By SARA RUBERG
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded the Town of Caroga a $60,989 grant to fund the town’s boat decontamination and inspection programs for three years.
The southern Adirondack town was one of 41 grant recipients last week across the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on June 14 the state would award $2.8 million to projects for research, lake management plans and terrestrial and aquatic invasive species prevention in 11 different regions.
This grant will be Caroga’s second three-year award from DEC. In 2016, the money was used to start up the town’s decontamination station for the Caroga Lakes and surrounding lakes. Within the next three years, the town will use the money to hire on paid boat stewards at the decontamination station and the West Lake boat launch—a high-traffic area that ran on volunteer stewards.
James Long, deputy supervisor and town board member, is happy to see the program continue its growth.
“I don’t think we could possibly do this level of effort with volunteers or out of the town’s budget,” Long said. “We are very fortunate to receive these funds. It’s a competitive grant.”
The town has been working to prevent and control invasive species for decades. Boat inspections have taken place for about a decade. Long before then, an ongoing project to harvest Eurasian milfoil from East and West Caroga Lakes costs the town about $100,000 a year.
Long does not foresee an end to the project, because prevention of new infestations beats remediation.
“It’s a lot less expensive to do inspection and run a steward program for inspection and decontamination of boats than it is to try to remediate lakes that have become infected,” Long said.
The Caroga decontamination station, located across the Caroga Town Hall, is open for the summer season. Boat inspections and decontamination stations are open to any boater in the area including those entering Caroga Lakes, Canada Lake, Pine Lake, Pleasant Lake, Stoner Lakes and Peck’s Lake.