This story appeared on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Listen here.
When boaters visit Lake George, they’re required to have their vessels inspected before entering the water to protect against the spread of invasive species. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on the program’s latest results.
The Lake George Park Commission’s Mandatory Boat Inspection Program is now four years old.
And LGPC Executive Director Dave Wick is pleased with the numbers for the 2017 season.
“More than 100 boats with visible aquatic invasive species on them, they were stopped before they got into the lake. We decontaminated those boats,” said Wick. “And then all those others that were decontaminated, 1,800 boats, they were a threat because they weren’t cleaned, drained or dry and we cleaned those up before they went into the lake.”
Seven boat inspection stations operate on Lake George during the boating season. In total, more than 31,000 boats were inspected.
To date, five species of invasive plants and animals have been established in Lake George.
Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky is glad that no more have entered the lake since the program started.
“We don’t know of any new invasive species that are in Lake George after four years of the program working, so that shows that it’s working,” said Navitsky.
As the boat inspection program continues, New York state will take additional steps to prevent harmful algal blooms in the lake.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned the plan while presenting his budget Tuesday.
“And the upstate lakes, we have a really serious problem with different bacteria and algal blooms. Many of those lakes are also sources of drinking water.”
Including Lake George.
While the lake hasn’t seen the harmful algal blooms that have affected other water bodies, including Lake Champlain, the lake will be one of 12 in the North Country region to be studied under the bill, which pledges $65 million to develop action plans to target pollution.
Pat Dowd is a spokesman for the Lake George Association.
“Lake George of course is the economic engine for the entire region up here. It’s $2 billion worth of economic input into the economy of the region. It’s a program, I think, that will allow us to be a model to help all of the other lakes in the state,” said Dowd.
Grant funding will be used to implement the action plans and install new monitoring equipment and treatment technologies.