The law requiring motorized boats to be inspected for invasive plants and other harmful organisms prior to launch in New York waters has been extended. The Legislature also approved new education and outreach funding.
The new law also makes permanent the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species Transport Act, which required boaters to take precautions like cleaning, draining, and drying their watercraft before launching in New York waters.
That law had originally been temporary and was set to expire in 2019. It was extended twice by the Legislature. The new Adirondack Park inspection requirement will take effect in 180 days, or May of 2022, as the boating season begins.
In the Adirondacks, the new law establishes protocols for ensuring compliance either through a tamper-proof tag issued by inspectors at the state’s network of inspection stations around the Park, or via a state-designed self-certification.
Invasive aquatic plants and animals are among the leading causes of biodiversity loss in freshwater ecosystems. Non-native organisms also negatively impact recreational opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating, which reduce property values, local tax rolls, and tourism dollars.
Once an invasive species establishes itself in new waters, it is very difficult to manage and eradicate. Some communities have spent millions of dollars combating invasive species.
“This law doesn’t impose new penalties or create burdensome requirements for boaters,” said Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “It establishes a user-friendly system to verify compliance with the clean, drain, dry requirements already established in law. It supports the existing boat wash and inspection stations to which the public has grown accustomed across the region.”
Invasive species spread from one body of water to another through the overland transport of boating and fishing equipment and movement of live fish and baitfish. The Department of Environmental Conservation supports watercraft inspection stewards across the state to educate boaters about aquatic invasive species and inspect and decontaminate boats to ensure they meet the state’s “Clean, Drained, Dry” standards.
Photo of Adirondack decontamination station courtesy Adirondack Watershed Institute.