The Upper Saranac Lake (USL) Watershed Boat Launch Stewards intercepted aquatic invasive species (AIS) seven times last summer, preventing the spread of these threats. They conducted 2,959 surveys and decontaminated 73 high-risk watercraft with high-pressure hot-water treatment. The stewards discussed AIS spread prevention with 5,454 launch users and surveyed them about their spread prevention practices. The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) is pleased to partner with the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) Adirondack Park-wide Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program in these important AIS spread prevention efforts.
This report summarizes the data and program highlights for the 2022 Watershed Stewardship program for the Upper Saranac Lake watershed. The Upper Saranac Lake Watershed Stewardship Program is an integrated AIS spread prevention program seeking to reduce or prevent the spread of AIS from entering and departing the USL watershed. This is accomplished by inspecting individual watercraft and hand-removing plant and animal materials, and indirectly by raising public awareness of AIS concerns.
The Upper Saranac Watershed Stewardship Program includes Stewardship coverage at two NYSDEC public boat launches: Upper Saranac Lake at Back Bay and Fish Creek Public Campground. An AIS decontamination unit is positioned at the Back-Bay Launch.
One of the most successful accomplishments is supported by data retrieved from the stewards at the Fish Creek launch, where they found that there was a 93% less chance of AIS found on boats being retrieved or taken out of the water from Fish Creek from 2016 to 2022. This is attributed to USF’s AIS harvesting management in Fish Creek Campground.
The report also identifies where watercraft are coming from before entering the USL watershed. There are a wide range of previously visited water bodies, many of which have a high abundance of AIS. Without the last line of defense from our stewards, our lake is vulnerable to AIS invasions — some potentially more harmful than milfoil.