The 2019 Upper Saranac Lake Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Report is now available to the public.
Through the Upper Saranac Foundation’s watershed supporters and our partnership with Invasive Solutions Dive Company, the USF is pleased to demonstrate another successful season of management on Upper Saranac Lake and Lower Fish Creek Pond. Overall AIS numbers continue to drop. The USF has been successfully managing AIS since 2004. Through the efforts of hand harvesting by divers, the annual poundage removed on Upper Saranac Lake has been reduced from 18 tons in 2004 to under 300 pounds in 2019.
The Upper Saranac Lake Invasive Species Management Project is part of a larger watershed protection program, developed by the USF, that uses a combination of AIS prevention, monitoring, management, control activities, and education to inhibit AIS spread.
The report can be summarized in the following key points:
- The 2019 harvest season consisted of 600 diver hours conducted over a 17-week timeframe, beginning June 10 and ending Oc 10.
- Total pounds of invasive plants found and removed in 2019 dropped to an all-time low of 290 pounds. Initial harvesting totals exceeded 18 tons in 2004. From 2018 to 2019 there was 8% total reduction in pounds harvested.
- Within the 1,200 littoral acres of the 44-mile shoreline (where plants can grow – 15’ or less water depth) there are 39 designated zones. Four of these zones are considered invasive free (no invasive plants found within the last three years). In 2019 there were seven zones where invasive plants were not found.
- In 2019, of the 39 designated zones, Eurasian watermilfoil plant counts decreases in 19 zones, increased in 14 zones, and 6 zones had no change from 2018. Of the nine zones which have previously harbored Variable-leaf milfoil, three sites saw a decrease in plant count, three sites saw an increase in plant count, and two showed no change. Three sites saw a single VLM plant for the first time, indicating a slow outward spread from its origin, Fish Creek Campground.
- Comparing the 2018 season’s harvest to 2019, there was a 26% reduction in the number of Eurasian Watermilfoil plants harvested and a 47% reduction in the number of Variable-leaf Milfoil plants harvested.
- Lower Fish Creek Pond continues to be the highest volume area for invasive growth – 672 plants removed, followed by Little Square Bay – 500 plants removed, and the North Basin – 377 plants removed. Saranac Inn to the Marlboro Club, Tommy’s Rock and Dry Island, Gull Bay between Lilly Bay and South Gull Bay, and Bull Point to Sekon are all considered invasive free.