Tuesday’s unprecedented agreement about fighting invasive species which united 53 united groups -- including many New York State agencies, municipal governments and lake associations -- was welcomed with unbridled enthusiasm by Schroon’s two Lake Associations.
Jane Smith, President of the East Shore Schroon Lake Association (ESSLA) and Mark Granger, President of the Schroon Lake Association (SLA), were unanimous in their positive comments about the announcement by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
The government says the initiative will help preserve clean water, increase recreation opportunities and promote tourism in Upstate New York.
In a nutshell the agreement works like this: by investing today in measures to keep invasive species out of our lakes and waterways – particularly keeping infected boats and trailers out of the water – the economics of towns and business which rely on our pristine bodies of water will have a bright future.
“Wasn't that great? We've been working on it for I would say probably six months or so,” a happy Jane Smith told Schroon Laker Tuesday.
“The total dollar figure available is a million dollars that the governor has set aside. What we're trying to do is get the most vulnerable places taken care of first throughout the whole Adirondack Park. Because if we don't protect every waterway, we don't protect any”.
“What this means for Schroon Lake and Schroon River is we're on the list of planned boat washing, decontamination stations and it will just be great because we'll be able to increase our steward programs and get a boat washing station in place. We might not be one of the first ones but we're in the mix”.
Mark Granger, President of the Schroon Lake Association echoes those sentiments. The big headline for Mark was the involvement of the Department of Environment and Conservation. “That’s a big step forward,” he told Schroon Laker.
Both presidents praised Fred Monroe, the Warren County Supervisor for Chester, as being a key driving force behind Tuesday's historic announcement.
“I think Fred straddles the line in terms of all the different stakeholders, those interested persons in this,” Mark said.
“What he's learned, and what Mike Marnell (Town Supervisor, Schroon Lake) has learned, is that you can harness the energy of citizen groups to help carry the water, both to the point of view of getting the job done, and also the political reality. But face it, here's the bottom line in all this, everybody is finally realizing, in government, that their whole property tax base could be destroyed by invasive species.
“So it now becomes an economic reality that if you don't stop this, if you don't turn this around, your base for all government function, at least at the town level, in the Adirondack is going to be destroyed”
What’s next for both Lake Associations is coming up with a plan of action to make boat and trailer washing de-con stations a reality for Schroon Lake.
And one location is already being discussed: the Scaroon Manor Camp Ground.
“One of the things that's being discussed now is we're moving away from putting boat-washing stations at the launches themselves. We're looking instead to try and centralize them in places where people can have access to them, and where they can be properly established and built. So one place we're definitely talking about is Scaroon Manor.
“You could set up the whole thing there. You have people pull into it, get cleaned off, have their trailers tagged and then go launch either at Horicon or at the Schroon town beach, both of which are pretty congested locations.
This proposed plan puts the boat washing station at the midway point between both launches and addresses the concerns of washing stations adding to the congestion that happens on busy days at local launches.
Trailers would be tagged and the burden of stewards at the launches would to check tags, not spend time on inspection. Have any discussions been held about the Scaroon location?
“Not specifically about Scaroon Manor, though it was discussed at a recent meeting,” Mark said. A boat-wash station costs between $20,000 and $25,000. But there are additional labor and training costs.
The next steps on how the boat washing station gets up and running will be discussed at a series of future meetings, the first this Thursday In Raybrook, says Jane.
“We're going to talk more about the logistics of how everything is going to go. Because it's been mostly getting everybody on board so now it's going to shuffle down to what, where, who and when type things.
Meanwhile, ESSLA recently got a financial boost with another $41,000 grant from the Warren County Board of Supervisors to help with the steward program.
“The Warren County Board of Supervisors has been very ahead of game really.
“Fred is one of those people. As well as Matt Simpson, who has also been on board with all of this and working towards it. We're very fortunate that we have Board supervisors that really realize what needs to be done,” said Jane.