Watershed Stewardship Program

The Watershed Stewardship Program is an aquatic invasive species education and spread prevention program implemented by the Adirondack Watershed Institute, a component of Paul Smith’s College. The principle mission of the Stewardship Program is to prevent the introduction of new aquatic invasive species into our waters and to prevent the spread of established invasive species between Adirondack waters.

Stewards are hired for the summer to inspect boats at launches around Adirondack Lakes. The Upper Saranac Foundation contributes to the funding for this project for the Upper Saranac Watershed that includes the NYSDEC boat launch at Back Bay and the Fish Creek Campground boat launch. Stewards look for and remove invasive species, and educate boaters on how to prevent their spread within the watershed and to other lakes. In addition, lake stewards collected data about the vessels entering and exiting waterbodies.

Multiple studies have shown that boats and recreational equipment are among the main vectors of aquatic invasive species spread. This high risk pathway is also one that we have the ability to do something about. Often times the spread of aquatic invasive Species is unintentional, with the boater not realizing that there are plants or other species attached to the hull of the boat, entangled in the prop, or caught on part of the trailer or other equipment, or that moving these species around will cause a problem.

New York State law prohibits the transport of aquatic Invasive species and mandates that all aquatic and animal material be removed from boats and trailers, and bilges be drained before entering or upon exiting boat launches and fishing access sites.