Watercraft stewards serve as the front line against the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species.

Stewards also deliver an important message to encourage recreationists to take action to protect their waters by Cleaning, Draining, and Drying their watercraft. 

SLELO Partners have been implementing strategies that serve to protect our region’s freshwater resources. From small embayments to large scale (Lake Ontario) systems, our partners continue to protect our region’s freshwater resources from the ecological imbalance posed by aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Our key strategies include:

  1. Provide early detection surveillance of priority freshwater resources every two years to prevent the establishment of new invasive species.
  2. Utilize innovative technology such as eDNA and underwater video technology to detect AIS as early as possible while in low abundance.
  3. Conduct volunteer citizen science initiatives, including Volunteer Surveillance Networks to suppress existing populations of AIS.
  4. Implement voluntary watercraft inspections and educational outreach along Eastern Lake Ontario to reduce the spread of AIS into and out-of our regions waters.

Watercraft Inspection

Watercraft Inspection consists of visually inspecting all boating and recreational equipment that come in contact with water; removing all visible plants, animals or mud materials; and draining any compartments that may hold water.

Stewards are stationed at launches where they empower boaters to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by sharing educational information and teaching boaters how to properly conduct inspections.

During the inspections, which usually last less than 3 minutes, stewards collect important data on where boaters are coming from, headed to next, and if they’re aware of invasive species issues. This information helps to inform our programming and efforts to be more efficient and effective at conserving New York’s waters. Learn more about watercraft inspection and access resources at: nyis.info/watercraftinspection 

Watercraft Inspection Steward Program 

The 2020 steward program was co-administered with the Thousand Islands Land Trust and ran approximately Memorial Day through US Indigenous People’s Day. More information on program results can be found in the report below.

Starting in 2020, and continuing into 2021, the Watercraft Inspection Program (WISP) is administered by the SLELO PRISM and Thousand Islands Land Trust.

In 2020, 10 stewards covered nearly 30 launches across the region, inspecting 12,455 watercraft and preventing 2,222 species from being transported by watercraft. This region-wide expansion increased coverage and enhanced the already strong partnership with the Thousand Islands Land Trust. 

Learn more about programmatic results and plans for 2021 in our final program report below.

Report Archive

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Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.

Rob Williams
PRISM Coordinator

Megan Pistolese
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith
Terrestrial Invasive Species