Frequently Asked Questions related to Lake George and AIS
What are Invasive Species?
What are Aquatic Invasive Species?
What AIS are in Lake George?
How do AIS Spread?
How do we protect Lake George from AIS?
What is the Lake Steward Program?
What is the Mandatory Boat Inspection and Decontamination Program?
Invasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment or to human health. As a threat to our biodiversity, they have been judged second only to habitat loss. Invasives come from all around the world; the rate of invasion is increasing along with the increase in international trade that accompanies globalization. To learn more about invasive species, click here.
Often called AIS for short, Aquatic Invasive Species are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that threaten native plants, wildlife, and their habitat. They also affect humans by degrading boating and fishing areas and reducing lake shore property values and tourism. Once AIS are established, eradication is almost impossible and management programs are very expensive. Spread prevention is the most cost-effective option for protecting our lakes
Lake George currently has six known AIS: Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, Chinese mystery snail, and Asian clam. There are many more AIS that have already invaded other lakes close by, such as alewife and hydrilla. Boats travel between these lakes and Lake George, creating pathways for AIS to spread. To learn more about the AIS found in LG, click here.
One of the main pathways of spread of AIS is recreational boating. Boats, trailers, and equipment moved from lake to lake are at high risk of transporting AIS.
There are however many other possible pathways for the spread of AIS. AIS can spread from lake to lake through connected waterways, such as canals and rivers. They can also be spread by waterfowl. There are also intentional introductions for food, recreation, or other cultural reasons, or the dumping of an unwanted fish tank or releasing an unwanted pet.
The best way to protect Lake George is to prevent new AIS from reaching the lake. And the best way to do this is to make sure that all boats, trailers, and equipment are cleaned, drained, and dry before going into the lake. Click here to learn more.
It is also important to never release a plant or animal into a body of water unless it came from that body of water. (So please do not dump your fish tank if you are tired of feeding your fish! Many of the worst aquatic invasive plants we are battling in our lakes now are sold for fish tanks!) Click here to learn more.
The Lake Steward Program is an aquatic invasive species education and spread prevention program. From 2008-2013 lake stewards were hired during the summer months to inspect boats at various boat launches around Lake George. Stewards look for and remove invasive species and educate boaters on how to prevent invasive species spread within Lake George and to other waterbodies. In addition, lake stewards collect data about the watercraft entering and exiting the lake, including its previous launch and related date. To learn more about the lake steward program, including reports from the last few years, click here.
Beginning May 15th, 2014, all trailered vessels must be inspected prior to launching on Lake George. This new Lake George Park Commission regulatory program will require boats to undergo an inspection at one of 6 regional inspections stations located around the Lake. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that boats and trailers are clean, drained, and dry and are harboring no invasive species. There is no cost to boaters for inspections, or the washing of the boat and trailer if determined necessary by an inspection technician. For more details on the program and how it works, click here.