Ticonderoga Boating on Lake George could be more complicated and more expensive next summer.
The Lake George Park Commission is considering regulations to fight the spread of invasive species in the lake — regulations that could include mandatory decontamination of boats prior to launching, designated hours at public launches and new fees.
“There are still a lot of questions to be answered,” David Wick, executive director of the LGPC, said during a meeting of the group’s Aquatic Invasive Species Committee in Ticonderoga Sept. 7. “No decisions have been made. We’re meeting with people and exploring options.”
Invasive species are reaching the lake, Wick said, from boats that have been in other bodies of water and carry the unwanted hitchhikers.
The committee is meeting every two weeks in communities around the lake as it prepares to make recommendations on how to best deal with the problem of invasive species. Wick expects the LGPC to decide on possible regulations this fall and implement them in 2013.
“We want to make it (lake access) as easy as possible, especially for those who regularly use Lake George,” said Dean Cook of Ticonderoga, a LGPC commissioner. “The idea is to protect the lake from invasive species coming from other lakes. This is serious business.”
Wick said the LGPC has four options:
— It can do nothing.
— It can ask boaters to participate in voluntary inspections.
— It can require mandatory inspection and decontamination of boats.
— It can rely on self-certification by boaters themselves.
Mandatory inspection and decontamination of boats is the best defense against invasive species, Wick said, but it would be a major change and expense.
There are 103 boat access points, most private, on Lake George, Wick said. Those launches would have to regulated. Public launches would include decontamination units to clean boats. Those launches would only be open certain hours. The LGPC would also need to purchase the decontamination equipment and hire employees to man each launch. A single permanent decontamination unit can cost $250,000, Wick said.