Watershed Stewards began their day early the morning of Sunday, Sept. 18, greeting bass tournament participants who began arriving at Upper Saranac Lake by 5:30 a.m. at Back Bay. The stewards performed inspections and decontamination of boats and trailers prior to entering the lake. The contest is an annual event that often attracts over 20 teams looking to collect a cash prize and be crowned the Upper Saranac Lake Bass Tournament Champion.
Most of the boats entering the lake recently had been on Chateaugay lake, known to have infestations of three types of aquatic invasive species (AIS): Eurasian watermilfoil, Curlyleaf pondweed, and the Chinese Mystery Snail.
In addition to inspections, stewards have an important role in increasing awareness about the environmental hazards of AIS and how to prevent their spread. USF is pleased to be in partnership with the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Adirondack Park-wide Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program, and the North Country Bass Anglers in this important AIS spread prevention effort.
At the conclusion of the tournament, stewards also checked the boats departing the lake to ensure they were clean prior to heading off to their next tournament. Just this spring, NYSDEC added additional measures to prevent the further spread of AIS in the Adirondacks. Motorized boat users are now required to obtain certification that they have been inspected and potentially harmful aquatic invasive species removed before launching into waters of the Adirondack Park.
The Upper Saranac Watershed Stewardship Program includes stewardship coverage at two state DEC public boat launches: Upper Saranac Lake at Back Bay and Fish Creek Public Campground — with an AIS decontamination unit positioned at the Back Bay Launch.