After five years, a mandatory boat inspection program on Lake George is yielding results.
Ever since 2014, if you want to bring your boat and trailer to Lake George, you have to first stop at one of several boat inspection stations on the 32-mile lake. A blast of high pressure, hot water is a line of defense against aquatic invasive plants and animals.
In its annual report, the Lake George Park Commission outlined numbers detailing the program in 2018 and over the last five years.
More than 32,000 inspections were performed in 2018 – the most for one year so far – bringing the five-year total to 142,563.
Lake George Park Commission Executive Director David Wick said since the program started, no new invasive species have been detected in the lake.
“And previous to the program being in place, we had two new invasives within three years, just prior. So from that element, we’d like to say the program has been successful,” said Wick.
In 2018, the program was funded at $630,000. About half was funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. The remainder came from contributions from municipalities and community groups, including a $100,000 contribution from Warren County, and $30,000 apiece from the Village and Towns of Lake George, the towns of Bolton and Queensbury, and conservation organizations the FUND for Lake George and Lake George Association.
Costs also came down. Total expenses for last year were about $535,000, down about $20,000 from 2017.
Walt Lender is executive director of the Lake George Association.
“The cost is coming down a little bit each year and the overall success of the program has been just fantastic. I mean, we’ve seen so many invasives stopped at the launch before they get into the lake that would have been devastating to Lake George,” said Lender.
According to the report, 328 vessels arrived at inspection stations in 2018 with visible plant material or animals attached. 149 of those vessels had organisms declared invasive.
Lake George's program has served as a model for other similar efforts across New York.
The report says Lake George “interacts well” with the Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program hosted by Paul Smith’s College and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.
Lender would love to see mandatory boat inspections expanded around the state.
“We that it would be great to have it mandatory. I know that would be a great burden on New York state to do that, so it probably would take some heavy lifting to get it there, but it certainly has worked out very well for Lake George, and I think it would out very nicely across the rest of the state,” said Lender.
To read the entire year-end report, visit: https://lgpc.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2019/01/lake-george-boat-inspection-program-2018-final-report.pdf