RAY BROOK — A statewide game plan to control invasive species has a big team in the Adirondacks.At its April meeting, Adirondack Park Agency commissioners were introduced to most of the 16 planners from a cross-section of state and non-government organizations involved in a newly signed cooperative agreement to control pests in the park.Dan Spada, wetlands specialist at the APA, reported that since 2005, when Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) secured $1 million in startup funding, the program has grown into a $5 million research and prevention organization."It's not a lot of money to deal with invasive species in New York state, but we feel it's a good start."Hilary Oles, director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plants Program, offered insight into the workload.Invasive species are "on the move," she said, including viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a fish virus that has infected the Great Lakes and St.Lawrence Seaway, killing millions of fish."We have observed a new introduction of invasives in the Great Lakes every six to eight months," Oles said, noting that Lake Champlain now has 48 invasive plant and aquatic species.Boats are the primary method of spreading non-native species, including Eurasian water milfoil and zebra mussels.And the Adirondacks, with its 70 state boat launches and numerous other municipal and private marinas, is at risk.So far, Oles said, Adirondack water-keepers monitoring some of the 11,000 lakes and ponds have found 51 infected waterways.Ten invasive aquatic species have been identified.An Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan put into action this year will establish a triage of eradication, control and education to help keep problem species from spreading any further in Adirondack waters."In 2007, we are going to prioritize lakes for long-term monitoring and aquatic nuisance species management," Oles said.A big part of prevention is education, Oles added."Aquatic nuisance species are generally introduced as a result of human activity."Some boaters, she said, have refused to remove milfoil from their engines as they leave one lake for another, even though invasives can destroy sport fishing and other water recreation."Awareness will have a big part in our success."
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