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For Release: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DEC Celebrates Invasive Species Awareness Week at Elmira Boat Launch

DEC Celebrates Invasive Species Awareness Week at Elmira Boat Launch

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation joined with elected officials and other partners at the Elmira Grove St. boat launch today to raise awareness of and identify solutions for combatting invasive species. New York State's Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 12 - 18, 2015, is designed to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to help stop their spread by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state and encouraging them to take action. Invasive species affect all New Yorkers - from hikers to highway personnel, from birders to boaters and from farmers to foresters.

Focusing on aquatic invasive species at today's event, DEC Fisheries Biologist Amy Mahar identified and described examples of common invasives such as milfoil and zebra mussels. Jim Pfiffer of the Friends of the Chemung River helped demonstrate how to inspect boats for invasive species and properly dispose of them.

DEC Regional Director Paul D'Amato stated, "Invasive species can cause significant problems in any ecosystem they inhabit, crowding out native plants, disrupting the normal food chain, impacting recreational or commercial activities or causing physical damage to necessary structures in the way zebra mussels constrict water intake pipes or impact swimming areas. Once established, eradication is a difficult, costly, and often unsuccessful effort. That is why education and preventative action by the public is so important. The simple, yet critical, steps described today such as clean, drain and drying your boat and disposing of aquatic organisms appropriately will help ensure that the spectacular water resources we are blessed to have in this part of the state can be enjoyed for generations to come."

Hillary Mosher of Partnership for Regional Invasive Species or PRISM said, "Invasive species cost taxpayers and municipalities billions of dollars annually to control and mitigate within the United States. Prevention is the most effective way to keep invasive species cost and impact low to the environment, economy and to human health."

"The best way to win the battle against invasive plants and animals is through a partnership with the state DEC, municipalities, environmental groups and the public," said Jim Pfiffer, Executive Director of Chemung River Friends. "The success of that partnership rests with the individuals who use and enjoy our waterways. By learning more about the problem and following a few simple tips, they will have the greatest impact on reducing the spread of damaging plants and animals."

To combat aquatic invasive species, DEC advises boaters and anglers to check their boats, trailers and fishing and boating equipment, bunks, rollers, trim tabs and other likely attachment points on boats and trailers for any plants or animals that may be clinging to them. Following a thorough inspection, DEC encourages boaters to follow the CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY standard:

  • CLEAN boats, trailers and equipment of any debris, and dispose of it in an upland area or receptacle provided for this purpose.
  • DRAIN the boat completely, including bilge areas, live wells and bait wells. Water ski and wake board boat operators should be sure to drain all ballast tanks. Many aquatic invasive species can survive in as little as a drop of water, so it is imperative that all water is removed.
  • DRY all equipment for at least five days before using it in another water body. Longer drying times may be required for difficult to dry equipment or during damp or cool periods. Drying is the simplest and most effective way to ensure equipment does not transport plants or animals.

Additional suggestions include:

  • Dispose of leftover bait in the trash, not in the water.
  • Clean waders and wading boots before moving to a new body of water.
  • Do not release aquatic invasive plants, unwanted aquarium fish or live bait into any waters.
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