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Green groups lobby state for mandatory boat inspection on Lake George

In an attempt to smother Asian clams which have invaded Lake George’s Shepard Park Beach, mats have been laid down on the  popular swimming venue to smother the sharp-edged creatures. With the mats to be in place  through April,  events of the Lake George Winter Carnival have been relocated.

In an attempt to smother Asian clams which have invaded Lake George’s Shepard Park Beach, mats have been laid down on the popular swimming venue to smother the sharp-edged creatures. With the mats to be in place through April, events of the Lake George Winter Carnival have been relocated. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Five influential environmental groups are urging New York State to support a mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program for vessels launched on Lake George.

The leaders of these groups sent a letter advocating the program to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. The letter calls for mandatory boat inspection and decontamination to be in place before the 2013 boating season begins, and urges financial support as well.

The letter notes the proliferation of invasive species, the damage they can cause, and the ecological and economic losses that result. The letter also mentions that early preventative action is far more effective than attempting to control such species once they are introduced into the lake.

To date, the state has balked at supporting an inspection and decontamination program. Some have criticized the initiative because of it would shut down lake access to anglers who seek to launch their boats before dawn or other times the inspection stations were unmanned.

But late last year, Warren County leaders voted to draft a law requiring such an inspection program for all the county’s lakes, and newly elected state Assemblyman Dan Stec has cited that protection of Lake George and the area’s other waterways as one of his top legislative priorities.

Once skeptical of the program, local municipalities now primarily approve of the initiative. Warren County towns bordering the lake have enacted resolutions in support of mandatory inspection and decontamination. Major businesses, too, have voiced support, based on protecting tourism and economic vitality — which historically has been due to Lake George’s reputation as one of the purest lakes in the nation.

Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks, noted the widespread support of the inspection program in a prepared statement issued this week.

“It’s critical for the economy and environment of Lake George that this new control program is created,” Bauer said. “It’s time for DEC and the Governor to heed the calls for help from around the lake and stop blocking this important new program.”

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