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Where to get a FREE BOAT WASH! How to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Aquatic Species in New York State

Where to get a FREE BOAT WASH! How to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Aquatic Species in New York State

NY State provides free boat wash stations at some state launches to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive plant and animal species. At times, there are also stewards present to inspect your craft for remaining plant material, animals, and mud which may harbor live species you cannot easily see.

The Stewards are not picking on you, they are concerned citizens, many volunteering, working to keep our pristine waters pristine.

This link will take you to a list of free boat wash station locations from NYSDEC’s website. (link at the end of the post too, if you want to read on!)

If these locations are not convenient for you, scrubbing your equipment with hot water, or bleach and water, and letting your equipment bake completely dry in the sun are effective as well, according to the Invasive Aquatic Species training I took with the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) last summer.

Better perspective at the edge of the mat of invasive Water Chestnut plants. Shot near a Marina on the Mohawk River in Halfmoon, NY - a bird walks on a floating mat of invasive Water Chestnut that chokes many of the downstate water bodies.
Better perspective at the edge of the mat of invasive Water Chestnut plants. Shot near a Marina on the Mohawk River in Halfmoon, NY – a bird walks on a floating mat of invasive Water Chestnut that chokes many of the downstate water bodies.
Mom and Baby Ducks pushing their way through a thick mat of invasive Water Chestnut plants in Halfmoon, NY
Mom and Baby Ducks pushing their way through a thick mat of invasive Water Chestnut plants in Halfmoon, NY
Water Chestnut infestations form massive mats which block sunlight from getting below the water. This kills off native plants and animals, makes paddling very frustrating, and can make swimming dangerous!
Water Chestnut infestations form massive mats which block sunlight from getting below the water. This kills off native plants and animals, makes paddling very frustrating, and can make swimming dangerous!
A Water Chestnut infestation seen from the Mohawk-Hudson bike trail near Lions Park.
A Water Chestnut infestation seen from the Mohawk-Hudson bike trail near Lions Park.

The above photos are of extensive Water Chestnut infestations I have encountered around the Saratoga Springs and NY Capital Region. Learn more about this highly invasive plant here.

Many popular landscaping and pondscaping plants sold in your local nurseries are major culprits in the spread of invasive species on land and in our waterways. Please only plant species that are native to your area. The native plants, birds, and other wildlife will thank you for that!

Even popular aquarium plants have made their way into our waterways, choking out native plants and animals.

Never EVER dump aquarium contents into a water body. 

Pretty flowers, or pretty horrifying? I believe this is the invasive Fanwort, seen in Round Lake, NY. A popular plant for aquariums.
Pretty flowers, or pretty horrifying? I believe this is the invasive Fanwort, seen in Round Lake, NY. A popular plant for aquariums.

Learn more about the threat of invasive Fanwort plants here.

While invasive species are much more prolific in downstate water bodies, there are many contaminated Adirondack water bodies. Staying within the Adirondack Park to paddle and fish is not enough. Think of the above photos as a view into the future of Adirondack waterways if we ALL do not take proper precautions.

Clean your gear thoroughly after every trip, no matter where you go, to help prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species and keep our favorite places beautiful.

I live in the Capital Region of NY and the conditions here break my heart. They have pretty much scared me off the waters here, because I am afraid of inadvertently spreading invasive species to the Adirondacks.

Once these invasive plants and animals take hold in a body of water, removal and recovery is practically impossible.

It is up to all of us to prevent the spread of invasive species – the minimal extra effort it takes is very much worthwhile.

List of New York State Boat Wash Stations

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