Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention

2016 marks the first season of an intense effort to reduce the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Through a $100k grant from the NYS DEC Invasive Species Spread Prevention Grants Program (NYS Environmental Protection Fund) four AIS stewardship specialists were strategically placed at Boat Graphhigh use/high priority boat launches along Eastern Lake Ontario and the data collected tells a real story: 925 boaters were engaged of which 14% were from out of state, aquatic organisms were found on 26% of all water craft (up to 41% in the late season), 59% were fishing vessels and 41% were recreational, the top three travel routes were identified to be NYS Route 3, NYS Route 81 and Route 12-E in Northern New York. Interestingly (and in terms of the potential to import and export aquatic invasive species) boaters were asked where they have recently boated and/or where they are headed to next, the results: Canada, Florida Keys, Alabama, Louisiana, Finger Lakes, Adirondack Lakes, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas, Hudson River and the Ohio River. The owners of watercrafts and trailers with visible plants and organisms are educated and encouraged to clean, drain and dry all equipment prior to entering another waterbody. This effort will continue through 2018.