A Lake Steward talks to a boat owner about invasive species prior to launching in Lake George. On duty Thursday through Sunday 8 a.mn. to 5 p.m. at three popular launch sites, Lake George Association's Lake stewards are already back out for the season — at the Mossy Point Boat Launch in Ticonderoga, Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, and the Million Dollar Beach Boat Launch. Hours and locations of coverage are to increase starting Memorial Day Weekend.
The Lake George Association’s lake steward program is back in place.
The program seeks to protect the lake from the introduction and spread of invasive species that could negatively alter the lake’s ecosystem, shoreline property values, and the region’s tourism-driven economy.
Lake stewards will be on duty Thursday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mossy Point Boat Launch in Ticonderoga, Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, and the Million Dollar Beach Boat Launch in Lake George during the beginning of May. Hours and locations of coverage will increase starting Memorial Day weekend.
In years past, the lake stewards have not started at the launches until Memorial Day weekend. However, this year with an additional $20,000 being provided through the Lake George Park Commission from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, the program is starting earlier than it has in years past and will be collecting valuable data throughout the month of May.
Additional stewards will be starting Memorial Day weekend as usual, increasing the hours of coverage of the program and launches with lake steward coverage for the main summer boating season.
“We are working to coordinate our lake stewards with increased efforts by the Lake George Park Commission this season as well,” said Kristen Rohne, the LGA’s education coordinator, who will be in charge of the program this year. “In addition to increasing hours and coverage of the program, we are working to increase coordination with the LGPC Marine Patrol and boat wash attendants. It is going to be a very busy - and exciting – season. There is a larger public-private effort underway as well as an outreach campaign – so there is a lot going on this year. The goal of it all is to increase the protection for the Lake and stop the introduction of new AIS.”
Since 2008, the LGA’s lake stewards have inspected almost 25,000 boats at high traffic launches around the lake, removed over 400 AIS samples from boats, and have educated around 60,000 boaters about invasive species spread prevention. Last season in 2012, the lake stewards inspected almost 7,000 boats, educating around 18,000 boaters about AIS and spread prevention and removing 131 samples of invasive species from boats. For the past few years the LGA has been coordinating its program with other regional programs on Lake Champlain and in the Adirondacks and is also currently part of an advisory team developing a Lake Steward Manual for the State. The data collected by the lake stewards on Lake George has been instrumental as the LGPC has been working over the past year to prepare a Lake George AIS Prevention Plan, of which a draft has recently been released and is available for public comment.
“The LGA has been working hard to protect Lake George from AIS for many years now, and we are glad that the success of our program and the data collected by it is now helping the issue finally get the attention it deserves ,” said Walt Lender of Ticonderoga, executive director of the Lake George Association. “We need to stop new invasions before they start. That is the only way we are going to be effective at protecting the lake.”