Peter Bauer of the Fund for Lake George (right center) warns that if action isn’t taken soon to stem the introduction of Asian Clams, milfoil and other nuisance species into the lake, efforts to control the spread of invasives is going to spiral in cost, as well as spoil recreation. Joining Bauer in calling for the state to join local municipalities in imposing a mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program are (from left): Lake George town board member Marisa Muratori, Bolton Town Supervisor Ron Conover, and (at right of Bauer) Lake George Mayor Robert Blais and Queensbury Councilman John Strough.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued Although Warren County has passed a law declaring it illegal for boats to transport invasives, it has no provisions for watercraft inspection and cleaning.
The Fund's executive director, Peter Bauer, said that by the end of this summer, the Hague decontamination station would provide valuable, practical information on how to conduct a mandatory program —which would likely require five more stations at popular Lake George boat launches. Noting that 15,000 boats are launched on the lake per year, he said that The Fund was seeking federal grants for the decontamination stations.
One of these stations, he said, could be located adjacent to the Lake George town landfill, off Rte. 9N southwest of the Northway.
Bauer repeated warnings expressed in the report that a mandatory decontamination program was needed to maintain Lake George's present relatively healthy state. He noted that several invasive species, including Asian clams and quagga mussels, are spread by microscopic juvenile offspring contained in boat bilges and engine water, which would be decontaminated under the proposed mandatory program.
“Boats need to be cleaned, drained and dry,” he said.
The report cites experiences of Lake Tahoe, a water body similar to Lake George — and its mandatory inspection program. It notes that prevention of the spread of invasives is far more effective and less costly than managing the invaders after their introduction. Such invasives control costs taxpayers billions of dollars annually across the U.S., the report warns. The report also concludes that dozens of other invasive species could infect Lake George without stringent enforcement of watercraft decontamination. It lists quagga mussels and hydrilla as prime new threats.
Copies of the report can be obtained at www.fundforlakegeorge.org.