Aquatic invasive species spread prevention underway as boating season begins
The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) is among a number of organizations and state agencies gearing up for boating season and aquatic invasive species spread prevention.
While work protecting Adirondack waterways continues year-round, public-facing efforts are key as recreational watercraft susceptible to spreading invasive species move about the park in the coming months.
The AWI’s Stewardship Program is the most visible, with employees working at public launch sites to inspect boats, as well as provide education and monitoring. Dozens of decontamination and wash stations are operated in and around the Adirondacks.
Physical removal of invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, which grows in dense mats and outcompetes native aquatic species, also takes place. The spread of the plant also has substantial economic impacts on communities and businesses reliant on tourism and recreation.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently issued a release highlighting the myriad of efforts taking place this year, such as new highway-side stations, including one at a new Adirondack Welcome Center being built on Interstate 87 near Queensbury. The location will help provide early inspection/decontamination and education at a major entryway to the park.
The DEC also credited the AWI as “taking a frontline defense against invasive species,” citing the five-year, $9 million management contract the AWI received through the state Environmental Protection Fund. The AWI also received a $594,276 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 11, 2018 for its ongoing work.
About the Adirondack Watershed Institute
The Adirondack Watershed Institute is a program of Paul Smith’s College. The program started in 1989 as a local-scale water quality monitoring program called the Adirondack Aquatic Institute and expanded in 1999 to include invasive species management. PSC started the Watershed Stewardship Program in 2000 as a separate initiative that focused on local-scale invasive species prevention activities. These two programs expanded over the years as separate efforts, in 2002 the college recognized the synergy of linking these programs and thus merged them to begin the AWI. The AWI has since grown into a regional-scale water quality monitoring and invasive species management program.
About Paul Smith’s College
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. We are the only four-year institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit paulsmiths.edu.