WHAT ARE AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES?
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are aquatic organisms non-native to the local ecosystem and whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the environment, human health and the local economy. Their presence threatens the diversity and abundance of native species, the ecological stability of infested waters, and any com-mercial, agricultural, aquacultural, and recreational activities dependent on such waters. Fourteen AIS have already entered Canandaigua Lake, the most familiar is the Zebra mussel. There are many other AIS, such as Hydrilla, found in nearby waterways that could easily be transported to our lake on boats and trailers and have the potential to cause severe harm to Canandaigua Lake.
WHY WE MUST STOP THEM FROM ENTERING OUR LAKE. Introduction of further AIS could substantially degrade the lake ecosystem, thereby adversely affecting the local economy, drinking water, tourist industry, and quality of life. Boat inspections at launch sites have shown that about 25% of the watercraft used in the lake were just previously used in other bodies of water. To substantially reduce the risk, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association is working with many partners, including the Watershed Council and Finger Lakes PRISM on a comprehensive AIS Initiative for Canandaigua Lake, which includes 4 areas of focus.
FOCUS AREA #1: EDUCATE everyone on the dangers posed by AIS and how to combat them. We will use pamphlets, presentations, websites, radio announcements, social media and other means to educate local residents and visitors to this area.
FOCUS AREA #2: SIGNAGE at all 15 launch sites to guide individuals through the steps required to inspect and clean watercraft both before launching and after removal from the lake.
FOCUS AREA #3: DISPOSAL STATIONS at all 15 launch sites. These stations will provide a place to safely get rid of suspected materials and further promote participation in the effort to combat the spread of AIS. FOCUS
AREA #4: WATERCRAFT STEWARDS at the State launch site and DEC launch site. Stewards will help to inspect watercraft being used in the lake and to educate watercraft owners on AIS.
Need more information on our AIS Programs? Use these helpful documents.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
This threat is very real and rapidly growing, and there is potentially a huge cost to this area if additional aquatic invasive species enter the lake. Join with us to help stop the spread of Aquatic Invasives in beautiful Canandaigua Lake.
CLEAN YOUR BOAT. Prevent the introduction of potentially harmful invasives by properly cleaning your watercraft. When you leave a body of water:
- Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.
- Eliminate water from equipment before transporting, e.g. dry wells.
- Clean and dry anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.)
- Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came OUT of that water.
VOLUNTEER. Since 2013, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association has been running a Watercraft Steward Program at the NYS boat launch, and Woodville launch. In 2014, we had 12 volunteers that inspected 1,252 boats and removed 95 organisms. Volunteer stewards work with boat owners to inspect their watercraft for hitchhiking AIS, and also help remove latched-on organisms. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer watercraft steward on Canandaigua Lake for the Summer of 2015, call our office at (585) 394-5030.
DONATE. Trying to control an invasive species after it enters a lake can cost millions of dollars and in many cases once a species enters a lake it can never be eradicated. At nearby Cayuga Lake, for example, they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to try to eradicate an infestation of Hydrilla. Contributions are needed from businesses and individuals to help fund this initiative.
AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES ESTABLISHED THE IN CANANDAIGUA LAKE WATERSHED:
* Naturalized from long residence, forming stable, re-producing populations