Aquatic invasive species (AIS) containment booms, placed just upstream of the Fish Creek Campground boat launch, catch fragmented invasive plants that are floating downstream, preventing their introduction into invasive managed areas within the campground and further downstream into Upper Saranac Lake. This season, over 2,400 pounds of invasive fragments were removed from the booms.

With milfoil propagating through fragmentation, each plant stopped by the booms is potentially one less infestation downstream in the watershed. The majority of the plant fragments were removed just after the installation of the booms in July when the currents were fastest — AIS yields decreased as the water dropped. Clearing of the booms required three days per week maintenance early on, decreasing to one day a week into the fall.

“The booms provide a needed advantage to our AIS harvesting efforts within the campground” said Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) Lake Manager Guy Middleton. “Without the booms, we would struggle to stay ahead of new plant introductions originating from the upstream tributary — the Fish Creek tributary above the campground boat launch is heavily infested with both Eurasian and Variable-leaf milfoil.”

The USF will reinstall the seasonal booms in the spring, immediately after ice out. It is anticipated with next seasons earlier installation there will be even greater success preventing downstream fragmentation. The series of three alternating booms extend from shore to just past the center of the channel. The booms allow non-motorized watercraft traffic to pass while plant fragments are stopped on the upstream side of each boom.

“Through USF supporters and a grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, we have invested over $160,000 into invasive management within the campground,” Middleton said. “The intensive harvesting portion of the project concluded this fall with the completion of the grant. The Foundation will continue follow-up maintenance.”

USF received funding from the Cloudsplitter Foundation for the purchase of the booms. The containment boom project is part of a larger watershed protection program, recently developed by USF, that uses a combination of AIS prevention, monitoring, control activities, and education to inhibit AIS spread.