Essex County Passes Law to Prevent Spread of Invasive Species into Lake George

Jul 2, 2013

Lake George
Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

The Essex County, New York Board of Supervisors has passed a local law to prevent the spread of invasive species, but the law applies only to Lake George.

Only about a half-mile of the 32-mile long Lake George is actually in Essex County. County Supervisors on Monday passed a law that prohibits the launch or introduction of any item into Lake George before insuring it is free of vegetation, foreign matter, or invasive species. Anyone using a boat launch must empty bilge areas and water contaminating wells and the craft must be washed before it enters Lake George.
The intent is to “protect the ecology of Lake George by preventing the introduction of any aquatic invasive species and therefore helping to protect the environment and economy of Essex, Warren and Washington counties...” 

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas says much of the intent of the law is educating the public.

Warren County has already passed an invasive species transport law. Town of Chester Supervisor Republican Fred Monroe, chair of the Warren County Legislative Committee, traveled to Essex County with the county attorney and the Lake George Supervisor to ask for a similar law.

Lake George Park Commission Executive Director Dave Wick says Essex County’s new law helps illustrate that invasive prevention is an important economic and environmental issue.

The new law pertains only to Lake George and no other water bodies within the county. Essex County Attorney Dan Manning says a united effort to prohibit invasive species in Lake George is prudent.

Officials in Washington County, the third county bordering Lake George, have twice defeated an invasive species transport measure. Fred Monroe remains optimistic that county leaders there will eventually pass such a statute.

The Essex County law, which is effective immediately, will be enforced by law and marine enforcement officers during regular patrols. Lake George Park Commissioners will vote this month on how to proceed with a draft invasive species prevention plan for Lake George.