This article was featured in the 2024 Spring Newsletter by Megan Pistolese-Shaw- SLELO PRISM. 

Within the SLELO PRISM region, there are multiple waterbodies that span over 7 thousand acres of surface area. We’ve identified 17 Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) with waterbodies or wetlands that our early detection team monitors on a bi-annual rotation.  With our new 5-year contract we’re enhancing early detection efforts for Aquatic Invasive Species AIS by engaging existing, and recruiting new members through our Volunteer Surveillance Network to become Water Protectors. Through this initiative,  we’re developing a new platform for volunteers to ‘adopt-a-water’ to survey for priority AIS.  Using ArcGIS, this platform will collect observation data and generate a metric dashboard that we can use to measure the impact of our volunteer’s efforts and reveal data gaps more easily.  

To kick off this new initiative, we’re hosting a special 3-part Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Learning Experience to be held this May through June. A single or all events can be attended, but registration is required. This training is perfect for, waterfront property owners, lake associations, kayaking groups, seasonal staff, or anyone who wants to learn more about AIS.  Attendees will be invited to join our new Water Protectors initiative and ‘adopt-a-water’ to monitor for and report priority AIS. Continuing Education Credits from the Society for Ecological Restoration and Master Naturalist Program have been awarded for this learning experience. 

The first event will be held on May 22nd via Zoom from 6:30-8 PM. This session will include identification for AIS and native plants, as well as, training on how to report observations to NYiMapInvasives, and use apps like Seek and iNaturalist to identify and report native species.

The second event will be held in observance of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (NYISAW) on June 5th from 6-8 PM at Keewaydin State Park’s Marina Building. This session will showcase preserved and live native and aquatic invasive species in a classroom setting, as well as training for the community science tools mentioned.  

The final event in the series will be a pre-solstice paddle held on June 19th, 6-8 PM at Kring Point State Park. This will be a fun evening on the water where you can test your new identification skills and learn how to survey for and report AIS. A rake toss demo will be included along with underwater viewing scopes for you to explore the world below the surface!


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