Hochul signs aquatic invasive species law | News, Sports, Jobs

Summer Stewards at the Adirondack Watershed Institute monitor boat launching ramps and check boats for invasive species in June 2021. (Photo provided – AWI)

Gov. Kathy Hochul enacted legislation on Friday that grants the State Department of Environmental Conservation the ability to inspect and clean up boats and other watercraft to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in and around from Adirondack Park.

The new bill permanently expands the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species Transportation Act, which requires boaters to “Clean, drain and dry” their craft before embarking on state waters, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The law extends expired aquatic invasive species legislation from 2014 and allows for “Inspection posts” be installed anywhere throughout the park and within 10 miles of the blue line. The stations would provide certifications for boat inspection and decontamination in addition to providing education and awareness to boaters.

Aquatic invasive species are a threat to native species, and according to the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith College, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of once they’re established.

“We need to make sure every New Yorker agrees to protect our waters and its people,” Hochul said in a statement.

The new inspection requirement will take effect 180 days after the law is signed, in May 2022.

AWI already operates dozens of boat washing and decontamination stations in the park. While AWI wash stations are voluntary, DEC may require people with motorboats to stop for inspection and decontamination at new stations.

Once the boat has been inspected, the DEC inspector will give boaters a certificate indicating the date and time the boat was inspected, if preventive measures were taken and if the boat was decontaminated. The inspector will then attach a tamper-evident tag to the boat indicating that it is ready to be launched.

The law also requires the DEC to create self-issued certifications for people who can demonstrate that they have taken appropriate invasive species precautions prior to launch. People can also submit certification from another government entity to the DEC, according to the law, provided that the basic inspection and decontamination requirements of that entity meet those of the DEC.

Assembly member Billy Jones D-Chateaugay Lake drafted the bill.

“Once these species have spread, attempting to contain them can be extremely expensive and time consuming,” Jones said in a statement. “This bill will prevent the spread before it starts by instituting regular inspections and educating boaters, which will not only save time and money, but also better protect our environment and protect the value of land for owners. “

Local environmental groups applauded Hochul for signing the Aquatic Invasive Species Act.

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, a Keene-Valley-based program hosted by the Adirondack Chapter of Nature Conservancy, has worked for more than two decades to keep aquatic invasive species in the park at bay, and program director Tammara Van Ryn said the new bill is another effort to maintain recent advances in invasive species prevention.

“Today, about 75% of the Adirondack’s waterways are free from invasive species. “ Van Ryn said. “We should never take for granted that our clean Adirondack waterways are the result of many years of preventative work we have done through strong partnerships with government, local nonprofits and community volunteers. . “

Adirondack Council executive director Willie Janeway said in a statement that the new law strengthens existing efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species – the efforts, he says, are beneficial for outdoor enthusiasts and plans of water in the Adirondacks.

“This law does not impose new penalties or create heavy requirements for boaters”, Janeway said. “It establishes a user-friendly system to verify compliance with cleanliness, drainage and drying requirements already established by law. It supports existing boat washing and inspection stations that the public has become accustomed to across the region.

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