LIVONIA – In the spirit of good lake stewardship, boaters can now completely wash their crafts, inside and out, of environmentally harmful invasive critters and slime.
According to a press release from Senator Catherine Young, the washing station comes courtesy of a $50,000 state grant to the Conesus Lake Association. Boaters can choose to decontaminate internal portions of a boat, along with washing external surfaces. Stewards are given proper training and follow detailed protocols to clean the portions of a boat that they suspect could be contaminated.
“This project, since its inception, has been an amazing story of teamwork and cooperation,” said Scott Proctor, Director of the Conesus Lake Association and Project Manager for the Boat Decontamination Station. “The Conesus Lake Association would like to thank all involved, especially Senator Young, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension Livingston County and the Livingston County Watershed Council. Our Watercraft Steward Program has grown in recent years to reach over 10,000 boaters last year, while the percentage of contaminated boats coming from other lakes continues to drop. This boat decontamination station will provide an important new capability in the fight against aquatic invasive species and our efforts to keep Conesus Lake healthy and vibrant.”
The Conesus Lake Association, along with several partner agencies and organizations, has been funding a Watercraft Steward Program as a ‘first line of defense’ for several years. However, visual inspections could only stop a portion of invasive species.
According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), boats can spread aquatic invasive species from water body to water body unless properly decontaminated using a process commonly known as ‘Clean, Drain and Dry.’
Several years ago, a study was done and it was determined that more boats visit Conesus than any of the other 22 locations spread across nine Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario, averaging 90 boats per day. This high frequency of boat traffic puts Conesus Lake at high risk for the introduction of new and harmful aquatic invasive species.
“On behalf of all the members of the Conesus Lake Watershed Council, I would like to express our gratitude to Senator Young for securing this boat wash station for the benefit of Conesus Lake and all who use or live on this lake today, and in the future,” said Town of Conesus Supervisor Brenda Donohue. “We are today’s stewards of Conesus Lake, and a valuable tool to combat invasive aquatic species has just been added to our toolbox. This boat wash station not only serves the function of removing potential dangerous hitchhikers from boats, trailers and ballasts. It also serves as a powerful educational tool for the boating public; a reminder that we are all stewards of Conesus Lake.”
“This new boat washing station is positive news for the area residents and visitors who enjoy Conesus Lake,” said Young. “Livingston County and the entire Finger Lakes Region receives a tremendous economic benefit from having a vibrant and healthy Conesus Lake. The lake also is a major drinking water resource, supplying fresh water to thousands of people in the surrounding towns and villages. Conesus Lake is beloved by many, including me, for its small-craft boating and fishing potential. I have many childhood memories of Conesus Lake, and we want future generations to have the same recreational opportunities.”