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Lake Steward' program to boost efforts

LAKEGEORGE - A program conducted on Lake George which curbs the spread of nuisance plants and creatures will significantly expand over last year's level, thanks to new funding.

Trained student "Lake Stewards," posted at several Lake George boat launches throughout the summer, inspect incoming boats for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of such plants and animals and how to prevent their spread. The Commission's marine patrol is contacted whenever stewards encounter a boat being launched that has obvious signs of invasive species and its pilot refuses inspection.

Since 2008, the Lake George Association has managed training, supervision and reporting for the Lake Steward Program.

The additional funding of $35,000 provided this year by the Lake George Park Commission bankrolls maximum coverage for peak periods and for the launches that receive the highest traffic. The estimated program costs for 2011 are $67,000, and $25,000 will be funded through the Lake Champlain Basin program and the LGA providing the remainder from its Helen V. Froehlich Foundation grant awards.

In 2010, Lake stewards were posted at four launches around Lake George: Norowal Marina, Mossy Point, Hague Town Beach and Rogers Rock. In 2011, two additional launches will be added. Days and hours of coverage will also increase; the goal is to provide seven days per week coverage during the busiest times of the season, LGA official Emily DeBolt said. Twelve hour per day coverage is the goal for Mossy Point and Norowal, while other sites will receive eight hours per day. Mossy Point and Norowal were chosen for increased coverage due to the high volume of their traffic.

"The Lake George Lake Steward Program is critical to protecting the water quality of Lake George," said Bruce Young, chair of the Lake George Park Commission.

LGA's Lake Steward program supervisor Emily DeBolt said that while dozens of different aquatic invasive species reside nearby, only four are now found in Lake George.

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