LGA Identifies Invasive Quagga Mussels And Fanwort in Samples Removed From Boats During Park Commission Inspections

“Well, there’s something you don’t see every day, fortunately!” said Kristen Wilde, the LGA’s Director of Education.

Kristen is the Lake George Association’s resident invasive species knowledge base, and assists the Lake George Park Commission in identifying invasive species found and removed during the inspections as part of the Mandatory Boat Inspection Program on Lake George.

What had been removed from the boats, and what Kristen identified and was then confirmed by other scientists, was three significant saves for the program: two separate instances of fanwort, a highly invasive plant that arrived on two separate boats, on two separate days, from Massachusetts; and quagga mussels, which arrived on a boat that had last been in the St. Lawrence River.

“Three separate invasive species samples – none of which are already in Lake George – on three separate boats, proves the benefits and protections of the Mandatory Boat Inspection Program on Lake George,” Kristen said.

“This was a great catch by two different sets of Vessel Inspection Technicians,” said Walt Lender, LGA Executive Director. “We want to congratulate them for their attentiveness and the Park Commission for their training program.”

During a boat inspection on Lake George, the Park Commission technicians collect any plant or animal found on a boat or trailer being presented for inspection. They tag the sample and send it to the Lake George Association for Kristen to review and identify. Secondary confirmation, if needed, comes from other scientists, usually ones at Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton.

 “Having run our own Lake Steward Program that became the Mandatory Program, the LGA and our members know only too well why this is a critical program for water quality protection,” Kristen said.

“We are pleased the LGA can support the program each year with our $30,000 investment and with our time and talent, to provide data to the Park Commission’s information gathering to keep Lake George safe,” Walt said.

“This is another example of the LGA using the money it raises for projects and programs to directly benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future,” said Peter Menzies, President of the LGA Board of Directors.

Fanwort removed from the
boats entering Lake George.

Fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana) when established can quickly form dense stands (the plant is among the first growers when the ice goes out), crowding out most natives.  Extremely persistent, the plant had been sold for aquariums.

DEC says the plant’s long stems appear tubular. Leaves are fan-like with a short stem and are arranged opposite each other on the stem. Plants have white to light pink flowers that float on the surface.

According to the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species website, fanwort can grow up to 10 meters long. It has a “dense mass of underwater stems and leaves provide a hazard for recreational water users.” When it dies off, “decomposition causes significant short-term oxygen reductions and foul smelling water.” It can survive free-floating for six to eight weeks.

The quagga mussels removed from the boat
entering Lake George.

Quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) are small freshwater bivalve mollusk, which filter the water to remove and consume substantial amounts of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton is the base of the food web in Lake George (the primary producers), and their removal from the water in large numbers would disrupt the food web.

You can see a full discussion of the Lake George food web on our well sourced and voluminous website at: https://www.lakegeorgeassociation.org/educate/science/plants-fish-wildlife/lake-george-food-webs/

For more information, please call (518) 668-3558 or see the wealth of information on our updated website at http://www.LakeGeorgeAssociation.org

The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose members support water quality protection, water quality monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.

All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.

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All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.
Lake George Association

Lake George Association