Adirondack Watershed Stewards are seeing a remarkable increase in the number of watercraft inspections at area boat launches compared with this time last year.
Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (PSC AWI) employs more than 100 seasonal stewards to work with the boating public across the Adirondacks 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 the public with boat decontamination and inspection services at popular boat launches throughout the Adirondacks.
To date, AWI Stewards have performed more than 50,000 watercraft inspections and nearly 2,000 decontamination boat washes. Watercraft inspections are up 25% compared to last year.
“The July 4th weekend proved to be busier than normal at many of the launches in the AWI network”, said Dan Kelting, Executive Director of PSC AWI. “During this weekend alone our stewards inspected just over 9,000 boats.”
Launches with the highest number of boat inspections performed by AWI’s stewards thus far in 2020 are all at 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.
AWI stewards have caught Eurasian watermilfoil, Variableleaf milfoil, Hydrilla, Curlyleaf pondweed, Waterchestnut, Spiny waterflea and Zebra mussels. “Though all of these aquatic invasive species are harmful, the interception of Hydrilla is most alarming”, said Kelting. “Our stewards only inspect a fraction of boats launching into Adirondack waters, so it is ultimately up to the boaters themselves to inspect and clean their boats to ensure our waters can be enjoyed for generations to come”.
The 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, and municipalities.
Up to date information about inspection and decontamination station locations can be found at www.adkcleanboats.org. 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.
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.