The Chautauqua Lake Association has announced that their voluntary boat steward program has been a success for the 2016 summer season. Over 3,500 boats were logged and their captains and crews informed about the importance of inspecting their vessels. The grant-funded boat steward program helps with the prevention of aquatic invasive species both from entering Chautauqua Lake and being introduced to other nearby water bodies.
The CLA was one of 24 projects awarded funding through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the new Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program in 2016. The CLA has joined with towns and villages around Chautauqua Lake in partnership to address the need to curb the spread of AIS not just locally but across the state. The CLA boat stewards were present at six public boat launches on Chautauqua Lake as well as Cassadaga Lake and Bear Lake.
“Our efforts this year were to inform and educate the public of the AIS found in Chautauqua Lake and how to help prevent the spread,” said Doug Conroe, executive director for the CLA. “We found lake users to be mostly agreeable and interested in our program. Though we currently have a handle on the AIS found in our lake, the threat of new invasive species is real. Hydrilla is nearby and is a concern we need to be aware of and watching for,” said Conroe.
The CLA hopes to have a presence at every public launch on Chautauqua Lake in 2017. The organization plans to increase AIS awareness at marinas through printed publications and signage. Future plans for the program include disposal sites for aquatic vegetation removed from boats and trailers as well as wash stations at some point down the road.
“The continuation of our boat steward program as well as new features added down the road are all very exciting. They will help us fight the constant battle of the weeds on Chautauqua Lake,” said Conroe.