Boat launch on Round Lake/Ballston Journal

State Plans Patrols Against “Invasive Plants” on Round Lake

ROUND LAKE – The new boat launch on Route 9 is getting a lot of use, and according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, boaters need to take steps there to avoid the spread of  “aquatic invasive plants.

Sign at boat launch on Round Lake/Ballston Journal

Sign at boat launch on Round Lake

DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino told the Journal that to comply with new regulations, boaters must “remove all visible plant and animal material and drain their boat prior to launching at the site or leaving it at the end of the day.” Among the concerns, she said, are “Eurasian Watermilfoil and water chestnut,” which “Round Lake is known to harbor. … Visible plants such as these are easily removed by hand, and an invasive species disposal station will be installed on site to provide a disposal location.” Signs are in place at the launch site telling people to drain their boats and remove plants and debris.

More information about the new statewide regulations, which were issued earlier this month, is available on the DEC Web site.

Asked how the DEC will enforce these rules, Severino said its “Division of Law Enforcement will check for compliance during regular patrols and may also detail officers at times at the ramp.” While those patrols will be out on the lake, the “main focus will be education and outreach to prevent violations.”

The state-funded boat launch has been getting a lot of use, said Round Lake Councilwoman Carrie Woerner, with boaters and people fishing off the docks, and is “very positive” for the village and area, she said.

On Thursday morning this week, the light rain did not deter a kayaker, and Larry Sowek of Clifton Park brought his 16-foot motorboat to go fishing. Sowek said he’s been coming to the lake since he was a child, and up to now it’s always been “a mud launch.” Now, he said, “this should be great.”

Larry Sowek/Ballston Journal

Larry Sowek

People have been accessing the lake from this area for many years, but the cars parked along busy Route 9 were seen as a safety hazard. The new facility has parking spots for automobiles and boat trailers.

An additional boat launch on the other side of the lake, off Route 67, is under development by the town of Malta. Audrey Ball, Malta’s director of parks, recreation and human services, said that launch should be open next year, and the town will work with DEC to comply with the regulations. Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville said full development of the town park on the east side of the lake off Route 67 will likely take several years.

Some garbage, including a beer can, cigarette pack and condom, was visible on the ground at the Route 9 carry-in carry-out facility. So were a fair number of Canada geese.

Canada geese at Round Lake/Ballston Journal

Canada geese at Round Lake

According to a DEC statement about the new rules, boaters must “visually inspect the boat, trailer and other fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it. Materials should be disposed of in one of the Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations installed at many DEC boat launches, in the trash or at an upland location away from the launch ramp.”

Boaters also must “drain the boat’s bilge and any other water holding compartments such as live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks. This does not apply to water associated with sanitary systems or drinking water supplies.

Kayaker on Round Lake/Ballston Journal

Kayaker on Round Lake

“Drying boats is also highly recommended but is not required under the new regulations. Boaters who are unable to dry their boats between uses should flush the bilge and other water holding compartments with water, preferably at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Microscopic larval forms of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea, can live in as much as a drop of water. To ensure that these organisms are not accidentally spread, anything holding water should be dried, flushed or disinfected with hot water to ensure that these aquatic invasive species are not spread.”

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Reporter Bob Conner has worked 21 years in various positions at the Gazette of Schenectady, and before that four years as a reporter at the Glens Falls Post-Star. He won two first-place writing awards from the New York Associated Press Association for newspapers with circulation between 50,000 and 250,000. Bob has a Phi Beta Kappa bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University, and an associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling from HVCC. He is a published author and is currently writing a historical novel about the last four months in the life of Ulysses S.Grant

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