Press Releases

Invasive Species Boat Inspections Begin

PAUL SMITHS, N.Y. -- The board and staff Adirondack Council today took a moment to thank state officials for protecting the waters of the Adirondack Park from the accidental introduction of non-native plant and animal species by requiring that any trailered boat be inspected and decontaminated prior to launch in any Adirondack lake or river. 

Gov Kathy Hochul signed legislation in December requiring boaters to inspect and clean their crafts prior to launch in the Adirondack Park.  There is no charge for using a state inspection and decontamination station.  The whole process takes just a few minutes. 

At the same time, the Council announced that the Adirondack Watershed Institute was having some difficulty filling all of the seasonal jobs that were created when the inspections became mandatory this summer.  Those interested in earning $15 and hour at an Adirondack boat launch can apply for jobs in a number of iconic Adirondack lakes. 

“The inspection program officially began this week and the Adirondack Council offers its heart-felt thanks all of the advocates and media outlets – including this one – that helped to educate the public about the dangers of invasive species and the need to prevent their introduction,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “It was a long and sometimes frustrating battle to get the inspection network created and working, but we are finally there.” 

Janeway predicted that the new law could save millions of dollars for local taxpayers, who would otherwise have to pay to limit the impacts of newly introduced invasive species.   

“Now, the next step is filling all of the inspector positions so we can ensure that there are people on the job when boaters arrive,” Janeway said.  “Last we heard, the Adirondack Watershed Institute was looking for paid staff at Cranberry Lake; the Fulton Chain Lakes, Inlet and Old Forge; Great Sacandaga Lake, both Broadalbin and Town of Day; Lake Luzerne; Long Lake; Raquette Lake; and Piseco Lake.  It is also seeking a St Regis Mountain summit steward.” 

The new boat inspection law also made permanent the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species Transport Act, which required all boaters to take precautions like cleaning, draining, and drying their watercraft before launching in any New York waters. That law had originally been temporary and was set to expire in 2019. It was extended twice by the Legislature so advocates could win support for this permanent measure. 

In the Adirondacks, the new law establishes protocols for ensuring compliance either through a tamperproof tag issued by inspectors at the state’s network of inspection stations around the Park, or via a state-designed self-certification. Regardless of the method, boaters must now verify that watercraft has been inspected and/or decontaminated to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

Boat inspection stations include trained decontamination specialists with heated pressure washing gear designed to kill and remove destructive, non-native plants and aquatic animals.  Stations are located along major highway entrances to the park and at key boat launches.  Inspections and decontaminations are free. 

The bill was sponsored by Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Todd Kaminsky, D-Long Beach, and Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay.  

The bill had broad support among state and local officials and the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance. 

Invasive aquatic plants and animals are among the leading causes of biodiversity loss in freshwater ecosystems. Non-native organisms also negatively impact recreational opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating, which reduce property values, local tax rolls, and tourism dollars. 

Once an invasive species establishes itself in new waters, it is very difficult to manage and eradicate. Some communities have spent millions of dollars combatting invasive species. 

The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States.  Its lakes are the source waters for most of the state’s major rivers.  It contains more than 3,000 lakes greater than 10 acres in size, most of which are open to motorboat use.  Of the 100 largest Adirondack lakes, only two are off-limits to motorboats (because they are surrounded by wilderness and are therefore inaccessible to automobiles). 

“This law doesn’t impose new penalties or create burdensome requirements for boaters,” said Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “It establishes a user-friendly system to verify compliance with the clean, drain, dry requirements already established in law. It supports the existing boat wash and inspection stations, to which the public has grown accustomed.”   

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.  

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.  Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States. 

For more information: 

John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 

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