The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced new proposed regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species at state boat launches and to aid the effort to eradicate Eurasian boars from the state.
One proposed change would require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a state boat launch and waterway access.
Skaneateles Lake has a DEC-regulated boat launch off of Route 41A on the west side of the lake. That launch currently has a Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Station and information posted about how to prevent the spread of invasive species by cleaning, draining and drying boats and other equipment. Under the proposed regulations these measures will be changed from advised to required.
The new regulations are part of an effort to both stop the spread of invasive species and prevent the introduction of new species, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.
“These proposed regulatory changes are the latest in a series of actions DEC has taken over the past few years to combat the spread of harmful invasive species, including the emerald ash borer,” Martens said. “Cooperation and assistance from the public is essential in order for these efforts to succeed. Boats, trailers and the equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody and significantly harm recreational and commercial use of a waterbody while having a detrimental effect on native fish, wildlife and plants. This regulation is an important component of DEC’s efforts to help ensure aquatic invasive species-free waters remain free and additional species are not introduced to other waters.”
Due to the efforts of the Skaneateles Lake Association and the Milfoil Eradication Corporation the population of the invasive plan species Eurasian watermilfoil in the lake has been greatly reduced in the past five years. However, new milfoil could be brought to the lake from other bodies of water and other invasive plant and animal species, such as hydrilla a plant species similar to milfoil, could be introduced and become a problem for the local ecosystem as well as boaters and fishermen.