The Fish Creek Campground Aquatic Invasive Species Management Project (FCAISMP) has wrapped up for the season. This year divers removed 3 ¾ tons of the invasive milfoil plant from within the campground’s waters. From the beginning of the harvesting program, three years ago, over 20 tons of the nuisance plant has been removed. To date a total of 1,400 diver hours have been put into this effort and all 108 littoral acres of the campground, Fish Creek and Square Ponds have been harvested.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a significant threat to the Adirondack environment and economy. For more than a decade, the Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) has worked to address invasive species on Upper Saranac Lake (USL). The USF has now taken this expertise and expanded its efforts into the campground.

Each year of the FCAISMP has yielded less milfoil with fewer signs of infestation. The Fish Creek project is following a similar trend as to the accomplishments seen on USL, where in the first year (2004), 18 tons of milfoil were removed. In 2018 just over 318 lbs. were detected and removed.

The FCAISMP is part of a larger watershed protection program, recently developed by the USF. The intent of this program is to combat invasive species to improve water quality and restore the 108 acres of campground waterfront, in addition to preventing AIS from infesting downstream and regional waters, and to prevent new AIS from establishing in the waters in the project area. These outcomes are being achieved through project activities such as removal of AIS, inspection and decontamination of boats, and public education leading to reduced spread of new AIS from boats. The program protects economic value through recreation, tourism, sportsmanship and second home ownership by providing clear waterways.

Funding of this project is supported through donations to the USF and through a grant from the NYSDEC. The fall of 2019 will conclude the initial intensive harvesting portion of the project, as well as the associated grant funding. It is estimated that there is a 20%-30% re-growth each year of the invasive plants, emphasizing the need to continue ongoing maintenance to prevent any rebound.

For a full understanding of the project, visit the Upper Saranac Foundation’s web page at: https://usfoundation.net/programs/fish-creek-ais-management-project/, and the 2017 Project Management Report at:  https://usfoundation.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/The-Fish-Creek-Aquatic-Invasive-Species-Management-Project-2017-Report.pdf