Lake George Park Commission Votes to Help Fund Lake Steward Program
Thanks to the Lake George Park Commission, Lake George’s Lake Steward Program will expand this summer, the Lake George Association has announced.
At its April meeting, the Commission voted to contribute $35,000 to the program, which was designed to prevent the introduction of invasive species into Lake George through boats and bait buckets.
The stewards, who are hired, trained and managed by the Lake George Association, inspect boats for invasive species, remove suspicious plants and animals, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species to Lake George.
“The Lake George Lake Steward Program is critical to protecting the water quality of Lake George,” said Bruce Young, chair of the Lake George Park Commission. “By visually inspecting boats and trailers, and removing suspicious samples, the LGA stewards help stop the introduction and transport of invasive species between waterbodies throughout the Lake Champlain Basin and the Northeast.”
The Commission’s action followed a recommendation of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Spread Prevention, which is chaired by John Pettica and includes Dean Cook and Joe Stanek.
Last year, Lake Stewards inspected 2,538 boats and talked to boaters about the threats of Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels, curly-leaf pondweed, and the lake’s most recent invader, the Asian clam. Thirty-six samples of Eurasian watermilfoil were removed during the season. Nine samples of curly-leaf pondweed were found, three samples of zebra mussels, and five of water chestnut, an invasive that is not currently found in Lake George.
The increased funding will provide maximum coverage for peak periods and for the launches that receive the highest traffic, said Emily DeBolt, LGA education director and manager of the Lake Steward Program on Lake George.
In addition to Norowal Marina, Mossy Point, Hague Town Beach and Rogers Rock, two other boat launch sites will be monitored, said DeBolt.
“Days and hours of coverage will also increase, as we seek to provide seven-day-a-week coverage during the busiest times of the season,” said DeBolt. “Twelve-hour-a-day coverage is the goal for Mossy Point and Norowal, while other sites will receive eight hours per day. Mossy Point and Norowal were chosen for increased coverage due to the high volume of their traffic. “
The estimated program costs for 2011 are $67,000. $25,000 will be funded through the Lake Champlain Basin program, $35,000 will be provided by the Lake George Park Commission, and the LGA will provide the remaining funds from its Helen V. Froehlich Foundation grant awards, said DeBolt.
“While dozens of different aquatic invasive species reside nearby, only four are currently found in Lake George. We aim to keep it that way,” said DeBolt,
In addition to inspection, lake stewards will collect data about lake users and invasive species.
“We’ll document the species found, the number of boats launched, the type of boat, the number of people in the boat, the last body of water the boat was in, and the presence of a LGPC decal. This information sheds light on the pathways of invasive species, and helps to identify target areas for early detection and control. A report for the public is prepared at the end of the season,” said DeBolt.
While Lake Stewards primarily cover boat launch sites, they also assist at special events such as the Adirondack Park Invasive Species Awareness Week, and inventory terrestrial invasive species on state-owned islands.