As you may be aware, Lake George began a two-year pilot program in 2014 to combat the spread of invasive species in the lake. Aquatic invasive species pose a threat to the natural species found in waterways, and are commonly spread by unwashed or uninspected boats.
Lake George’s pilot program was recognized as the first of its kind in the eastern United States. According to the program’s boating rules and regulations, all trailered boats have to undergo an inspection at a docking station and receive a vessel inspection control seal (VICS). VICS are mandatory, and no trailered boat is allowed on Lake George without one.
Just last year, the Post-Star announced that 16% of 10,247 newly inspected boats required decontamination before they could launch onto Lake George. 106 invasive species were cleansed from these boats.
Now, the fight continues on in Lake George and begins throughout the rest of New York. Although Lake George’s pilot program officially ends in December of this year, the Lake George Park Commission recently made the pioneering program a permanent fixture of Lake George and expanded its reach to all waters in the Lake George Park! The Lake George Park Commission plans to raise funds to keep the program going into the future.
Gov. Cuomo and the rest of New York have taken a page out of Lake George’s book and adopted new regulations to combat the spread of invasive species in the state’s waterways. The new regulations require boaters to take “reasonable precautions,” including cleaning, draining, and treating their boats. However, unlike Lake George, there is more leeway because at the moment, boaters outside Lake George don’t need a VICS sticker.
Eric Siy, executive director of the Fund for Lake George, along with Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Local Government Review Board, have suggested a postage stamp that would raise awareness and funds in the fight against invasive species. U.S. Rep Elise Stefanik has introduced legislation in support of this stamp, which would fund federal Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior grants.
What do you think of the expansion of boating regulations to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species?
- Post-Star – Park commission passes boat inspection regulations
- Post-Star – Stefanik proposes postage stamp to fund invasive species control
- DEC – Part 576 Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Express Terms
- Governor Cuomo’s Press Room – Governor Cuomo Announces Adoption of Regulations to Protect New York’s Waterways and Natural Habitats from Invasive Species