The Upper Saranac Foundation has returned to Fish Creek to continue work of removing invasive plants from the campground’s recreational waters. Over a two-year period, over 16,000 pounds of the invasive milfoil plant has been removed from the Fish Creek Campground tributary. This project was made possible through funding from donations made to the USF and through a $19,000 grant from Parks and Trails NY.
Following successful aquatic invasive species (AIS) management in the ponds of the campground (Upper Fish Creek Pond and Square Pond), the USF expanded efforts in 2020 to control AIS upstream into the contributing tributary. The Parks and Trails grant project focused on the quarter-mile of the creek upstream of the campground bridge, in the area of the boat launch. Prior to this project, this section of the creek was choked with a heavy infestation of both Eurasian and Variable-leaf milfoil.
Of the AIS removed from the creek, 9,862 lbs. were hand-harvested by divers and an additional 6,200 lbs. was collected in containment booms. Divers removed the aquatic plants, including its roots system from the bottom of the creek. AIS containment booms prevented fragmented invasive plants from floating downstream towards the campground. 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. With milfoil propagating through fragmentation, each plant harvested and each plant collected by the booms is potentially one less infestation downstream in the watershed.
Since the initiation of AIS management in the Fish Creek campground in 2016 a total of 33.85 tons of milfoil has been removed from the campground and its tributary. With a long-term objective to eradicate AIS in Fish Creek Campground, each successive year of management yields less AIS plant growth and a year-to-year decline in area and amount of plant material removed.
The Fish Creek Campground AIS removal project is consistent with USF’s goals of providing clear waterways and ensuring the sustainability of our natural public resources for future generations. This project will aid in reducing AIS spread, protecting downstream waters from infestation, and preventing the spread of populations of AIS to non-infested regional waters. Through USF supporters and grants, the USF has invested over $180,000 into invasive management and prevention within the campground.
USF has been successfully managing AIS on USL since 2004. Through the efforts of hand-harvesting by divers, the annual poundage removed on USL has been reduced from 18 tons in 2004 to under 200 pounds in 2020.