Regional effort to raise awareness about aquatic invasive species spread and prevention
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in cooperation with seven Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces, announced the second annual “Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Landing Blitz,” a regional campaign to inform boaters and others about the risks of introducing and spreading these invasive pests. During this coordinated outreach effort, partners throughout the Great Lakes region will be educating the public at hundreds of water access sites from June 28 to July 5.
“DEC is committed to preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, and the second annual ‘Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz’ will bolster New York’s ongoing efforts with educational events across the Great Lakes region,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “It’s a chance to work directly with water recreationists and deliver a coordinated, regional message about the importance of AIS spread prevention during the busiest boating weekends of the year. Direct and meaningful engagement is essential to reducing the economic and ecological impacts of AIS in the Great Lakes.”
AIS are nonnative aquatic plants and animals that can cause environmental and economic harm and harm to human health. Many AIS have been found in the lakes, ponds and rivers of New York, and can be transported from waterbody to waterbody on watercraft and equipment. Boat stewards are paid members of the community or volunteers that provide boaters and other water recreationists with important information about precautions to reduce the likelihood of spreading AIS. The stewards help people learn how to inspect, clean, drain and treat watercraft and equipment. For the direct link to the map to help locate these services, visit the NYS Public Boat Launches with Boat Stewards or Decontamination Services Map.
Local communities and volunteers are key partners in the success of this event. DEC also works with state Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) and lake associations to reach out to boaters and anglers and foster stewardship of New York’s waters. Boaters will have the opportunity to engage directly with stewards in their community during the “Blitz” and learn how to clean, drain and dry their boats as part of this collective effort to help protect New York’s rivers and lakes, including the Great Lakes, from the unwanted impacts of invasive species.
For more information on the “AIS Landing Blitz,” including educational materials, visit the Great Lakes “AIS Landing Blitz” website. To learn more about the AIS boat steward program, visit DEC’s website.