The 2019 Fish Creek Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Project Report is now available.
The report summarizes the data and program highlights for the Fish Creek AIS Management Project (FCAISMP) from the program’s inception in 2016. This project was made possible through funding from donations made to the Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) with the assistance of the Upper Saranac Lake Association and through a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program.
USF, along with partners Invasive Solutions Dive Company and the Adirondack Watershed Institute, are pleased to demonstrate another successful year of AIS management at Fish Creek Campground on Square and Upper Fish Creek Ponds.
The intent of this program is to combat invasive species to improve water quality and maintain native species in their natural habitats, ensuring the sustainability of our natural public resources for future generations. Removal and control of AIS in the Upper Saranac Lake (USL) watershed at Fish Creek protects downstream waters from infestation and helps prevent the export of AIS to non-infested waters. The program protects economic value through recreation, tourism, sportsmanship, and second home ownership by providing clear, weed-free waterways.
The FCAISMP 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 includes project activities that can be summarized in the following key points:
- To implement the FCAISMP, a fundraising campaign initiated by the USF raised over $60,000 in donations. Additional funding was awarded to the USF in the amount of $100,000 from the NYSDEC Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control Grant.
- In 2019, the USF invested $34,750 into 600 diver hours. The divers harvest 5806 lbs. (2.9 tons) of invasive milfoil from within the campground’s waters.
- Throughout the entirety of the program (2016-2019) a total of $152,000 was invested in 2,904 diver hours. Altogether, 47,270lbs. (23.64 tons) of milfoil has been removed from the campgrounds 108 littoral acres.
- The USF contracted Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) at Paul Smith’s College to provide independent monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of AIS control efforts in Fish Creek Campground. Plant surveys comparing AIS concentrations indicated an average AIS stem density level decrease of 92% from 2017 through 2019.
- Each year of the FCAISMP there has been fewer signs of AIS infestations. The Fish Creek project is following a similar trend as to the accomplishments seen on USL. It is estimated that there has been an 80% yearly reduction in plant density for each of the last three years.
- Watershed Stewards stationed at the campground boat launch inspecting boats being retrieved have found significantly less AIS. Over a four-year period, there has been a 73% reduction in AIS on watercraft attempting to leave the launch.
- AIS containment booms, placed just upstream of the Fish Creek Campground boat launch, stopped 2,400 pounds of fragmented invasive plants from floating downstream, preventing their introduction into managed areas within the campground and further downstream into Upper Saranac Lake.
- With the completion of the initial intensive harvesting period and the final year of the NYSDEC Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control Grant, the USF will take responsibility for the ongoing maintenance phase of the FCAISMP. In 2020 the USF will reduce diving time and expenditures to 480 dive hours at approximately $27,000.