February 23, 2014

Lake George invasive species battle continues

I’ve been writing for some time that what happens with the Lake George Park Commission’s battle against invasive species is likely to be a model for the future for all New York state waters.

You may or may not know that the Park Commission’s plan to move forward with mandatory boat inspections and boat washing stations is about to be realized.

It will begin in May and last for at least two years at boat launches on Lake George. However, boaters across the state should look at the Lake George situation because the state currently has a proposal in the works for invasive species legislation.

When the Park Commission started getting serious about dealing with invasive species two years ago, a group called the Lake George Fishing Alliance got involved. Their president attended meetings on the behalf of anglers and boaters and immediately began informing them of the group’s concerns that public boat launches could be gated if no inspection stewards were present.

In May 2012, the Park Commission met with dozens of sportsmen and women to discuss invasives in Lake George. The Warren County Conservation Council responded by forming a committee to represent, in part, the interests of sportsmen who often use the boat launches at odd hours. I personally served on that committee, which was chaired by John Currie, of Currie Associates in Queensbury, a business that deals with hazardous materials, including at the international level.

He and other members of this committee attended dozens of meetings with Park Commission members and town and county leaders and even met with representatives of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The committee’s main initiative was to keep boat launches open at all times, along with a recommendation of public awareness and even a computer based training (CBT) requirement for all transient boaters, including small boats like canoes and kayaks.

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