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Town of Lake George ramps up invasives fight

In May, leaders of local towns convened to pledge support for ridding Lake George of invasive species. Monday Dec. 10, the Lake George Town Board passed a resolution calling for mandatory inspection of all vessels for invasives — requiring decontamination if necessary — before the boats are launched on Lake George. The resolution suggests that the county sales tax be raised 1/4 of 1 percent or boat registration fees be hiked to pay for inspection and decontamination stations surrounding Lake George. (Left to right): Lake George Town Board member Marisa Muratori, Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover, Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, area environmental notable Peter Bauer, and Lake George Mayor Robert Blais.

In May, leaders of local towns convened to pledge support for ridding Lake George of invasive species. Monday Dec. 10, the Lake George Town Board passed a resolution calling for mandatory inspection of all vessels for invasives — requiring decontamination if necessary — before the boats are launched on Lake George. The resolution suggests that the county sales tax be raised 1/4 of 1 percent or boat registration fees be hiked to pay for inspection and decontamination stations surrounding Lake George. (Left to right): Lake George Town Board member Marisa Muratori, Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover, Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, area environmental notable Peter Bauer, and Lake George Mayor Robert Blais. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The Lake George Town Board has backed up their chief executive’s commitment to curbing invasive species in Lake George.

Monday Dec. 10, The town council approved a resolution supporting mandatory inspection of all boats entering the waters of Lake George — and suggested the program should be paid through either a hike in county sales tax or a boost in boat registration fees.

The resolution proclaims support for Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson’s commitment to enact a law requiring inspection and certification of boats before they are launched — and if invasives are discovered, the vessels would have to be decontaminated. The measure also calls for the town and village of Lake George to cooperate on establishing at least one wash station.

Responding to Dickinson’s urgings, Warren County supervisors serving on two county committees unanimously passed a resolution recently to draft a similar boat inspection and decontamination law for all the lakes and ponds across the county.

Dickinson reiterated how action in 2013 is important to stem the encroachment of Asian clams, quagga mussels, and other non-native creatures and plants which are now choking out recreation and compromising water quality in hundreds of lakes across the U.S.

“Go online and see about these invasives,” Dickinson said to townspeople attending the Dec. 10 meeting. “It’s really scary.”

Dickinson said either mandatory inspection or a moratorium on launching boats was necessary as a stop-gap measure to control the spread of the species while efforts are underway to raise $2 million to bankroll control efforts, primarily covering shallow invested areas of the lake with benthic mats to smother Asian Clams.

He said that quick action was needed to prevent the infestation from becoming too large to manage.

He warned that in May, Asian Clams colonies existed on four acres, and by October, the nuisance clams had spread to 23 acres.

Dickinson said he and other county supervisors planned to solicit the support on the initiative from the leaders of all the towns and two other counties surrounding lake, then lobby state legislators and executive branch for their support in both enacting protective laws and funding invasives control measures.

The lake is owned by the state, yet they have balked at supporting a boat inspection and decontamination program, he said.

“We have some momentum here,” Dickinson said. “I’ll be asking for resolutions from every town as well as Washington and Essex counties.”

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