Area residents will have an opportunity to comment on proposed Lake George boating regulations aimed at preventing the spread of invasive species. The Lake George Park Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed plan Wednesday, June 12, at 6 p.m. at the Best Western in Ticonderoga.
Area residents will have an opportunity to comment on proposed Lake George boating regulations aimed at preventing the spread of invasive species.
The Lake George Park Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed plan Wednesday, June 12, at 6 p.m. at the Best Western in Ticonderoga.
“This has been a very open and significant effort over the past 18 months, and we look forward to the public’s comments on our draft plan” LGPC Chairman Bruce Young said. “These public hearings offer great opportunities for everyone to voice their opinion on this important topic, and these hearings will help shape the commission’s decisions on how to proceed forward.”
The Lake George Park Commission adopted a Draft Invasive Species Prevention Plan and Environmental Impact Statement April 23. The plan identifies a “preferred alternative” that calls for a mandatory inspection program for all trailered boats entering Lake George and hot water power washing decontamination of boats that don’t pass inspection.
Before the draft can become final the public will have 60 days to comment. The public comment period will end June 25. The plan can be read online at the LGPC website, www.lgpc.state.ny.us.
Lake George currently has five invasive species in its waters — asian clam, eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels, curlyleaf pondweed and spiny waterflea. It’s believed those non-native species were brought to Lake George by boats that had been in other lakes.
The LGPC spends more than $1 million a year to manage and eradicate invasive species. In the past two years alone the state and local governments have spent more than $1.5 million in efforts to eradicate the asian clam.
The plan is the result of two years of research and more than 50 public meetings.
According to the draft plan, five inspection and decontamination stations will be set up on Lake George — at Mossy Point in Ticonderoga, Rogers Rock Campsite in Hague, Narowal Marina in Bolton, near Exit 21 of the Northway in Lake George and Ridge Road in Queensbsury. There are 103 boat access points on the lake. Private boat launches and marinas will be asked to sign a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to inspect and decontaminate boats.
The five inspection and decontamination stations are expected to cost $61,000 each to establish. Once those stations are in place, the program is expected to cost $677,000 a year to operate.
Dean Cook of Ticonderoga, a LGPC commissioner, said it’s still uncertain how the program will be funded. He said the Lake George Park Commission will seek money from the state, which owns the lake. He also noted communities surrounding the lake may be asked to contribute. Increased boat registration fees are also likely to help pay for the program.
Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender of Ticonderoga urged people to learn about the proposed plan.
“The LGA has been working closely with the LGPC on this plan as it has been under development for over a year now, participating in many public meetings and assisting the process by sharing data and information that the LGA’s award winning Lake Steward Program has collected over the last five years,” Lender said. “We were very pleased when it was approved unanimously by the LGPC commissioners at the April 23 monthly meeting. Preventing the introduction of more AIS (aquatic invasive species) into Lake George is vital to protecting the lake. And while our Lake Steward Program has had many ‘saves’ over the years and recently was recognized at the national level for its success, the LGPC has the authority to put stronger protections into place to protect the Lake from new AIS introductions.
“We encourage all of our members to take a look at the plan and to attend a public hearing,” Lender said. “If you can’t attend a hearing, there is still the opportunity to be involved in the process by submitting written comments.”
While the inspection and decontamination plan is probably a year away, the Lake George Park Commission and state Department of Environmental Conservation have agreed to step up efforts this summer to prevent the spread of invasive species in Lake George. The agencies will:
— expand the Lake George Association’s boat steward program from May to September. The season previously ran from June to August. The expanded program will be funded by $50,000 from the state Environmental Protection Fund;
— develop and implement a more comprehensive outreach program to local and regional boaters who boat on Lake George on how they can reduce the risk of spreading and introducing invasive species;
— increase patrols by DEC and LGPC officers trained in aquatic invasive species spread prevention; and
— establish voluntary boat wash stations at boat launches around Lake George.
The park commission has also received $400,000 from the state this year to help contain and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.