LONG LAKE - For the second year, boat inspections continue at the Long Lake boat launch in a major effort to prevent invasive species from contaminating local waters.
Lake stewards Kinga Stryszowski and Sam Taylor greet boaters, inspect their boats/trailers and provide information about the invasive aquatic species Eurasian water milfoil. They educate boaters on preventive methods to keep the plants out of all water bodies and collect data to be assimilated into a final report.
Stryszowski, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in environmental science, was born in Poland and moved to Queens with her family at the age of 11. The Stryszowski family owns and operates the Motel Long Lake and Cottages.
"I was interested in this position for two reasons. First, as a new resident of Long Lake I really wanted to experience life and work in my community. Second, I have educational and work experience with invasive species so I already had knowledge of the importance in the prevention of their spread," said Stryszowski.
When asked about the importance of the program Stryszowski stated, "The spread of invasive species is done unintentionally by people who are unaware of the threat. Education is key. It is so much easier and cost effective to educate people and teach boaters to inspect their boats than to annually dredge and clean an infested body of water."
Taylor is a 2009 graduate of Lehigh University with a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering. He has resided in Long Lake with his parents since 2007.
"The reason I became a lake steward is because I love the outdoors and appreciate the environment. I live on Big Brook and would not want to see Long Lake ruined by invasive species," said Taylor.
If he discovers invasive plant particles Taylor said, "I remove plant matter, put it in a bucket, let it dry out and throw it in the woods. If something looks suspicious, I bag up a sample, and take it to the steward coordinator for further analysis."
The lake steward program is provided this year through the combined efforts of the Long Lake Association and the town of Long Lake. The 2008 program, coordinated by Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith's College, proved that the discovery and elimination of the invasive plants is imperative to the health of Long Lake.
Once invasive species like Eurasian water milfoil permeate the lake, they continue to spread and the cost of the removal process can be exorbitant. The stewards will be on duty seven days a week through Labor Day weekend, and a full report of their findings will be available in the fall of 2009.