By Zachary Matson
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday signed a new law enabling the establishment of more boat inspection stations in and around the Adirondack Park aimed at minimizing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The new law authorizes the state Department of Environmental Conservation to establish aquatic invasive species inspection stations anywhere within the blue line or 10 miles of the park boundary. The DEC is empowered to require vehicles towing motorized watercraft to stop at the stations to ensure they are complying with laws prohibiting the transport of invasive species. DEC can require the boats be decontaminated at the stations.
An array of invasive species can be spread from one body of water to another by hopping a ride on boats. Boat stewards at existing inspection stations, including voluntary ones run by the Adirondack Watershed Institute and other organizations, in recent seasons have prevented some invasive species from landing in Adirondack waters.
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Hochul in a Friday statement highlighted the importance of protecting Adirondack waters in supporting local economies and public health.
“New York is leading the way to protect our blue economy, but we must also learn to protect nature’s gifts and tackle the aquatic invasive species living in our waters,” Hochul said in the statement. “With the preventative measures established in this law, New York State waters will be bluer, cleaner, and safer for our aquatic friends.”
The law creates a certification process for boaters to prove their vessels have been inspected and cleaned before launching somewhere new. DEC will also be required to expand its public outreach efforts, disseminating information on the need to clean, drain and dry boats and including boat washing information in approved boater safety courses, under the law.
“We need to make sure every New Yorker is on board with protecting our waters and its inhabitants,” Hochul said in the statement.
Advocacy groups and organizations working to combat invasive species in the park have championed the legislation, highlighting the importance of doing everything possible to prevent the spread of invasives compared to the long battles to manage them once they have established in a waterway.
“Once these species spread, attempting to contain them can be extremely expensive and time-consuming,” bill sponsor Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake, said in a statement. “This bill will prevent spread before it starts by instituting regular inspections and by educating boaters, which will not only save time and money, but also better safeguard our environment as well as protect land values for property owners.”
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