Backcountry Water Monitors, Year One
Adirondack Mountain Club (2015). Backcountry Water Monitors, Year One (Final Report). Grand Isle, VT: Lake Champlain Basin Program.
The Backcountry Water Monitors Project, Year One was a pilot initiative in 2015 to survey the many, as yet, unsurveyed backcountry lakes and ponds within the Lake Champlain Basin of the Adirondack Park for aquatic invasive species (primarily plant species). The objective of the project also involves education and outreach to ADK’s 28,000 members and our many supporters and the general public about AIS and spread prevention. Since many of our members are paddlers, backcountry recreationists, and dedicated conservation stewards, the education, conservation, and stewardship goals of the project are very attractive to ADK members. The project was initiated by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) in partnership with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), and the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI), with guidance and funding provided by the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). Other partners providing resources or training include the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), which provided iMapInvasives training and support, and the Ausable River Association (AsRA) which provided training, resources, and photography support. The location of the project includes the backcountry waters of Lake Champlain sub-basins, including unsurveyed waterbodies in the Great and Little Chazy Rivers, Saranac River, Salmon River, the Ausable and Little Ausable Rivers, Boquet River, and in the small headwaters of brooks and streams that flow directly into Lake George and Lake Champlain such as Jabe Pond and Putnam Creek.
The project conducted two trainings in 2015 at the Heart Lake Program Center in Lake Placid, New York. The trainings covered an overview of work to stop the spread of invasive species in the Adirondack Park, an overview of all aquatic invasive species threatening the waters of the Lake Champlain Basin and the Adirondack Park, hands-on identification of the aquatic invasive plants most likely to be discovered in backcountry waterbodies, and a field outing on Heart Lake to demonstrate backcountry survey techniques and protocols and to review survey forms and equipment. The trainings also included a session to familiarize volunteers with iMapInvasives and uploading data. To date the project has educated 28 volunteers and surveyed 14 backcountry waterbodies. An additional commitment to adopt 20 ponds for survey was made by volunteers at trainings in 2015. The project also engaged the public through print and social media and events and outings in addition to the two scheduled trainings. During 2015, ADK also continued its work in educating decision makers about the need to stem the spread of invasives through establishing a network of boat-washing and inspection stations throughout the Adirondack Park. The project was successful and well received by ADK membership and supporters. ADK is preparing to continue a second year of the project in 2016.