SCHROON LAKE — A new weapon will be used to prevent invasive species from getting into Schroon Lake this summer, in the form of a self-serve, mobile boat cleaning unit.
The solar-powered equipment for the 2023 boating season is possible thanks to a collaborative effort between Warren County and a number of public and private partners, according to a news release from the county.
The mobile boat cleaning unit was delivered to Warren County earlier this year to use at boat launches in the Schroon Lake watershed this spring.
The Warren County Department of Planning & Community Development received grant funding through the New York Environmental Protection Fund and New York Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the $40,000 piece of equipment, which will be rotated around boat launches in the watershed in both Warren and Essex counties.
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The solar-powered CD3 Cleaning System equipment is free to use and will allow those who are launching or removing watercrafts from Schroon Lake to clean boats through a waterless process.
The wash station’s CD3 moniker stands for “Clean, Drain, Dry and Dispose,” because the system provides a cleaning infrastructure for boaters to clean their boats and trailers on their own. The standalone unit offers self-service resources, including an air blower, wet-dry vacuum, hand tools and lights to help boaters remove, then dispose of water, weeds and debris.
The new equipment is part of the Schroon Watershed Aquatic Invasives Program, which combines the forces of volunteer lake associations, including the Schroon Lake Association and East Schroon Lake Association, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and the towns of Chester, Horicon and Schroon under the auspices of Warren County Planning and Community Development and New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
CD3 stations also serve as educational kiosks that allow boaters to check-in and out of bodies of water. and collect essential data for communities and indicate when invasive species are detected, to aid in aquatic invasive species management and mitigation.
“Since 1911, the mission of the Schroon Lake Association has been to protect Schroon Lake. Throughout the Adirondacks, lake associations along with their many partners, are the frontline protectors of our lakes, ponds and rivers. Public awareness and action are the keys to preventing the spread of invasive hitchhikers into the Adirondack Park. This is where the CD3 machine hopefully will play a key role. Although it is not a decontamination machine (it does not work on high water pressure at 140 degrees), it will be a visible and tangible unit to promote boater education, help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and underscore the importance of “Clean, Drain and Dry” for recreational boats,” Vice President of Schroon Lake Association Roger Friedman said. “Kudos to the Warren County Planning Department for thinking outside the box in assisting the Schroon Lake Watershed.”
Warren County Planner Ethan Gaddy said protecting the quality of the county’s waterways is “critically important” to the region’s environment, economy and quality of life.
“This project implements elements of the Schroon Lake Watershed Management Plan from 2019, which identifies the prevention, monitoring, and eradication of aquatic invasive species as a priority. The use of the CD3 unit is not a substitute for a hot-water, high-pressure decontamination station typically operated by boat stewards, but this new technology provides what we hope is an acceptable alternative for when stewards are not on hand, as workforce and housing issues are having an impact on our municipalities ability to staff boat inspection stations. Hopefully, the CD3 unit will provide boaters with an opportunity to decontaminate their boat when boat launches are unstaffed in the early morning and evening hours. The pilot project is intended to evaluate whether or not our municipalities and partner organizations should incorporate the CD3 unit into our current suite of AIS management options,” Gaddy said in a county news release.
The CD3 project is funded by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund, and is part of a broad program to address invasive species in Schroon Lake, which will include additional harvesting of Eurasian milfoil and outreach by lake stewards.