Adirondack Watershed Institute begins 25th season

A watercraft inspection steward performs a boat decontamination. (Provided photo — Paul Smith’s College)

PAUL SMITHS — With the return of blackflies, wildflowers and increased daylight, Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute officials are excited to begin their 25th season managing the largest aquatic invasive species spread prevention program in New York state focused on the Adirondack Park, according to AWI Executive Director Zoe Smith.

In partnership with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and many local towns, villages and lake associations, starting on Memorial Day weekend, AWI watercraft inspection stewards are offering free inspections and boat washing at more than 60 boat launches and road-side locations across the Adirondack region. Stewards educate boaters, anglers, and other visitors about the harmful impact of aquatic invasive species and how they can prevent their spread following New York state’s “Clean, Drain, Dry” standard.

“The key to our success is the stewards; these individuals are students, year-round and seasonal residents of all ages committed to serving the boating public through education and boat inspections to protect our waters,” Brett Wimsatt, AWI’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program director, said in a statement.

AWI’s spread prevention network is carefully designed to place stewards at popular and high risk launches and along travel corridors across northern New York. Stewards operate at some of the busiest launches in the region including Lake Placid, Great Sacandaga and Lake Champlain. Additionally, stewards safeguard smaller and more remote waterbodies like those found in the St. Regis Canoe Area where invasive species introduction risk is high because organisms can easily spread from lake to lake.

Information about inspection and decontamination station locations, aquatic invasive species ecology, and steps the public can take to maintain the quality of New York’s waterways is at adkcleanboats.org.

Invasive Species Awareness Week is June 3 to 9, for more information go to nyis.info/nyisaw/.

The mission of the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute is to protect clean water, conserve habitat and support the health and well-being of the people in the Adirondacks through science, collaboration, and real-world experiences for students. Learn more about the AWI online at adkwatershed.org.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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