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Lake steward program under way

TICONDEROGA - Lake George Association stewards are once again on duty at boat launches around Lake George for the summer, inspecting boats and educating boaters on how to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Coordinated by the LGA, the program seeks to contain the spread of three species already present in Lake George: eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels and curly-leaf pondweed as well as a possible fourth - brittle naiad - which was found and removed from Dunham's Bay last summer.

The program also helps prevent new invasive species from being introduced, such as spiny waterflea and water chestnut, which are present in nearby water bodies.

Stewards Lee Peters, Monika LaPlante, Mark Altwerger and Brendan Carberry were trained in inspection, identification and data collection by the LGA and at the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smiths College, in cooperation with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

LGA stewards will be located at Norowal Marina and other launches in the south end, and Mossy Point, Hague town launch and Rogers Rock in the north end on weekends throughout the summer.

In addition to inspecting the boats for aquatic invasive species, the stewards will also remind boaters of the DEC firewood regulation, new in 2009, which limits the transport of untreated wood to 50 miles, in an effort to protect forests from insect invaders, such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle, which have had a devastating impact on tree populations in the Great Lakes and the Northeast regions.

Emergency funding for the program this year was provided by the town of Hague, the town of Bolton Local Development Corporation and the Lake George Park Commission.

"In past years, the LGA has received funds from New York State through the Lake George Watershed Coalition to run this essential prevention model program, which is respected across New York and New England," said Walt Lender of Ticonderoga, LGA executive director. "We are grateful to secure funding from other sources this year, including grant funding provided by the Helen V. Froelich Foundation. Without preventative measures like this, Lake George could suffer the kind of devastating impact, both ecologically and economically, that we've seen in other lakes."

Last summer, the stewards inspected 3,886 boats and collected 162 samples, with 75 of those being invasive species. The invasive samples included 48 specimens of eurasian watermilfoil, 13 of curly-leaf pondweed, seven of zebra mussels, and seven of water chestnut.

For more info about the lake steward program contact the LGA at 668-3558 or go online to www.lakegeorgeassociation.org

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