Adirondack Watershed Stewards have reported a 25% increase in the number of watercraft inspections at Adirondack boat launches compared with this time last year.
The Adirondack Region had already been experiencing increased tourism even before the current pandemic. This summer’s excellent weather has given a further boost to visitor numbers, even as the closed border keeps Canadian tourists home.
Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (PSC AWI) employs more than 100 seasonal stewards to work with the boating public to help meet the Clean, Drain, and Dry standard required by New York State to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. The program provides public with boat decontamination and inspection services at popular boat launches throughout the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park.
AWI stewards report having caught Eurasian watermilfoil, Variableleaf milfoil, Hydrilla, Curlyleaf pondweed, Waterchestnut, Spiny waterflea and Zebra mussels.
Two weeks ago, boat launch stewards working for the Lake Champlain Basin Program reported boats with masses of fishhook waterfleas fouling gear. There are no controls for spiny waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus) or fishhook waterflea (Cercopagis pengoi).
To date, AWI Stewards say they have performed more than 50,000 watercraft inspections and nearly 2,000 decontamination boat washes.
Launches with the highest number of boat inspections performed by AWI’s stewards thus far in 2020 are all NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) launches. They are Second Pond in Saranac Lake, Broadalbin on Great Sacandaga Lake, and Lake Placid.
The busiest decontamination station in the AWI network is at the Adirondacks Welcome Center on Interstate 87 northbound near Exit 18 in Glens Falls. AWI operates boat inspection and decontamination services at more than 70 locations in the Adirondacks.
Boat inspection and decontamination stations are cooperatively funded by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Service-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Lake Champlain Basin Program, numerous Lake Associations, private foundations, municipalities, and district taxing authorities.
Up to date information about inspection and decontamination station locations can be found online. Other information about aquatic invasive species ecology and steps the public can take to maintain the quality of New York’s waterways can also be found there.
Illustrations provided: AWI Watershed Stewards take a short break at the Adirondacks Welcome Center on I-87 northbound near Exit 18, and map of Adirondack boat wash stations in 2020.