The North Elba Town Council gave its initial approval to a law Tuesday that would make the introduction of invasive species into Lake Placid a punishable crime.
Towns throughout the Adirondacks have begun instituting similar laws in an attempt to stem the flow of Eurasian milfoil, spiny water flea and other previously foreign species into the region's waters.
North Elba Councilman Bob Miller said that, if enacted, the law could see offenders dealt a $250 fine.
"We'll put up a sign that says, 'it's illegal to introduce any unapproved living creature into our lake,'" he said. "You can bring bait fish, but only if it comes from a certified source, like the Blue Line or something like that."
The draft North Elba invasive species law is largely modeled after one already instituted in the Hamilton County town of Lake Pleasant.
Lake Pleasant Supervisor Neil McGovern said in its year-and-a-half existence, the law - which is a cooperative effort with the Lake Pleasant Home Owners Association - has worked relatively well.
"I think it's worked fairly well - particularly the education piece," he said. "We have folks at the state launch site that we put in our budget to pay, asking them to hose off or educate them for their return trips."
Even with the law, Lake Pleasant has seen a rise in its population of spiny water flee.
Local hotels have even begun sending out copies of the law to tourists who may be bringing a boat to the area.
Lake Pleasant hires seasonal lake stewards with ticketing powers to enforce the law, but McGovern said the situation rarely goes that far.
"They're town employees who have ticket writing authority, though I don't know if we've ever had any," he said. "Mainly, it's intercepting folks and inspecting their boats before they launch."
Like the Lake Pleasant effort, the North Elba initiative would focus on education through signage and outreach.
North Elba would team up with the Lake Placid Shore Owners Association in the effort, a group that has received $10,000 for the installation of camera at the primary state boat launch on the lake. The camera would only supplement the lake stewards and is not meant to replace them.
Association President Mark Wilson said the $10,000 came through an anonymous donation to the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.
Last year, a Lake Placid steward attempted to intercept a boat coated with milfoil, but without enforcement powers, had no jurisdiction to stop the boater when he refused to comply with requests to clean the vehicle.
And Miller said the town needs some power to protect its assets.
"We're trying to protect one of the most important resources we have here. It's not only important recreationally and economically, but it's also our drinking water," Miller said. "We want to do all that we can to protect our watershed."
North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi said the law - which has yet to go to public hearing - is a necessary step in maintaining lake health.
"It's just the right thing to do," Politi said.