Backcountry Water Monitors, Year Two
Adirondack Mountain Club (2016). Backcountry Water Monitors, Year Two (Final Report). Grand Isle, VT: Lake Champlain Basin Program.
The Backcountry Water Monitors Project, Year two was the continuation of the initiative 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 30,000 members, our many supporters, and the general public about Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) 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 Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) members. The project was has continued to grow with training support from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI), and with guidance and funding provided by the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). Other important partners providing resources or training include the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), which provided iMapInvasives training and support, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health which has helped with education and outreach. 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.
The project conducted two trainings in 2016. One training was held at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center and the second was held at ADKs Heart Lake Property. 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 Six Mile Water Works and 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 56 volunteers (28 each in Y1 and Y2) and surveyed 29 lakes or ponds (14 in Y1 and 15 in Y2). The project also engaged the public through print and social media and events and outings in addition to the two scheduled trainings. During 2016, 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 third year of the project in 2017. Note: data are included in final report.