LAKE GEORGE — Boating has continued to rise on the lake despite the boat inspections, showing that the quick checks do not discourage boaters, LGA spokesman Patrick Dowd said.
But invasives are on the rise despite the inspections, too, he said in his annual report to the Queensbury Town Board.
Still, he was pleased to show data proving wrong the naysayers who had predicted that boat inspections would scare away boaters.
Boat registrations have grown in the three years of boat inspections, from 14,000 registrations before the inspections started to 16,000 last year.
The inspections take five minutes, on average. Boats that need to be decontaminated take about nine minutes, he said.
Inspectors checked 31,128 boats last year and decontaminated 1,920 boats.
The fight against invasive species is continuing as well, he said.
The LGA is now worried about two invasive species that would be new to the lake: quagga mussels (corrected) and the hemlock woolly adelgid. Both have been found near the lake and could “hitch a ride” with a boat. They can be hard to detect in their juvenile form, according to the LGA.
The quagga mussels are a “very nasty” invasive, D owd said. They cling to boat propellers and clog water intake pipes.
While boat inspectors are keeping a lookout for those, volunteers are also trying to remove more of the invasives that are already in the lake. The LGA tried a new tactic this year to get rid of Asian clams: It asked volunteers to remove them by hand.
The LGA held its first Asian Clam Citizen Science Day in Sandy Bay in July. About 20 volunteers walked into the lake, searching for clams. They learned how to sieve for them and removed 2,800.
The good news was that many of the clams were dead.
Every winter, many of the clams die. This winter’s die-off was “much bigger than we anticipated,” Dowd said.
Of the 2,800 clams removed, 1,500 were dead.
In addition to causing water quality problems, the clams are a problem for swimmers.
“They cause problems in sandy areas where you can’t actually walk” because of them, he said, noting that he participated in the science day barefoot. He learned firsthand how sharp the edges of the clams are when they are open — usually due to death.