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Time to battle invasives is now

Editorial

Subsequently, new Asian clam beds were located, and the eradication effort was expanded.

In late September, the Warren County Board of Supervisors pledged $270,000 toward the effort to control Asian clams in Lake George, boosting their accrued contribution to a sum of $500,000.

In the meantime, the Park Commission had been researching a mandatory inspection and boat-washing program that is expected to curb new introduction of clams and other invasive species into Lake George. They sought to have all boats to be pressure washed if they weren’t certified as clean, drained and dry.

Their initiative was prompted in part by actions taken to control invasive species in Lake Tahoe, as well as a voluntary local Lake Stewards inspection program conducted since 2008 on Lake George by the Lake George Association.

These Lake Stewards, in inspecting more than 24,000 boats, discovered the presence of invasive species present in or on nearly 400 watercraft.

In May, leaders of lakeside municipalities joined with environmental groups pledging to impose a mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program if the state didn’t take action on its own through the Park Commission. Their pledge was based on a report which concluded that comprehensive action was needed as soon as possible to curb Asian clams and a half-dozen other invasive species.

Although the science shows that early action is vital to success, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has avoided endorsing a mandatory boat inspection program.

But Friday, Nov. 30, Warren County supervisors serving on two of the panel’s committees voted unanimously in conceptual support of a mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program.

If passed on Dec. 21 by the full board, county Attorney would draft a law requiring all boats launched in all the county’s lakes and public ponds to undergo inspection and certification — and when traces of invasives are discovered, the vessels would have to undergo decontamination at a washing station.

We applaud their bold action. At the very least, the resolution may prompt the state to start taking the issue of invasive species seriously.

We also urge the political leaders of all Adirondack counties to enact parallel resolutions so Warren County’s message carries more weight with the state’s legislators and top executives.

Comments should be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com.

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