This spring will mark the beginning of a second season of Lake George’s mandatory boat inspection program. Lake George Park Commission Executive Director Dave Wick said 2014 was a successful first year.
“We had over 20,000 boater contacts, about 10,500 or so individual inspections, and we had about a 12 percent decontamination rate of boaters that were coming to Lake George that did not meet the cleaned, drained and dry standard. But no worries, those folks were decontaminated at no charge and they went off wherever they’d like to in Lake George.”
Wick said the 2015 boat washing season will begin a month earlier this year, in April, which will help the Commission get a better understanding of early season boaters.
The boat washing will remain free in 2015 through funding from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund.
The Commission has signed with Global Employment Services of Selkirk in its hiring search for boat inspectors.
Wick believes the Commission will be able to cut its expenses during the second year of the pilot program.
“We know much more closely the amount of staffing that we’re going require at each of the sites, so we believe that we’re going to have the ability to reduce the staffing budget upwards of $50,000 this year. Last year we were under budget by about 7 percent. This year we are hoping to get our budget more in the range of $600,000, which would be about 10 percent under the original estimate.”
Meanwhile, there’s a push to bring mandatory boat inspections to waterways throughout the Adirondack Park.
A report published last year co-authored by Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program found that the spread of aquatic invasives poses a significant ecological and economic threat to the region.
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Program Coordinator Brendan Quirion….
“We found that aquatic invasive species alone could cause as much as $900 million in economic impact in the park over time. And a majority of that was from aquatic invasive species, specifically through property values.”
Included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal is a $1 million increase in the Environmental Protection Fund specifically for the purpose of preventing the spread of aquatic invasives.
Quirion said the funding will help launch a boat inspection program for the whole Adirondack region.
“So we’re very optimistic that we’ll have something in place for this field season. I’m sure that we’ll have a slow rollout followed by further implementation over the coming years in expanded efforts, but yes, something will be in place in the coming year.”
Wick says the Lake George Park Commission is planning on running its boat inspection program from April through November. He said more discussions to plan the future of the program will take place over the coming year.