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:
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
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.