CITY OF ULSTER, NY — Members of the City Council last week voted to allow a program to conduct voluntary boat inspections at Charles Rider Park to halt the spread of invasive species.
Supervisor James Quigley said after Thursday’s meeting that the Cornell Cooperative Extension had administered the Teatown Lake Reservation Watercraft Inspection Steward Program for the past six years.
“They basically set up an inspection station at the Rider Park boat launch and talk to the boat owners that go in and out of the Hudson River and let them know about the various coruscations that become lodged on the bottom of the boat,” he said.
In a letter, coordinator Brent Boscarino said someone would be at the launch for up to eight hours a day two or three days a week between May and October.
“These programs provide free voluntary boat inspections … and remove any animal or plant material found,” he wrote.
“The steward would also be there to teach basic plant identification and answer any questions boaters might have about invasive species in the water,” wrote Boscarino. “Our primary goal is to educate boaters, anglers and all recreational users about invasive species in the water and how clean boating practices can minimize their spread.”
Boscarino found that about 90% of boaters allow the inspections, which have been performed on about 15,000 boats since 2015.
The Teatown Lake Reservation Watercraft Inspection Steward Program is part of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management.
Among the group’s concerns was the hydrilla plant, which is poisonous to bald eagles and was discovered during a 2013 survey of rare plants in the Croton River. By the time a second survey was conducted in 2015, it had increased by 55% and spread into the Hudson River.
The program’s website at www.lhprism.org/aquatic-invasive-species List 161 plants and animals that are of concern to rivers, lakes, and streams in the region.
“Aquatic invasive species are plants or animals that are not native to our ecosystems and may threaten the ecology of our waterways, the economy or human health,” it says. “These species are a major threat to New York’s waterways that can cost millions of dollars annually if ignored.”