New York’s 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts

New York’s 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts

The New York State Park’s Boat Steward Program is one of many boat steward programs throughout New York State. These programs offer targeted educational programming to increase awareness about aquatic invasive species (AIS) and other environmentally significant issues.

New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts. Boat Launch stewards

Ariana London, Lake Champlain Steward, completes a boater survey on her tablet computer at the Great Chazy boat launch in 2015, (photo by Meg Phillips, State Parks.)

NY State Parks adopted regulations in 2015 to help try to protect lakes and rivers from the costly effects of invasive species. Learn more about the new regulations here.

The regulations states that a boater:

  • shall not launch or retrieve their watercraft from a Parks-owned boat launch facility unless the watercraft’s water-containing compartments (livewell, bilge, bait bucket) are dry.
  • has inspected the watercraft to ensure that there is not plant or animal material attached to the motor, trailer, body of the vessel, etc.

The Boat Steward Program maintains stewards at many of NY Parks-owned boat launches who conduct educational boat inspections to give step-by-step instructions on ways to effectively inspect your boat and dispose of invasive species. These demonstrations are both free and voluntary.

Boat Stewards can teach how to prevent spreading aquatic invasives and what to look for. They are primarily educators and do not play a role in the enforcement of regulations.

Many New York State Parks-owned boat launches across the state are also equipped with disposal stations for aquatic plant or animal material. The disposal stations are designed to provide a place for plant or animal material to dry in an upland area. The dried out material is typically collected and placed in the garbage to prevent further spread.

If you see a red-shirted Boat Steward, stop and ask any questions you might have.

New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts. Boat inspection

Becca Reile, Buffalo Harbor Steward, completes a boat inspection in 2015, (photo by Meg Phillips, State Parks.)

2016 Boat Steward Program Highlights:

  • 2016 was the first year of a 2-year $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to expand the boat steward program at state park launches
  • 16 stewards worked 30 launches within the Great Lakes Basin, Lake Champlain Basin, and Saratoga Lake
  • There were 21,431 voluntary inspections out of 22,344 boats (95% of boaters allowed their boat to be inspected)
  • 2,982 boats were discovered carrying aquatic invasive species
  • 54,627 boaters interacted with Stewards, with many boaters receiving education about Clean-Drain-Dry and aquatic invasive species
  • 11 invasive species removal projects in partnership with Strike Teams and other partners
  • 10 educational events
  • Approximately 500 bags, or around 12.5 tons, of water chestnut were removed from Selkirk Shores State Park.
 New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts education

Jared Reed Saratoga Lake steward participates in Invasive Species Awareness Week in Albany (Matt Brincka, State Parks.)

 New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts

Kelly Butterfield, Sunset Bay steward and Holly Flanigan, Fort Niagara steward pulling invasive water chestnut at Grindstone Marsh in Selkirk Shores State Park (Matt Brincka, State Parks)

Click on these links for more information about the Boat Steward Program and aquatic invasive species.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help remove invasive species in your area, become a member of your local Partners for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) program.

If you are interesting in seasonal work removing invasive species in State Parks, check out the State Parks employment page.

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