More Than 100 Events to be Held Statewide as Part of Invasive Species Week
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 12 new boat decontamination stations are now open across the Adirondacks, as part of a pilot program to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the region. In addition, more than 100 events will be held this week across the state in recognition of Invasive Species Week, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as July 12 – 18.
"Preventing the spread of invasive species in our Adirondack waterways is vital to preserving the natural treasures of this region and ensuring it remains a major economic asset," Governor Cuomo said. "Through a proactive campaign we are getting experts and the public involved so everyone can do their part to keep the Adirondacks pristine and enjoyable for years to come."
This comprehensive pilot program is led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, and Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute. It includes strategically locating boat washing stations, the addition of boat stewards at 14 new locations in the region, invasive species prevention signage at all Department of Environmental Conservation and most municipal and private boat launches, and educational outreach efforts.
The program is the result of an agreement reached among more than 60 conservation groups, owners associations, and local and state governments in March to work in concert to help preserve clean water, increase recreation opportunities and promote tourism. This effort is funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the new state budget included an additional $1 million in the Environmental Protection Fund targeted specifically for combatting aquatic invasive species.
Boat launch stewards at 41 boat launches will show arriving boaters the signs of possible invasive threats on their watercraft and trailers. At decontamination stations, boat stewards will use high pressure, hot water decontamination units to clean boats that have not been cleaned and drained. Boater participation is voluntary yet strongly encouraged.
“The many groups partnering with the state in this important work is key to this program’s success,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “Governor Cuomo has made significant investments to combat invasive species and educate New Yorkers about the damage they can cause. These measures will preserve pristine waters while promoting regional tourism.”
A recent study by the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program found that if invasive species are allowed to spread, they could cost the Adirondack economy up to $900 million. This includes annual losses in visitor spending, and agriculture and primary forest production value as well as losses in property value that will affect the tax base and borrowing ability for property owners on an ongoing basis.
Data from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program indicates 18 aquatic invasive and non-native species currently infest waters in the Adirondack region. Nearly 200 aquatic invasive and non-native species exist nearby in the Great Lakes, Hudson River, Lake Champlain, and St. Lawrence River and are a threat to invade waters of the Adirondacks. Aquatic invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterflea, can be spread by boats, trailers, fishing gear and other equipment.
In 2014, during the first ever Invasive Species Week, Governor Cuomo signed a new law to help stop the spread of these harmful species. Under the law and subsequent regulations, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and Markets created lists of prohibited and regulated species and established measures to prevent their release in the state. The regulations make it unlawful to knowingly possess a prohibited species with the intent to sell, import, purchase, transport or introduce.
Invasive Species Week Events
More than 100 events will be held across the state to help prevent the spread of invasive species in recognition of Invasive Species Week. The events are designed to raise awareness and to encourage all New Yorkers to take action to protect lands and waters from invasive species that can be harmful to human health, animal habitat, agriculture and tourism. Additional information and a complete list of more than 100 events are available on the NY Invasive Species Week website at www.nyis.info/blog.
Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Invasive Species Week is an opportunity to educate New Yorkers about the proactive measures they can take year-round to prevent the spread of these harmful species, which pose a serious threat to New York agriculture, our ecosystems and economy. By working together with our partners at the Department of Environmental Conservation, and with the help of all of our partners on the ground in communities across the state, we stand a better chance at managing and fighting these devastating species, and protecting our farmlands, waterways and natural resources.”
Recreational Boating Precautions
The Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation adopted new regulations last year that require boaters to remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching and after retrieving from Department of Environmental Conservation and Parks boat launches. Boaters are advised to check their boats, trailers and fishing and boating equipment, bunks, rollers, trim tabs and other likely attachment points on boats and trailers for any plants or animals that may be clinging to them. Following a thorough inspection, boaters should follow the CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY standard:
- CLEAN boats, trailers and equipment of any debris, and dispose of it in an upland area or receptacle provided for this purpose.
- DRAIN the boat completely, including bilge areas, live wells and bait wells. Water ski and wake board boat operators should be sure to drain all ballast tanks. Many aquatic invasive species can survive in as little as a drop of water, so it is imperative that all water is removed.
- DRY all equipment for at least five days before using it in another water body. Longer drying times may be required for difficult to dry equipment or during damp or cool periods. Drying is the simplest and most effective way to ensure equipment does not transport plants or animals.
State Senator Elizabeth Little said, “Controlling the spread of invasive species is essential to the quality of our park environment, protection of property values, and health of our economy. The leadership of the governor combined with the collaboration of local government and private groups is resulting in a coordinated program to control aquatic invasive species in the Adirondack Park. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support and applaud the collaboration of municipalities and NGO’s working together so effectively to provide a park wide on the ground program to address this threat.”
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey said, “In order to continue to preserve our Adirondack lakes and waterways we must be pro-active in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. The boat launch stewards and boat wash stations will serve not only as a deterrent to spreading invasive species but also as an awareness to the public of the need for all boat owners to do their part in assisting in this effort.”
Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors William G. Farber said, “It is vital we protect the waters in the Adirondack Park, and we thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in bringing together and funding the efforts of this unique partnership of numerous organizations and local and state government. The stewardship efforts to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species are now up and running and we know this cooperation will make a difference.”
D. Billy Jones, Chairman Franklin County Legislature, said, “I have personally seen the damage invasive species can create in our beautiful local lakes. For our residents who live by our lakes, and remembering how important this is to our tourism industry, we must combat this and continue to have proper funding to protect one of our most important natural resources. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for the funding provided in this year’s budget to combat invasive species in our treasured local lakes and encourage them to continue to properly fund this important endeavor.”
Town of Wells Supervisor Brian Towers said, "The communities of the Adirondacks are pleased with the commitment and resources of the Governor and DEC to mitigate the proliferation of aquatic invasive species in the park. Today marks the first step in what we hope will be a multi-year program that promotes protecting our pristine waters through a system of boat washing stations that offer the boating public the opportunity to help protect the very asset they enjoy at no cost, so that future generation will also experience these magnificent waters."
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Coordinator Brendan Quirion said, “On behalf of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and partners, I want to thank Governor Cuomo, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Department of Transportation and Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute for their support, impressive effort and strong collaboration in getting this summer’s AIS spread prevention pilot program up and running. An operational pilot program not only represents the culmination of hard work conducted by dedicated staff and partners, but more importantly a commitment by all parties involved to better safeguard the Adirondack region from the negative ecological and economic impacts of aquatic invasive species. Future generations will thank us for taking this stand as our iconic lakes and ponds continue to provide the invaluable recreational, aesthetic, economic and ecological benefits that they always have.”
Eric Holmund, Director of Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute Watershed Stewardship Program said, “The Adirondack Pilot Program represents a tremendous step forward for landscape-scaled, coordinated invasive species management. The program brings together all the major stakeholders at an unprecedented level which is needed to address a threat that transcends municipal, park, and watershed boundaries. We have provided the information and the tools for the public to prevent the spread of AIS by inspecting and decontaminating their watercraft at many convenient locations around the Park. This is a landmark day in the history of water quality in New York State.”
Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway said, "Invasive species threaten the clean water and wildlife, economy and recreational enjoyment of America’s greatest Park, the Adirondacks; and the Adirondack Council applauds Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Joe Martens and all the local government and private stakeholders who have come together to fight this threat."
Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board executive Director Fred Monroe said, “We appreciate the Governor's leadership in protecting the health of Adirondack waters by funding this important invasive species prevention program. The Adirondack Lakes Alliance, the New York State Conservation Council, local governments, landowners and regional environmental groups are pleased to work in partnership with DEC to implement the program. We also appreciate the supplemental funds provided by the SAVE Lake George partnership.”
More information on the Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Pilot Program can be found at: http://www.adkwatershed.org/invasive-species/ais-pilot-program.
The recently adopted Aquatic Invasive Species regulations for Department of Environmental Conservation boat launches can be found at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/98240.html.
Additional information on the preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species can be found at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program's website (http://adkinvasives.com/) provides information on Aquatic Invasive Species in the Adirondacks, including identification of species and where they are currently found.
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