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, standup paddleboards, waders, and fishing gear can carry these aquatic hitchhikers from lake to lake. Some species, like rock snot, are microscopic and therefore undetectable, yet can create thick, dense mats the cover the bottoms of streams and rivers.
Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (PSC AWI) is offering free boat inspections and decontaminations at more than 60 locations across the Adirondack region to help the public stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. PSC AWI is implementing the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program to help the public observe the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species spread prevention law which prohibits invasive plants and animals on boats launching into New York State lakes, ponds and rivers. The program includes decontamination stations and boat inspection locations at popular boat launches throughout the Adirondacks.
“Once an invasive plant or animal is introduced to a waterway they colonize and rapidly degrade our most cherished water bodies, “said Dan Kelting, Executive Director for the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute. “We work hand in hand with the DEC to provide free, full-service boat washing and inspection to make it easy for the public to protect our waterways.”
PSC AWI and DEC are spotlighting New York’s newest and highest profile boat inspection and decontamination station at the Adirondacks Welcome Center on Interstate 87 northbound near Exit 18 in Glens Falls. This newly constructed station provides easily accessible services at a gateway to the Adirondacks and will save boaters time when they arrive at their favorite launch site. On-site staff will inspect boats, educate visitors about aquatic invasive species, and decontaminate any boat to meet the Clean, Drain, and Dry standard required by New York State.
“Non-native plants and animals impact our tourism-based economy in the North County and can be a threat to biodiversity and to people,” Kelting said. “If left unchecked, invasive species can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue and depreciated property values. Fortunately, many of our Adirondack waterways have not yet recorded harmful invasive species. We have the opportunity to further prevent the spread of invasive species through public involvement and stewardship.”
The boat inspection and decontamination stations are cooperatively funded by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund, USEPA-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Lake Champlain Basin Program, numerous Lake Associations, private foundations, and municipalities.
Information about inspection and decontamination station locations, aquatic invasive species ecology and steps the public can take to maintain the quality of New York’s waterways is at www.adkcleanboats.org.
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.