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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.

— “We’ll be relying on a person’s decency to make sure their boats are clean,” Committee member John Pettica said.

Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender said the Park Commission was making worthwhile progress.

“This is a very good direction to be going in,’ he said. “It’s good to be exploring ways to get control over boats’ points of entry into the lake.”

The trial program would establish a voluntary inspection site at Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, and boats found carrying invasive species would be decontaminated at a nearby washing station.

Invasive committee member Joe Stanek said that Norowal was a good site, because over the Fourth of July weekend last year, 325 boats were inspected in the voluntary Lake Steward program. Among those, 25 boats were determined likely to carry invasive species.

He said that in the trial program, boaters would not be charged a fee, although a $30 fee has been estimated for the proposed mandatory program.

“This is a common-sense approach,” he said. “If a person’s boat is clean, drained and dry, they’ll be able to launch.”

Invasives committee members said Friday they are in the process of selecting a boat-washing station, and it’s is likely to cost $41,0000 or so. Eventually, a half-dozen inspection and decontamination stations could be set up around the lake adjacent to launch sites, if the plan is fully implemented after the trial program concludes.

Invasives Committee member Joe Stanek said the inspection and decontamination program was vital to not only protecting the lake’s purity, but avoiding costs of dealing with invasive species contamination.

Stanek said that officials overseeing Lake Tahoe, which is similar to Lake George, estimate that economic losses to Tahoe-area citizens were estimated to far exceed $20 million annually if invasives were left unchecked. That figure includes decreases in property values, recreational use, losses in tourism, impact on water supply and increased boat maintenance, he said.

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