Posted on August 1st, 2012 2 comments Add a comment >>
The spiny water flea, an invasive species, has been found in Lake George, just weeks after its discovery in the Champlain Canal, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
A native of Eurasia, the flea feeds on crustaceans and other zooplankton, putting the invader in direct competition with native fish and other aquatic organisms.
After the flea was found in the Champlain Canal, Vermont officials called upon New York State to close the canal to prevent the invader from reaching Lake Champlain. So far, New York has refused to do so.
“DEC has worked with its partners on the Lake Champlain Basin Task Force to stop and slow the spread of the spiny water flea,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a news release today. “The discovery of spiny water flea in Lake George is not welcome news and DEC’s efforts to slow the spread of this and other invasive species will continue.”
The full text of the department’s new release follows.
ALBANY, NY (08/01/2012) — The presence of the spiny water flea, an aquatic invasive species, was confirmed in Lake George, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.
“DEC has worked with its partners on the Lake Champlain Basin Task Force to stop and slow the spread of the spiny water flea,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The discovery of spiny water flea in Lake George is not welcome news and DEC’s efforts to slow the spread of this and other invasive species will continue.”
Earlier this week the Lake Champlain Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response Task Force released seven recommendations to slow the spread of spiny water flea into Lake Champlain, which includes redirecting the flow of the Champlain Canal into the Hudson River and furthering a feasibility study for a hydraulic barrier between the Champlain Canal and Lake Champlain.
“DEC fully supports the recommendations of the Task Force and will work with the state of Vermont and our other partners to implement the Task Force’s recommendations,” Commissioner Martens said. “Boaters and anglers also have a major role in slowing the spread of invasive species. All boating, fishing and recreation equipment must be cleaned and disinfected, to prevent spreading invasive species to other water bodies.”
The Task Force is made up of representatives from New York state, Vermont and Canada. The Task Force’s report recognizes that the closure of the Champlain Canal and the Glens Falls Feeder Canal is not technically, legally or economically feasible.
The discovery of spiny water flea in Lake George provides another pathway for the invasive species to enter Lake Champlain via the LaChute River. Lake George is not connected to the State Canal System.
The presence of spiny water flea was confirmed through sampling efforts by the Lake George Association on Tuesday, July 31. The samples were taken to the Darrin Fresh Water Institute where four spiny water fleas were identified.
“Right now the Commission’s top priority is invasive species control and management, and we will work with our many partners on determining the extent of this population,” Dave Wick, Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission, said. “The Commission is currently developing a comprehensive invasive species prevention plan for Lake George, with the goal of preventing any new invasive occurrences from entering the lake.”
The possible presence of the spiny water flea was first reported on Friday, July 27 by an invasive species steward at DEC’s Mossy Point Boat Launch near the north end of the lake. A fisherman had reported having a clump of small organisms on his fishing line after spending time trolling the waters off Mallory Island along the east shore of the lake.
The steward took a sample and provided it to the Lake George Association, who passed it on to the Darrin Fresh Water Institute. After the organisms were identified as spiny water fleas the Lake George Association sampled the waters off Mallory Island and further confirmed its presence.
The invasive pest was previously confirmed in the Great Sacandaga Lake in 2008, Peck Lake in 2009, Stewarts Bridge Reservoir 2010, Sacandaga Lake in 2010 and most recently this summer in the Champlain Canal and Glens Falls Feeder Canal.
Background on Spiny Water Flea
Native to Eurasia, the spiny water flea feeds on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton that are foods for fish and other native aquatic organisms, putting them in direct competition for this important food source. The tail spines of the spiny water flea hook on fishing lines and foul fishing gear.
Spiny water fleas can impact aquatic life in lakes and ponds due to their rapid reproduction rates. In warmer water temperatures these water fleas can hatch, grow to maturity, and lay eggs in as little as two weeks. Conversely, “resting” eggs of spiny water fleas can remain dormant for long periods of time prior to hatching.
While it is not clear when or how the spiny water flea was introduced into the lakes, it is clear that the initial introduction, and very likely the others as well, were through adult, larvae or eggs being transported to the waters by bait bucket, bilge water, live well, boat, canoe, kayak, trailer or fishing equipment.
Currently, there are no successful means to control or eradicate this and many other aquatic invasive species, so preventing their spread is the only means for reducing their impacts on native aquatic communities. It is very important that boats, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts take precautions to avoid transporting this and other invasive species, particularly after leaving water known to have an aquatic invasive species.
Prevent the Spread of Spiny Water Flea
INSPECT & CLEAN your fishing, boating and other water recreation equipment and gear. Remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to them when leaving waters, especially those that are known to contain an aquatic invasive species.
DRY your fishing and boating equipment before using it on another body of water. Drying is the most effective “disinfection” mechanism and is least likely to damage sensitive equipment and clothing. All fishing and boating equipment, clothing and other gear should be dried completely before moving to another body of water. This may take a week or more depending upon the type of equipment, where it is stored and weather conditions. A basic rule of thumb is to allow at least 48 hours for drying most non-porous fishing and boating gear at relative humidity levels of 70 percent or less.
DISINFECT your fishing and boating equipment if it cannot be dried before its use in another body of water. Disinfection recommendations vary depending on the type of equipment and disease of concern. Be particularly aware of bilge areas, live wells and bait wells in boats. These areas are difficult to dry and can harbor invasive species.
See the DEC website for more information on invasive species and how you can stop their spread: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/265.html.
USGS Spiny Water Flea Fact Sheet: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=162.
Posted on July 31st, 2012 Add a comment >>
New York State has added 156 acres on southern Lake Champlain to the forever-wild Forest Preserve, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.
Known as Chubbs Dock property, the tract includes 2,140 feet of shoreline and seventy acres of wetlands in the town of Dresden. It is in a wildlife travel corridor connecting the Adirondacks with Vermont’s Green Mountains.
“Chubbs Dock conserves excellent wildlife habitat along the narrow headwaters of Lake Champlain,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
The Adirondack Nature Conservancy bought the property for $500,000 in November 2009 and donated it to the state this past May.
“Not only is New York State keeping intact some of the largest wetlands on Lake Champlain, but doing it in a way that will also secure public access for hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife-oriented recreation—all of which contribute to the state’s outdoor recreation economy,” said Michael Carr, executive director of the conservancy’s Adirondack chapter.
In addition, Washington County transferred to the state this year an adjoining 283-acre parcel on Maple Bend Island—making a total of 439 acres of wetlands that have been added to the Forest Preserve. DEC will pay taxes on both properties.
DEC’s full news release follows.
ALBANY, NY (07/31/2012)(readMedia)– In partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the state has acquired 156 acres on Southern Lake Champlain in the Town of Dresdon, Washington County that will be added to the State Forest Preserve, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
Known as the Chubbs Dock property, the land features 2,140 feet of undeveloped shoreline and 70 acres of wetland communities that support rare plants and falls within an area that provides critical breeding, staging and migration habitat for thousands of waterfowl species.
“Chubbs Dock conserves excellent wildlife habitat along the narrow headwaters of Lake Champlain,” said Commissioner Martens. “The property will be added to the Forest Preserve and serve as part of a travel corridor for wildlife between the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Thanks to our partners TNC, Washington County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for making this land preservation possible.”
With funding through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program, TNC purchased the property for $500,000 in November 2009. The property was then donated to New York State in May 2012. TNC has previously utilized North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to protect Mill Bay Marsh and Huckleberry Marsh in the Lake Champlain watershed.
“This is a great example of strategic, high leverage conservation work of regional and national importance,” said Michael Carr, Executive Director of the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter.
“Not only is New York State keeping intact some of the largest wetlands on Lake Champlain, but doing it in a way that will also secure public access for hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife-oriented recreation-all of which contribute to the state’s outdoor recreation economy.”
The NAWCA grant application was supported by Washington County and included a commitment by the county to transfer an adjoining 283-acre tract on Maple Bend Island. Both transfers happened this year, adding a total of 439 acres with significant wetlands to public ownership. As part of the Forest Preserve, DEC will pay taxes on both properties. Public access to Lake Champlain and its shoreline is limited because most of the shoreline is privately owned. State acquisition of Chubb’s Dock will provide for new public access.
Protecting wetlands is also an important part of mitigating the impacts of climate change by helping to maintain the connection between wetlands and riparian habitat.
The NAWCA of 1989 provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetland conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. The Act was passed, in part, to support activities under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement that provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated uplands habitats needed by waterfowl and other migratory birds in North America. In December 2002, Congress reauthorized the Act and expanded its scope to include the conservation of all habitats and birds associated with wetland ecosystems.
The Act emphasizes multi-stakeholder partnerships as necessary and valuable mechanisms for wetlands conservation, and for this reason proposals submitted for funding under the Act must include a substantial partnership component. Wetlands conservation projects focus specifically on the long-term protection, restoration, enhancement and/or management of wetland ecosystems.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, set up under the Act, is funded through several federal sources, including direct appropriations, interest from receipts under the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund, receipts from the Sportfish Restoration Account, and fines and forfeitures collected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Bird Habitat Conservation is responsible for facilitating and administering grants under the Act’s two grants programs.
By focusing on public-private partnerships and working with multiple stakeholders to leverage federal dollars several times over with non-federal funding sources, the NAWCA Program has become one of the nation’s most successful conservation programs.
Posted on August 26th, 2011 2 comments Add a comment >>
Sightseers gathered in Crown Point today to watch the installation of the arch for the new bridge connecting New York State and Vermont.
The arch was still being slowly hoisted this afternoon. Crown Point photographer Seth Lang took these photos of the massive structure–which is about eight stories high–being moved into place by barges.
The original bridge was closed in 2009 because of structural damage, causing economic hardship to towns on the both side of Lake Champlain. The new one is scheduled to open this fall, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Updates on the bridge construction, including photos, are available online from the state Department of Transportation.
Posted on May 28th, 2009 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Many tourists heading for the High Peaks may not realize that much of the Champlain Valley lies within the Adirondack Park and that it offers plenty of outdoor recreation. The next issue of the Explorer will carry an article on hiking trails near Elizabethtown. Kayakers and bicyclists might be interested in a recreational map of northern Lake Champlain published this spring by Huntington Graphics of Vermont.
”Bike and Kayak Map for Northern Lake Champlain,” which is in color, sells for $4.95. It describes seventeen paddling routes (six starting in New York) and thirteen road-bike routes (five in New York).
The map shows only the put-ins for kayak trips. The destinations on the New York side are Point Au Roche, Long Point, Valcour Island, Ausable Point (and the Ausable River delta), Schuyler Island, and Willsboro Bay. My main criticism is that it omits the paddle around Split Rock and past the stunning Palisades, which can be done from Westport or Whallon Bay. However, the Palisades can be seen on one of the Vermont trips.
The bike routes are highlighted in yellow. Those on the New York side range from 12.4 to 38.3 miles. The longest actually is a two-state trip, requiring ferry rides between Port Kent and Burlington and between Essex and Charlotte. I’ve done this, and while it is a great trip, you should be prepared for traffic south of Burlington. The trip I would find most appealing is a 29.5-mile ride through the hills of Essex and Lewis. An easier trip follows the Ausable River west of Keeseville (12.4 miles). The other two New York rides explore the rural countryside near Plattsburgh (23.5 miles) and Peru (19.2 miles).