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Lake Geo. boats might be sealed to trailers to certify no contamination

During a recent meeting in Bolton Town Hall, Lake George Park Commission member John Pettica (left) talks about a pending trial boat inspection and decontamination program, and how public education is vital to protect Lake George from invasive species. Fellow commission member Joe Stanek (right) listens to Pettica’s comments.

During a recent meeting in Bolton Town Hall, Lake George Park Commission member John Pettica (left) talks about a pending trial boat inspection and decontamination program, and how public education is vital to protect Lake George from invasive species. Fellow commission member Joe Stanek (right) listens to Pettica’s comments. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The pending plan to inspect boats for invasive species and decontaminate them if necessary moved ahead this week, as Lake George Park Commission members unveiled how they’d likely certify and seal clean boats — and discussed their efforts to line up funding and boost public education.

At a meeting in Bolton Landing March 2, members of the Park Commission’s Invasive Species Committee showed representatives of environmental groups a wire and plastic seal that would bind a boat to a trailer, certifying that it was inspected and clean of invasive species.

Boats coming out of Lake George could receive such a seal, and if left unbroken, boats could be reintroduced to the lake without re-inspection.

Committee members said the idea, based on procedures employed at Lake Tahoe, would minimize inconvenience to boaters in the pending boat inspection and decontamination program.

It also would allow marinas to pull boats out of Lake George and store them at shoreline sites or a considerable distance without re-inspection and certification.

Representatives of the Park Commission have been meeting with state Department of Environmental Commission officials to lobby for establishing a trial boat inspection and vessel disinfection program within several months at Norowal Marina. Last week, members of the Invasives Committee met with DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann.

DEC officials have expressed concerns about the impact on anglers, Commission members said March 2.

While the trial program features voluntary compliance, a proposed law would eventually require all boats, before they are launched on Lake George, to be thoroughly inspected — and if deemed necessary — sent to a vessel-washing station to be decontaminated.

The Park Commission has asked state officials for $300,000 to implement the plan. Already, Gov. Cuomo’s proposed state budget has earmarked $100,000 for controlling invasive species in Lake George.

Invasive Committee members said that individuals’ kayaks and canoes wouldn’t likely be included in the inspection program, because a voluntary Lake Steward inspection program conducted last summer by the Lake George Association indicated that kayaks and canoes weren’t carrying invasives. They said they’d be tweaking the law to make it as convenient as possible for anglers, lakeshore homeowners.

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