Upstate New York lakes studied for invasive species

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Inspections are a key part of preventing the transportation of invasive species.

Inspections are a key part of preventing the transportation of invasive species.

The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute concluded its studies of aquatic invasive species in upstate New York lakes. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Invasive Species Management Grant Program funded the two studies.

One study, presented by Michale Glennon, science director at AWI, focused on identifying and predicting which lakes would be most vulnerable to the introduction of invasive species. His research looked at the lakes that have the most boat traffic and ecological conditions that favor the establishment and spread of invasive species.

Glennon found that powerboat traffic is highest at large lakes that are close to interstates and have such amenities as parking, marinas, boat rentals and campgrounds. Trailered powerboats are the predominant transporters of invasive and non-native species.

“Understanding the patterns of boater traffic and which lakes are most vulnerable to the threat of aquatic invasive species will help the state and partners prioritize where to invest funding and staff to help prevent further spread or new infestations of these organisms,” Glennon said, according to a report on AdirondackAlmanack.com.

Another study, presented by AWI executive director Dan Kelting, looked at the effectiveness of the Adirondack Watershed Institute’s boat-steward program and the state’s AIS Spread Prevention Law. It states that boaters must take measures to prevent spreading invasive species before launching and upon retrieving boats on public waters in New York. The law expired in June 2019 and is up for reauthorization this June.

The study found that 78 percent of the boats in the Adirondack region had been out of the water for at least two weeks before launching and had only visited the same body of water where they were launched. “These data show that the majority of boats launching in Adirondack waters are at low risk of transporting AIS,” Kelting said. “These boats are always in the same water body or are used infrequently.

“We have an opportunity to enhance and target our educational efforts to boaters who are at high risk of carrying AIS,” Kelting added. “Strengthening the presence of stewards at high-risk, unstaffed water bodies will enhance the impact of preventing AIS. There is also opportunity to increase compliance with the AIS spread prevention law through increased high-profile educational efforts.”

Glennon concluded that invasive species remain a threat to Adirondack waters. “We recommend that AIS spread prevention programs around New York continue to be enhanced so that the effectiveness of boat steward and decontamination efforts further improve,” he said.

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