State warns St. Lawrence County boaters to clean and disinfect equipment to prevent spread of invasive species
Department of Environmental Conservation officials are reminding boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats and trailers and to disinfect their fishing gear before recreating in New York’s watts to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species.
Watercraft inspection stewards are deploying across the state to educate and assist the public in cleaning equipment this season to prevent the introduction and spread of non-native plants and animals in New York waterbodies. “The Watercraft Inspection Steward Program continues to play a significant role in defending lakes, ponds, and rivers against the spread of AIS,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Our boat stewards have successfully increased public awareness about the threats of AIS and helping more New Yorkers participate in best management practices such as Clean. Drain. Dry. I ask all New York residents and visitors to please continue to do your part in protecting our waters from the negative impacts of invasive species.”Boat stewards will be stationed at more than 200 boat launches and decontamination stations throughout the state by Memorial Day weekend. Identified by their blue vests, boat stewards can provide a refresher on how to inspect your boat and gear and offer information on AIS in New York.
In August, 2021, DEC announced that the AIS plant, hydrilla was found at the city of North Tonawanda marina. The discovery was made by a concerned citizen who reported it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). DEC and partners, including USACE, are working to prevent the infestation from spreading. There are no other known infestations of hydrilla along the river.
Hydrilla negatively impacts recreation, tourism, and aquatic ecosystems and is one of the most difficult aquatic invasive species to control. This invasive plant breaks apart easily, and new plants can develop from pieces of stem that are no more than an inch long.
All water recreationists should follow these steps to make sure their equipment isn’t harboring AIS:
• Clean mud, plants, and animals off boating and fishing equipment (trailer bunks, axles, rollers, lights, transducers, license plates, motor props, tackle, waders, etc.) and discard the material in a trash can or at a disposal station;
• Drain all water-holding compartments, including ballast tanks, live wells, and bilge areas, before leaving an access site; and
• Dry everything thoroughly before using boats or equipment in another waterbody. Drying times can vary but a minimum of five to seven days in dry, warm conditions is recommended.
• When there's no time to dry between uses, disinfect things with hot water that is at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or visit a decontamination site.