continued The spiny water flea is the fifth confirmed aquatic invasive species to reach Lake George. The others are zebra mussels, asian clams, eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed.
The Lake George Park Commission spends more than $1 million a year to battle invasive species, Wick said. So far, it’s a battle with mixed results.
Asian clams, which have already been confirmed in the lake near Million Dollar Beach in Lake George village and in Bolton, have been discovered in four new locations, Wick said.
Wick declined to identify the sites of the new clam discoveries, saying a survey of the lake is being done to determine the full extent of the clam population.
There are also concerns about a new threat, quagga mussels.
Walt Lender, executive director of the Lake George Association, told the committee two boats checked at Norowal Marina in Bolton were found to be carrying quagga mussels, an eurasian mollusk that has infested parts of the Great Lakes.
Lender said lake stewards prevented the quagga mussels from reaching the lake.
“It was a big save,” he said.
Quagga mussels breed rapidly, and can colonize a lake bottom up to 100 feet deep, Lender said. The mollusks can encrust surfaces like boat hulls, propellers and docks. Quagga mussels can foul water with excretions, which could damage the quality of drinking water from the lake.
Not all the news is bad, Wick noted.
Eurasian watermilfoil, while a still a problem near Hague, is at historic lows in Lake George, he said.
“It’s a real success story,” Wick said of milfoil eradication efforts.
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.