For Immediate Release: May 14, 2014
On the eve of implementing the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program, the S.A.V.E. (Stop Aquatic inVasives from Entering) Lake George Partnership praised the Lake George Park Commission and Governor Cuomo for taking this historic step. The AIS prevention program on Lake George is the only mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program in the eastern United States and demonstrates the level of resolve required for stopping invasives and protecting a water body from their destructive impacts. Skyrocketing costs of treating invasives after they get in makes prevention the only real means of protection.
As expressed by S.A.V.E. Chairman, Mayor Bob Blais of Lake George Village, “Success in bringing this program to life required unprecedented cooperation and commitment from everyone. S.A.V.E. is proud to have partnered with New York State in putting up half the money to ensure program implementation at the earliest possible date,” said Mayor Blais. “We could never have come so far so fast without the good will and tremendous conviction of all those who know the enemy we face with invasives. The health of our communities and our economy depend on the health of the lake. Invasives are one of the most critical threats to our lake,” the Mayor said.
The S.A.V.E. Lake George Partnership represents public and private leaders—including municipal officials, conservation groups, scientists, and businesses—around Lake George who committed to paying half the annual cost of the prevention program (over $350,000 for each of the next two years). S.A.V.E. is also working with the Lake George Park Commission and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to help ensure effective protection. This includes a “night stewards” program at public launches to complement daily hours of operation.
Only trailered boats are required to be inspected before launching in Lake George. There are six regional inspection stations around the lake sited to make the program as convenient as possible. These include: Transfer Road at Exit 21 of the Adirondack Northway, Dunham’s Bay Marina, Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, Huletts Landing Marina, Rogers Rock State Campground and Mossy Point State Boat Launch.
There is no cost for boat inspections or for decontamination should it be necessary. Exact station locations and more details on the program can be found by visiting www.LGBoatInspections.com.
Currently, there are five known invasives in Lake George—Eurasian watermilfoil, Curlyleaf pondweed, Asian clams, Spiny waterflea, and Zebra mussels. To date, more than $7 million has been spent trying to control and eradicate these species, but once established, effective management becomes increasingly difficult and costly. Lost tourism revenues, degraded fisheries, and reduced property values are among the impacts of greatest concern.
“Prevention is the only option in heading off the damage inflicted by invasives,” said Ron Conover, Bolton Town Supervisor, and founding S.A.V.E. member. “Let there be no mistake, there is no middle ground, no compromise on this issue if we are to protect the lake, the lifeblood of our economy. Highly destructive species, already in New York and headed this way, include Quagga mussels and Hydrilla. They will exact a tragically high toll should they get in. We cannot allow that to happen,” said Conover.
“The Lake George Park Commission is fortunate to have such strong support from both Albany leadership and the communities around Lake George to be able to put this important program in place. Our goal is to make sure that Lake George is the same outstanding natural treasure 50 years from now that it is today,” said Dave Wick, Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission.
“In working with New York State to help underwrite and implement the AIS Prevention Program, S.A.V.E. has shown the power of partnership,” said Eric Siy, Executive Director of The FUND for Lake George and founding S.A.V.E. member.
“In both process and outcome, this is history in the making. Ultimately, stopping invasives will require serious commitment statewide. Lake George can serve as a model from which to learn and act,” said Siy.