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Schroon Lake

Partners are working to keep Schroon Lake free of invasive species, though the lake is already populated with milfoil. Signs are seen at the Schroon Lake boat launch in the town of Schroon, warning boaters about the invasive species. 

A multi-municipality, multi-organization effort to keep Schroon Lake free of new invasive species will continue after the state Regional Economic Development Council awarded $289,750 to the program.

The funding will go toward a boat inspection and decontamination program as well as hand harvesting to remove the invasive Eurasian water milfoil. It’s an effort that involves the towns of Horicon, Chester and Schroon, Warren County, Essex County, the Schroon Lake Association, the East Shore Schroon Lake Association and the Paradox Lake Association.

The grant comes from the state Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

“We really did this as a watershed,” said Mark Granger, president of the Schroon Lake Association. “This is what we’ve been trying to do. This is not just a victory for the money. It’s also a victory for the concept of, ‘political boundaries don’t matter.’ What matters is the watershed.”

The program to combat invasive species in the 4,126-acre lake had been given state funds before, but Granger said they were running out. This funding replaces it and keeps the boat decontamination stations at the southern and northern ends of the lake open, along with boat inspection stations around the lake.

The boat decontamination station in Severance is newer to the watershed’s protection plan, installed last summer off of the Northway’s Exit 28. It already saved Schroon Lake from a possible $500,00 invasive species problem when staff washed off a boat coming from Saratoga Lake that was covered in zebra mussels.

Matt Simpson, town supervisor of Horicon, said at the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s boat launch station alone, between 8,000 and 9,000 boats come through between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.

“One of our key strategies in the Adirondack Park is to protect the quality of water in our lakes and protect our towns and the assets we have, because of our tourist-based economies, and you know, it’s very expensive to operate the stewards and boat decontamination on these sites,” Simpson said. “... So we’re very excited, and this (money) ensures us that we’re going to be able to continue this.”

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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