Water steward program expands to Tupper Lake

TUPPER LAKE - The fight against aquatic invasive species is expanding rapidly in the Tri-Lakes as another popular boating destination plans to take on a water stewardship program.

Tupper Lake Water Steward Coordinator Phyllis Thompson informed the town board June 8 that an intern from the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith's College will be at the Tupper Lake boat launch every Saturday this summer.

The paid intern will be on the job from early morning until late afternoon. The steward's role is to educate all boaters on how they can stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, like zebra mussels or Eurasian water milfoil.

The intern will demonstrate how to clean boats after use, although it's recommended that boats be cleaned at a safe distance from put-ins.

Thompson says one concern is that 50 percent of boaters using Adirondack lakes have also accessed other lakes, potentially increasing the spread of invasives.

"Another thing that was cause for concern was 50 percent of boaters did put their boats in other lakes and it happened in Lake Champlain, and we all know there are invasive species in Lake Champlain, they were aware of the problem but people do move their boats around," she said.

Last year the town initiated a stewardship program at Little Wolf Beach, and Thompson notes she is seeking volunteers to act as stewards on Sundays at the Tupper Lake boat launch.

Thompson credited Watershed Stewardship Program Director Eric Holmlund for helping to coordinate the Tupper Lake effort.

At last week's Lake Placid Village Board meeting, Lake Placid Shoreowner's Association President Mark Wilson told trustees his group is also looking to expand the lake stewardship program. That program, which has been running for seven years, also coordinates with the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith's College.

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