Real Estate 20 Under 40

EDITORIAL: Start fighting invasives now

2012-11-29T21:13:00Z 2012-12-01T12:32:22Z EDITORIAL: Start fighting invasives now Glens Falls Post-Star
November 29, 2012 9:13 pm

A Minnesota conservation organization is now teaching waterfowl hunters that washing their dogs can help fight invasive species.

If the devil is in the details, then the folks in Minnesota may indeed be barking up the right tree.

When it comes to going to war against invasive species, there is one universal truth: The best way to combat them is to make sure they are never introduced in the first place.

The National Wildlife Federation says it is “extraordinarily difficult and costly” to control and eradicate invasives once they take hold, so it makes the following recommendations on its website:

- Create effective mechanisms to prevent their introduction in the first place;

- Create monitoring systems for detecting new infestations;

- Move rapidly to eradicate newly detected invaders;

With that in mind, it is disturbing to see two of the region’s chief environmental watchdogs — the Lake George Park Commission and the state Department of Environmental Conservation — coming to very different conclusions about fighting invasives in Lake George.

The Lake George Park Commission has proposed a mandatory boat-washing program with a price tag of $700,000 that experts say would be 90 percent effective.

But Kathy Moser, the DEC’s invasive species expert, came out this week and said visual inspections — which would cost substantially less — would probably catch 80 to 85 percent of the invasives.

Lake George park commissioners tabled their vote knowing how essential DEC support is to having boat-washing approved.

As our world has evolved into a global marketplace, stowaway species have become a constant that threatens the environment and our economies.

That especially applies to the touristtrade here.

Invasives could irreparably harm the lake and make tourism vanish in decades to come. But adding boat-washing fees could also put a crimp in the local boating industry. Not everyone who owns a boat on Lake George is a millionaire with money to burn.

The Nature Conservancy recently reported the United States spends more than $73 billion fighting invasive species. Lake George’s recent battles with Asian clams have already carried a hefty pricetag for Warren County.

The Nature Conservancy suggests two plans of attack:

- Stop the spread of invasive species through education, partnership and policy.

- Manage invasives and restore freshwater habitats.

What worries us most is the DEC’s recent presentation stopped one possible solution in its tracks.

We don’t pretend to know if boat-washing is worth the money. After all, we saw two decades of controversy over whether PCBs should be removed from the Hudson River without a clear-cut consensus.

But doing nothing is short-sighted and ill-advised. So even if it only improves the odds of fighting invasives by a fraction, it still might be money well spent.

The Associated Press reported earlier this year federal grants are now being awarded for research on ways to prevent invasions into lakes. Researchers hope to refine techniques to detect invasive species’ DNA in the water. But that doesn’t help us with the decision at hand.

We do know the health of Lake George should not be gambled with. That 5 percent increase in effectiveness could be significant in the long haul, especially knowing how difficult it is to eradicate the invaders.

Ultimately, we believe it may be better to be safe rather than expensively sorry. Even if that means waterfowl hunters have to wash their dogs, too.

Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle and citizen representative Robert Sledd.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. HagueSteve
    Report Abuse
    HagueSteve - November 30, 2012 6:34 pm
    Today's editorial shows that the Post Star has a firm grasp on the massive problem facing Our Lake. Your statements of " We do know the health of Lake George should not be gambled with" & " Ultimately, we believe it may be better to be safe rather than expensive sorry" are right on. We all need to support the LGPC's mandatory boat washings recommendation to help the future of Lake George. Since Lake Tahoe put into place two years ago a mandatory boat washing program , no new AIS have entered that Lake. Isn't that what we'd all like to say about Our Lake in the future. We need DEC to get behind LGPC and work closely with them to save The Lake. The area's economic catalyst is the Lake and where will we all be if we lose it to many more AIS. Let's contact DEC & our State reps top gain their support on this major issue confronting Lake George. We're all lucky to have such a strong voice with the Post Star and fortunate to have LGPC as the leader in this battle to save Our Lake.
  2. LG805
    Report Abuse
    LG805 - November 30, 2012 3:07 pm
    Patcher, most IN-vasives come from boats, not fly-by poopers, according to most experts such as here:

    But I like your revenue-sourcing anyway.
  3. patcher
    Report Abuse
    patcher - November 30, 2012 10:57 am
    Since most of the evasive's come via ducks, geese and sea gulls, how about some strategically placed fly bye outhouses? Charge them a quarter a tax.


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