“We will not get a second chance to get this right and we are truly fortunate to have a Park Commission that is responding to the gravity of the moment.”
- S.A.V.E. Lake George Partnership
Concerted Action for Improved Water Quality
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.
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.
The Background Story
On January 28, 2014, the Lake George Park Commission voted to implement a mandatory Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program. This landmark decision came in the wake of steadfast advocacy by The FUND and our partners.
“With this historic vote, the Commission has upheld its protection mandate in the face of the gathering invasives threat.”
- Lake George Mayor Bob Blais
Published in April 2012, The FUND’s “Clean Boats Only” report presented the definitive case for mandatory inspection and decontamination of boats entering Lake George. Over the course of the year and into 2013, the report provided crucial information and generated momentum for a mandatory program. The report concluded, “If the status quo around Lake George is maintained, new infestations will occur, many of which are much worse than the four we’re already trying to manage.”
These words proved to be prescient all too soon as one of the “Coming soon to Lake George” invasive species featured in “Clean Boats Only,” the Spiny waterflea, was discovered after the report’s release. Continued spread of the Asian clam coupled with the arrival of the Spiny waterflea compelled The FUND to redouble its efforts on invasives prevention. In the push for a mandatory prevention program without further delays, The FUND catalyzed cooperation among public and private interests to help ensure success. The S.A.V.E. (Stop Aquatic inVasives from Entering) Lake George Partnership was created to coalesce these efforts basinwide. In late 2012, S.A.V.E., along with businesses, local governments, conservation groups, and the scientific community, petitioned the Governor to ensure necessary actions from the State at the earliest possible date. Moreover, S.A.V.E. members committed to paying half the cost of program over the next two years. This proved to be the deciding factor for implementation of the prevention program in 2014.
“Growing alarm over the crisis posed by invasive species has spurred unprecedented collaboration… united by our commitment to protecting the life blood of the regional economy,the world-renowned water quality of Lake George.”
- S.A.V.E. Lake George Partnership
The Park Commission implemented the prevention program on May 15, 2014. The program includes a “night stewards” program at public launches to complement daily hours of operation.
The mounting threat of aquatic invasive species is gaining statewide attention with a proposed new regulation by the State Department of Environmental Conservation to prohibit the launching of boats (trailered and car-top) at any state launch facility that is not “clean and drained” to prevent invasives from spreading. The comprehensive and cooperative actions on Lake George show the scale of commitment now needed for statewide success.