MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS BORDERING LAKE GEORGE REGARDING AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES PREVENTION
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to describe an understanding among the municipal governments bordering Lake George regarding a program to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species in Lake George. This MOU is not a binding commitment, but is a statement of the intent of the municipalities signing this document to work together in good faith to create an effective program to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species in Lake George in recognition of the following:
• Lake George currently is experiencing infestations of five aquatic invasive species, and aquatic invasive species infestations pose a serious and urgent threat to the ecological health of Lake George and the economic future of the Lake George region; and,
• More than $7 million dollars has been spent to remove and control the five aquatic invasive species established in Lake George, and the efficacy and cost effectiveness of aquatic invasive species spread prevention have been found to far exceed eradication and containment efforts of introduced species.
• Aquatic invasive species spread prevention in Lake George currently relies exclusively on public education and voluntary compliance to check for visible plants and animals.
• Lake George faces a grave and imminent threat from aquatic invasive species, including Quagga Mussels, that can be spread when they are in their juvenile, microscopic form, and are highly transportable by boats in engine waters, bilge waters, ballast waters, live well waters, and anchors as well as live bait containers.
• There is mounting scientific evidence regarding trailered boats to be the primary vector for the transport of aquatic invasive species. It is also well documented that investment in the prevention of aquatic invasive species can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of invasives treatment and avoids all associated environmental damage. .Furthermore, it is scientifically documented that high temperature pressure wash with high user participation is the most effective measure for the removal and prevention of aquatic invasive species.
• Viable mandatory boat inspection and decontamination programs have been successfully established in other parts of the country at large popular lakes with numerous public and private points of entry, and a centralized program is needed for Lake George, which is bordered by eight towns, one village and three counties, especially with the high number of transient boats in recent contact with waterbodies infested with invasive species not known to be present in Lake George; and,
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY
AGREED that the undersigned Towns, Village and Counties support the creation of a new mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program for Lake George in order to protect the water quality and public enjoyment of Lake George to the maximum extent practicable by proactively preventing the introduction of new aquatic invasive species; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties support the implementation of a policy of “Clean, Drained, and Dry” for all trailered boats entering Lake George, and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties intend to erect signage to inform boaters of problems associated with invasive species transport, a “Clean, Drained and Dry” standard required for launching trailered boats on Lake George and existing laws preventing the transportation of invasive species; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties intend to require that all trailered boats be inspected and comply with a “Clean, Drained and Dry” standard and all boats and trailers not meeting the standard are to be decontaminated with high pressure, heated wash; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties intend to cooperate with each other, not for profit organizations, and the state and federal government to purchase the requisite number of wash stations for installation at specific locations to provide decontamination service for boats intending to enter Lake George. (These wash stations will be compatible with the existing wash station that was utilized by the Lake George Park Commission during their Summer 2012 Pilot Program and will be placed in locations based on launch data, traffic patterns, and available area as envisioned for “Inspection State Site” recommended by the Lake George Park Commission); and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties intend to implement an inspection tag program to designate boats that have been determined to meet the “Clean, Drained and Dry” standard or have been decontaminated; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties intend to pursue and implement a training program for personnel to staff and operate the inspection and decontamination stations as well as to train staff attendants for public launches under their jurisdiction to verify all boats launching comply with the inspection tag requirement. Attendants at launches will also be responsible for securing boats exiting the lake with an inspection tag linking the boat to the trailer; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties intend to prepare Memorandums of Understanding with marinas and motels with launch facilities to implement the protocol for complying with inspection tag verification; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties recognize the importance of the State of New York properties and launches for providing public access, but that they also provide major points of entry for aquatic invasive species introduction; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties call upon the State of New York to partner with the said parties and adopt the same prevention policy for its launches, which can continue to provide access for complying users while preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species; and it is further
AGREED that the said Towns, Village and Counties believe that the emergency nature of this serious and urgent threat to the ecological and economic health of Lake George, and its role as public and private drinking water supply through negative impacts to water quality and infrastructure, constitutes the need for said actions to be in place and in force at the start of the 2013 boating season; and it is further
AGREED that this Memorandum of Understanding may be signed in counterparts.