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Boat inspections up 25% at Adirondack launches

Adirondack Watershed Institute stewards take a short break on a busy weekend at the Adirondacks Welcome Center on Interstate 87 northbound near Exit 18. (Provided photo — R. Fraser, AWI)

PAUL SMITHS — Adirondack watershed stewards are seeing a remarkable increase in the number of watercraft inspections at area boat launches compared with this time last year.

The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute employs more than 100 seasonal stewards to work with the boating public across the Adirondacks to help meet the “Clean, Drain, and Dry” standard required by New York state to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. The program provides public with boat decontamination and inspection services at popular boat launches throughout the Adirondacks.

To date, AWI stewards have performed more than 50,000 boat inspections and nearly 2,000 decontamination boat washes. Watercraft inspections are up 25% compared to last year.

“The July 4th weekend proved to be busier than normal at many of the launches in the AWI network,” Dan Kelting, executive director of the PSC AWI, said in a press release. “During this weekend alone, our stewards inspected just over 9,000 boats.”

Launches with the highest number of boat inspections performed by AWI’s stewards thus far this year are all at state Department of Environmental Conservation launches. They are Second Pond in Saranac Lake, Broadalbin on Great Sacandaga Lake, and Lake Placid. The busiest decontamination station in the AWI network is at the Adirondacks Welcome Center on Interstate 87 northbound near Exit 18 in Glens Falls. AWI operates boat inspection and decontamination services at more than 70 locations in the Adirondacks.

AWI stewards have caught Eurasian watermilfoil, variableleaf milfoil, hydrilla, curlyleaf pondweed, waterchestnut, spiny waterflea and zebra mussels.

“Though all of these aquatic invasive species are harmful, the interception of hydrilla is most alarming,” Kelting said. “Our stewards only inspect a fraction of boats launching into Adirondack waters, so it is ultimately up to the boaters themselves to inspect and clean their boats to ensure our waters can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The boat inspection and decontamination stations are cooperatively funded by New York state’s Environmental Protection Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Lake Champlain Basin Program, numerous lake associations, private foundations and municipalities.

More information can be found at www.adkcleanboats.org.

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