Lake Steward Program

Paradox Lake Steward Program -2013

                                                                 October 1, 2013

This is the fourth year of our Lake Steward Program. We hired 3 local teenagers to work at the launch for extended days and increased inspection hours as compared to the 2012 season.  They began on 5/4 and ended 9/2.  We had a total of 723 inspection hours that included 26 hours provided by volunteers.  Hiring three stewards allowed for some flexibility for both personal and family commitments.  Thanks go to Marcia Hartnett who was available to help with the interview process.  The Association received $2500 from the Town of School to support our program.  We continued to work with Heber Associates in Queensbury to handle payroll and insurance issues.

Paid Lake Stewards:

Our stewards Tanner Stone, Holly Bruce, and Jordan Finnerty, began work on 5/24 for the Memorial Day weekend covering 6 hours on Friday, 12 hours on both Saturday and Sunday, and 8 hours on Monday.  From 6/1 to 6/16 they worked Saturdays and Sundays covering 12 hours each day.  Starting Friday 6/28 through Monday 9/2 they worked 12 hours Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with 12 hours on Labor Day and 6 hours on Mondays through Thursdays.  Each workday began at 6 AM.

  • Gretchen Sunderland and Blanche and Dave Beck provided the initial training before the stewards actually were on site.  In addition, each had a PLA member present during part of the first shift at the launch.  Gretchen Sunderland, Blanche Beck and Emery Dergosits volunteered their time.
  • On 6/29, the PLA hosted Eric Holmlund, Director of the Watershed Stewardship Program at Paul Smith’s College, for a presentation on invasives that was held at the School House/Community Center.  All three stewards attended along with a few PLA members.  Gretchen Sunderland extended an invitation to other lake associations and we had participants from the area including Schroon, Brant, and Canada Lakes.  
  • A screened gazebo/tent was again set up forward of the boat wash site at the State Campground. Available were a table, two chairs and a lockable deck box to accommodate our pamphlets, invasive species samples, clipboard with data sheets, directions, a Lake Steward Handbook, etc.  In addition the lockable box made it possible for a steward to secure possessions. A yellow a-frame sign announced “LAKE STEWARD ON DUTY”.  An additional sign directing traffic to the boat wash was supplied.  The use of PLA logo stickers was also continued.  They were given to those boaters who only use Paradox Lake or would be returning to Paradox Lake.  The stickers are placed on the trailer tongue near the car on the passenger side and serve to alert the stewards that the boat owner is aware of the threat of invasives and will therefore take the necessary steps to make sure that the boat is clean.  We also instituted the use of a notice to be placed on trucks/cars with trailers already at the launch when the stewards arrived at 6:00 am if an inspection found possible invasive plants.
  • We were able to continue to use the canary yellow lake steward t-shirts that Scott Ralls provided four years ago and added additional shirts to accommodate our current stewards.  Baseball caps with our PLA logo completed the “uniform”.

Volunteer Stewards:

There were occasional gaps in the schedule when none of the three stewards were available.  Attempts were made to fill those slots with volunteers.   I was able to draw from a volunteer list that has grown over the last 4 years.  Most shifts were filled; however, there were occasional openings at the last moment.

Volunteers were contacted using either the telephone or email.  Even though our web site lake steward calendar sign up process did not result in any scheduled inspection times, it is still available for use.  The website provides instruction and a video guides members through the sign up process.  A volunteer must have a Google calendar account and his email added to the Paradox Lake Association Google calendar account by the Becks to get signup ability.

  • Each volunteer was provided with a yellow t-shirt.
  • A total of 9 volunteers (down from 15 last year) helped with the steward program to staff the boat launch and/or train the paid stewards. They put in a total of 26 hours (down from 123 hours last year).
  • Thank you to the following PLA members who volunteered in some way to make the steward program a success:  Blanche and Dave Beck, Gretchen Sunderland, Richard and Jeanette Barth, Emery Dergosits, Carolyn Pelone, and  Marcia Hartnett.  In addition, Holly Bruce and Jordan Finnerty volunteered time beyond their scheduled work hours.

Data Collection

Data was recorded on a continuous basis by the paid and volunteer stewards.  It is summarized as follows:

  • 1062 boats were launched and/or retrieved.
  • Inspection hours totaled 723.
  • Boat traffic averaged 8.7 per day with a high quantity of 77 on Saturday July 6th to as low as 0 boats on 4 inspection days.
  • Saturday and Sunday had the largest quantity of boats.
  • Most boats, 29%, were recorded between 9am and noon.
  • 5 boats had invasives; 0.5% of boats recorded. Milfoil was identified. It should be noted that 4 of the boats were discovered during a Bass Tournament on 7/6.
  • 60 boaters were not aware of the invasive threat: 8.6% of boaters responding to the question.
  • 452 boaters used Paradox Lake in last 2 weeks: 43% of boaters.
  • Listed in descending order of frequency, in the last two weeks boats also used: Schroon Lake, Lake Champlain, Lake George, Eagle Lake, Brant Lake, Sacandaga Lake, Saratoga Lake, the Hudson River, Loon Lake, Putnam Pond, Indian Lake, Canada Lake, Harris Lake, Lincoln Pond, Long Island Sound, Oneida Lake, Saranac Lake, Eighth Lake, Lake Placid, Greenwood Lake, Moose Pond, Taylor Pond, Glen Lake, Ocean Lake, the CT River, and lakes in New Jersey and Rhode Island.
  • Stewards were able to inspect 73% of the boats.  Only 20% of the boaters were observed to use the boat wash (many were dry and being launched for the first time in the season).  8% of boaters drained bilges and/or live wells when asked.
  • Of particular significance was the 165 boats (16%) that were at the launch before the stewards arrived at 6 AM.

 As in the past, the PLA steward and the volunteers reported that interfacing with the public was not a problem.  Most people were responsive and truly concerned over the threat of invasives.  The Staff at the Campground was very supportive and distributed our brochure to campers as well as those coming in for day use.   It was nice to see that most of the staff had returned.  Since there is no cell phone coverage, the addition of a phone in the kiosk area was definitely a plus.

 There was increased traffic coming from the Schroon Lake Marina as seasonal renters took advantage of the possibility of renting a boat during their stay.

Contact was made with the owners of the Marina and they volunteered to distribute one of our brochures with the paperwork that accompanies the rental agreement and supported the need to stop boats for inspection.

  • The data collection sheet was revised for 2013 to make it more user-friendly. We included a reminder to emphasize the significance of the orange buoy that is used to mark invasive plants in the lake.  The revision also allowed us to collect information on boats/trailers that were present at the launch when the steward arrived at 6 AM.
  • The document “Volunteer Lake Steward:  What to say and What to do” continued to be available on the website to make it accessible to volunteers before they arrive on site.
  • A “Sponsor a Lake Steward” donation form continues to be available for residents who are unable to volunteer time being a lake steward.

Observations on the 2013 Season:

We were able to increase steward coverage due to grant money that we secured previously and through funding from the Town of Schroon.  Appropriate steward training was provided.  Paid coverage increased, and therefore volunteer coverage decreased.

Thanks to Mark Granger, President of the Schroon Lake Association, contact has been established between the Lake Steward Managers at Schroon and Paradox.   We can now exchange information including announcements of upcoming tournaments and assure that the boat launches are adequately staffed at an early hour.

We need to direct our energies to sustaining this program.  The following should be considered for the 2014 season:

  • The PLA should update and increase the PLA membership including providing membership packets and offering opportunities for residents to contribute to the program.  Consider distributing this information from the boat launch as lake residents launch boats or perhaps door-to-door might be feasible.
  • Establish a dialogue between the PLA and the Bass Fishing organization and its Tournament officials.  Gretchen started this exchange and it needs to continue.
  • The PLA should contact area legislators to raise awareness of Paradox invasive activities.  The larger lakes south of us are getting a lot of attention as evidenced by our growing collection of newspaper articles.  It seems possible that as restrictions tighten on those lakes, the offenders will venture a few miles north to Paradox.
  • Study the data to determine if it might be feasible to eliminate one or two shifts during the week.  Wednesday is a low volume day.  However, if the launch is not staffed, that could give offenders more permission to fish on that day.

The Lake Steward Program continues to evolve as we meet the changes and challenges of the lake.  As a lake owners association we must find the resources to meet those challenges.  Thanks go to Gretchen Sunderland for being fearless, resourceful, and for just plain being there for support.  Additional thanks go to our volunteers and others I have mentioned in this report.  Dave and I look forward to the 2014 season under the leadership of Marcia Hartnett and the support of all of you.  



Sponsor a Lake Steward!

We need your help!

We are having difficulty getting people to volunteer time at the NYS boat launch for Lake Steward duty.

In the past, Scott Ralls from Southwoods Camp was generous in providing us lake stewards, but new government regulations prevent him from doing the same this summer.

So here is how you can help, by either donating your time or your money to assist the PLA in filling many open hours at the boat launch.

We understand that many of you are not able to volunteer your time.  You may only be here for brief weekends and have many family activities going on.  You want to help out, but your limited time at the lake is precious.

Since a half day of hiring a lake steward costs approximately $50 (wage, worker’s comp, unemployment, etc.), you can choose to sponsor a steward for $50 (half day), $100 (full day), $150 (day and ½) $200 (2 days) – you get it.

As you know, we are working to prevent any more invasives from entering our lake.  As it is, Steve Lamere has hand-harvested thousands of milfoil and curly leaf pondweed plants already this summer. Where did these invasives initially come from?  From the NYS Boat launch 4-5 years ago.

So please, do your part today.  Either write a check to the PLA and send it to Box 45, Severance, NY 12872, or go to the website ( and pay by PayPal.

Yes, I will sponsor a lake steward for:

___ $50 (1/2 day)    ___ $100 (full day)   ___ $150 (day and ½)   ___ $200 (2 days)  _____  more


Name ____________________________________________________

                                                 Thanks so much!!


On Site Instructions for Volunteer Lake Stewards

The site at the State Campground includes a gazebo, table, “Lake Steward On Duty” yellow a-frame sign, and a lockable deck box.  Place the sign in front of the gazebo toward the Park entrance where it is plainly visible when people turn into the road to the boat launch.  A second yellow sign “boat wash” has been placed farther down the road toward the boat launch and on the right side.

The deck box includes everything that you will need during your shift as a lake steward:  two folding chairs, a tennis racket type bug zapper, a clipboard with data collection sheets attached (the last sheet is an example of how to fill out the form), an eight page instruction sheet that explains how to interact with the public, a clear folder containing maps of the area, etc.  The box may also include samples of Curly-leaf Pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil preserved in an alcohol solution and placed in glass jars.

Also included in the box are items that can be distributed to the public: a PLA brochure with a map of the lake and information on milfoil and where to look for invasives on your boat, a “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” flyer, 2 ½” by 3 ½” cards that picture Eurasian watermilfoil, Zebra Mussels and Curly-leaf Pondweed with information on the reverse side, and PLA logo stickers.  If a boat comes through and the owners live on Paradox or they will be returning to Paradox, give them a PLA logo sticker.  Ask them to display it on the trailer on the section closest to the vehicle and on the passenger side.  This sticker lets the stewards know that the boat owners already know about invasives in Paradox and they will not need to listen to your presentation again.

The combination to the lock on the deck box is 5050.  Make sure that the numbers line up with the indentation that says “Master”.  If you finish your shift and no one is there to relieve you, place everything back in the box and lock the box.  Please remember that a number of people (42 in 2011) will be working out of the deck box and take care when you replace the contents.  The lock also allows you to stash valuables in the box should you need to be away from the site.   At times the box is used as a drop to give new stewards a yellow t-shirt and you may find a bag with a PLA member’s name on it.  The box will also keep all of our “stuff” dry.

If you are the first on duty for the day, walk down to the launch and check out the trailers that are parked.  They may have arrived the night before or in the early morning hours when no steward has talked with the owners.  Look carefully for weeds, zebra mussels and seed pods (especially on the bunks/carpet) and remove them. 

When a boat comes into the launch area, walk outside the gazebo and approach the driver with a smile.  Tell them who you are and what our goal is.  Ask if you and the owner can inspect the boat together.  Ask them the appropriate questions that will reflect the information needed to fill out the survey form.  Make sure that you ask what body of water they have been in last.  Ask if they would like a map of the lake and hand them one of the PLA brochures.  If they would like to join the PLA, provide them an application form.

Inform them that they may see orange buoys around the lake.  Ask them not move them or remove them.  They signify that invasive species are present and are waiting to be harvested.

Steward Survey Form:  Each new person that works a shift should fill out a new sheet.  There is a lot of data collection that takes place, and it is important to know which shifts are covered.  Even if a steward sees no boats, there should be a sheet with his/her name and a comment that no boats were seen.  

If there is an emergency or if you need to use the telelphone, please ask the campground personnel who are in the kiosk, garage or caretaker’s cottage.  Cell phone coverage is spotty at best.  Rest rooms can be located by referring to the campground map, which can be found in the deck box or by requesting one at the kiosk.  If you leave the site, be sure to lock your possessions in the deck box.


Lake Steward Signup Calendar

Here is a Link to our Lake Steward Calendar.  Please select a day and time to volunteer at the boat launch.  If you have problems signing up, call Blanche at 518  585-6343 or email


Volunteer Lake Steward What to Say and What to Do

Reproduced from training material provided by Paul Smith's College 6/30/2010



Training Videos for Identifying Invasives

Scout Program(part1)

Scout Program(part2)


Instructions for Making Invasives Marker Buoys


  • Small beverage bottles
  • Black magic marker
  • Rust-Oleum bright orange spray can
  • Nylon string
  • Tape – vinyl electrical will work
  • Gravel/sand/water
  • Rubber bands


1)     Make sure that the outside of the bottle is dry and then write with a permanent magic marker:  Invasive plants   Do not remove

2)    Spray the inside with Rust-Oleum Fluorescent Bright Orange.

3)    Tighten the cap. Then tie string around the cap a few times.

4)    Stretch the tape around the string to hold it in place.

5)    Cut the string 10-12 feet long.

6)    Fill a second bottle with gravel, sand and water.  This is the anchor bottle.

7)    Tighten the cap and tie the other end of the string around the cap a few times. 

8)    Stretch the tape around the string to hold it in place.

9)    Wrap the string around the anchor bottle. 

10)  Rubber band the pair together.


News & Events 1/9/2014

DEC Proposed Regulation

Today the NYSDEC posted online for public comment its proposed regulations to help stop the transport of Aquatic Invasive Species


Read More Read ALL

Local News 4/16/2014

Weather throws a curve

Apparently the intense curve of the jet stream can predict the variability of an entire season and it is part of a 4,000 year pattern. Last winter's curvy jet stream in North America resulted in mild western temperatures and harsher cold temperatures...

Read More