DEC: Initiative launched to prevent spread of aquatic invasive species

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police will conduct boat inspections in the Adirondacks on Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17 to ensure boaters are aware of new state regulations, adopted in 2014, to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The regulation requires boaters to remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching at or departing from DEC lands.

“Boats, trailers and associated equipment are common pathways for spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS). This educational initiative will inform boaters of our regulations that are part of an aggressive effort to prevent invasive species from entering and damaging New York water bodies,” said DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann.

The regulations pertain to all DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayaks or canoes can be launched into the water.

This includes DEC boat launches and fishing access sites.

The inspection of boats in the Adirondacks is part of a continuing effort to ensure boaters are following the rules.

Boaters should take the following steps to ensure that their boat, trailer and equipment are free of aquatic invasive species:

Visually inspect the boat, trailer and other fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it.

Dispose of the materials in one of the Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations installed at many DEC boat launches, in the trash or at an upland location away from the launch ramp.

Drain the boat’s bilge and any other water holding compartments such as live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks.

This does not apply to water associated with sanitary systems or drinking water supplies.

DEC also highly recommends drying boats, but that is not required under the new regulations.

Boaters who are unable to dry their boats between uses should flush the bilge and other water holding compartments with water, preferably at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Microscopic larval forms of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea, can live in as much as a drop of water.

Anything holding water should be dried, flushed or disinfected with hot water to ensure that these aquatic invasive species are not spread.

Additional information on AIS and disinfection recommendations are available on the DEC website.

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