Thursday, June 04, 2009

LAKE STEWARDS ON DUTY AGAIN AROUND LAKE GEORGE

June 2, 2009 Lake George, NY - Again this summer, lake stewards will be at boat launches around Lake George to educate boaters about invasive species spread prevention and to inspect boats.

Stewards will be located at Norowal Marina and Dunhams Bay Marina in the south end, and Mossy Point, Hague Town Launch, Gull Bay Town Launch, and Rogers Rock in the north end on various weekends.

"We have a great group of stewards working for us this summer. They all grew up in the area. They love Lake George, and want to give back by helping protect it this summer," said Emily DeBolt, the Lake George Association's Education and Outreach Coordinator.

DeBolt and the LGA coordinate the Lake George Lake Steward program on behalf of the Lake George Watershed Coalition. Training for the stewards, as well as data collection methods, are done in coordination with the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smiths College and the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Already, the lake stewards are off to a great start this season, removing 6 plants from boats over Memorial Day Weekend at Norowal Marina. 3 were native plants, and 3 were invasive plants: Eurasian watermilfoil, Curly-leaf pondweed, and Water Chestnut.

Water Chestnut has widespread negative impacts on Lake Champlain, but the invasive weed is not currently found in Lake George.Last summer, the stewards inspected 2,964 boats at launches around the lake between Memorial Day and mid-August, removing a total of 61 specimens of aquatic invasive species.

In addition to inspecting boats and providing information about invasive species, the stewards ask boaters a number of questions as part of a survey, which will be used to gain a better understanding of how invasive species are spread and to gauge the public's knowledge on the issue.

As part of the survey, stewards ask what body of water the boat was last in. Last year, boaters reported having come from 159 different waterbodies in 19 different states before arriving at Lake George. 

Some of those boats, 25 to be exact, reported having last been in Great Sacandaga Lake, where the first invasion of the spiny waterflea in an inland waterbody in New York, was discovered last fall. The spiny waterflea is a tiny zooplankton that could disrupt our fishery, and it, along with many other potential invaders, are on the stewards' radar for this summer.

The stewards will also be spreading the message about the new DEC firewood regulation, which limits the movement of untreated wood to 50 miles in an effort to protect our forests from insect invaders, such as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), which have devastating impacts on tree populations in the Great Lakes and the Northeast. One of the prime methods for spread of these pests is through the transportation of firewood. EAB has been moving from Michigan to Ohio, Pennsylvania and Quebec. ALB has been found in the New York City area, as well as Worcester, Pennsylvania.

By definition, invasive plant and animal species are non-native, yet are well adapted to the conditions and face no natural controls in the form of predators. When established, invasive species reproduce quickly and outcompete native species for necessary resources, such as food, space, oxygen, and sunlight. Eventually, native species can be completely displaced by the invader. Invasive species also have the potential to cause significant economic impacts and impacts to human health.

Some funding for the program has been provided by the New York State Department of State and by the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

For more info about the Lake Steward program, or ways you can get involved in helping protect Lake George, contact the LGA at 668-3558 or go online to www.lakegeorgeassociation.org.

Source: Lake George Association - P.O. Box 408 - Lake George, NY 12845(518) 668-3558 - Fax (518) 668-4702 - www.lakegeorgeassociation.org

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