Invasive Species Awareness Week is this week

Paul Smith’s College is sponsoring Invasive Species Awareness Week once again this year. This yearÕs event runs through Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen)

Each year at the beginning of the boating season, Paul Smith’s College sponsors a public awareness program to help get the word out about the need for boaters to keep their boats and equipment clean, drained and dry.

Whether recreational fishing, waterskiing, kayaking, canoeing, using a personal water craft or just doing some scenic cruising in a pontoon boat, the need to keep our Adirondack waters pristine is so important that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has invested $2 million in prevention programs.

Since prevention is always cheaper and easier than trying to clean up the mess afterward, it’s a welcome program.

During the pandemic there was a dramatic rise in the number of boaters getting out in the open air.

Locally at West Canada Lake boat launch alone there was a doubling of boaters from roughly 2,500 in the summer of 2019 to about 5,000 last summer. If a boat needs decontamination, there is a boat wash station across the road from the Caroga Town Hall adjacent to the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course where the boater can get a free boat wash cleaned by a trained decontamination steward.

According to Zoe Smith, Deputy Director of AWI:

— 120 AWI stewards worked across 62 launch and roadside inspection and decontamination stations in 2020.

— AWI stewards counted 125,192 boats in 2020, 25 percent more boats than in 2019.

— The majority of boats counted were motorized boats (72 percent) with the remainder being non-motorized boats.

— There were six species of AIS found on boats in 2020, none of which were new to the Adirondacks.

— The most commonly found plant species was Eurasian water milfoil and the most commonly found animal species was Zebra mussel.

Eric Paul, who directs the AWI Stewardship Program stated this year during the June 6 to June 12 Invasive Species Awareness Week, there is an emphasis on young people learning about the need to keep our Adirondack waters clean.

“This year our Education and Outreach Program has put together something for local children and their parents if they are interested,” Paul said.

According to Paul, boat stewards may be asked such questions as;

— What is your favorite part of the job? 

— How do invasive species harm our lake?

— Do you know which invasive species live in this lake?

— How many boats have you inspected today etc.? 

Pretty simple. Paul went on to say to stewards:

“This is open to all of the boat launches we work throughout the Adirondack Park, so this to let you know so you are prepared in case someone does show up at your launch.”

For more information go to: http://www.adkwatershed.org/

By Paul Wager