Lake Steward Program
October 1, 2014
Paradox Lake Steward Program -2014
This is the fifth year of our Lake Steward Program. In 2104, we relied on three paid local students and volunteers to work at the boat launch. Work began on Memorial Day weekend and ended on Labor Day. Hiring three stewards allowed for some flexibility for both personal and family commitments. This year our paid stewards were employees of the Town of Schroon with payroll and insurance handled through their office. The PLA received $2500 from the Town of Schroon to support our program.
Paid Lake Stewards:
Our stewards Tanner Stone, Holly Bruce, and Abigail Veverka, began work on 5/23.
Holly and Tanner at the boat launch. A picture of Abi was not available.
From 6/7 to 6/22 the stewards provided coverage on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 am to 6 pm. Beginning 6/27 they covered 6 am to 6 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 6 am to noon on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Coverage on Wednesday (a low boat traffic day) was provided by volunteers from 6 am to 10 am.
The PLA sent one available steward, Holly and three adults to training on 5/3 in Horicon provided by Paul Smith’s College. Eric Holmlund, Director of the Watershed Stewardship Program, did an excellent job explaining the threat of invasives, how to perform inspections, and how to interact with boaters. Tanner, a returning steward, was updated with current information in a meeting with Blanche and Dave Beck. Our third steward, Abi, who was new to the program, was trained by Peter and Carolyn Pelone. Abi also received support from the Pelone’s during her first shift at the boat launch.
- 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 the stewards to secure possessions. A yellow a-frame sign announced “LAKE STEWARD ON DUTY”. An additional sign directing traffic to the boat wash was supplied. PLA logo stickers 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 continued with the use of a notice that was placed on trucks/cars with trailers already at the launch when the stewards arrived at 6:00 am if an inspection found invasive plants.
- We were able to continue to use the canary yellow lake steward t-shirts that Scott Ralls provided four years ago as well as additional shirts purchased by the PLA. Baseball caps with our PLA logo completed the “uniform”.
In order to stay within budget constraints, it was decided that Wednesdays, with a history of low boat traffic, would not be covered by the paid stewards. There were also gaps in the schedule when none of the three paid stewards were available. Attempts were made to fill those slots with volunteers. Vacancies were posted via the yahoo group and on the paradoxlake.mylaketown.com website. Some shifts were filled; however, there were occasional cancellations at the last moment and some shifts remained open.
Even though our paradoxlake.mylaketown.com web site lake steward calendar sign up process did not result in any volunteer scheduling, 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.
- All volunteers were returnees and were able to use the yellow t-shirts that had been previously provided.
- A total of 8 volunteers (down from 9 last year) helped with the steward program to staff the boat launch and/or train the paid stewards. They put in a total of 90 hours (up from 26 hours last year). It should be noted that some volunteers worked as a team and each individual was given credit for time spent. Filling this post were Richard and Jeanette Barth, Carolyn and Peter Pelone, Tom and Terri Adams, Emery Dergosits, and Gretchen Sunderland.
The data collection sheet was revised for 2014 to make the information more meaningful. We included a reminder to emphasize the significance of the orange buoy that is used to mark invasive plants in the lake. Stewards were asked to record state license plate numbers for the vehicles that were towing incoming and or outgoing boats. They also noted the state and license plate numbers for boats/trailers that were present at the launch when the steward arrived at 6 am and then tracked them when they left the launch to help prevent double counting. Plate numbers would also be helpful if enforcement of invasive regulations became necessary. We also asked if PLA or SAH (Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers) stickers were present on the boat/trailer.
Data recorded by paid and volunteer stewards is summarized as follows:
- Inspection hours totaled 692 (602 paid and 90 volunteer).
- 827 boats were launched and/or retrieved: 62% motorized, 13% trailers, 10% kayaks, 7% canoes, 2% PWCs, 1% sailboats, and 5% other/UNK.
- Boat owner car registrations: 80% NY, 6% NJ, 4% CT, 2.5% VT, 1.6% PA, 0.6% MA, 0.3% NH and 5% other/UNK.
- Boat traffic averaged 11 per day with a high quantity of 34 on Sunday July 6th to as low as 1 boat on 6 inspection days.
- Saturday and Sunday had the largest quantity of boats.
- Most boats, 30%, were recorded between 9 am and noon.
- 16 boaters were not aware of the invasive threat: 2.6% of boaters responding to the question, a considerable drop from 60 boats in 2013.
- 7% of boaters had a PLA sticker, 0.5% had a SAH sticker attached to their boat trailers.
- Listed in descending order of frequency, in the last two weeks boaters used: Paradox, Schroon Lake, Lake Champlain, Brant Lake, the Hudson River, Loon Lake, Lake George, Saratoga Lake, Putnam Pond, the Schroon River, Eagle Lake, Saranac Lake, the Mohawk River, Sacandaga Lake, Taylor Pond, Long Lake, Ballston Lake, Indian Lake, Glen Lake, Round Lake, Thompson’s Lake, and miscellaneous lakes in New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
- Stewards were able to inspect 85% of the boats (some had already been launched, some did not stop for inspection). Only 31% of the boaters were observed to use the boat wash (many were dry and being launched for the first time in the season). Only 11% of boaters agreed to drain bilges and/or live wells when asked.
- Of particular significance were:
- 157 boats and/or trailers (19%) at the launch before the stewards arrived at 6 am.
- 5 boats with invasives; 0.6% of boats recorded. Eurasian Water Milfoil, Variable Leaf Milfoil and Zebra Mussels were identified.
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 supportive and distributed our brochure to campers as well as those coming in for day use. It was nice to see that some 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. Internet access to the campground will be provided by SLIC, however installation has been delayed and it is hoped that the camp “hot spot” will be up and running for the 2015 season.
As in the previous year, there was traffic coming from the Schroon Lake Marina when either seasonal renters took advantage of the possibility of renting a boat during their stay or lake residents had their boats delivered for the season. 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 support the need to stop boats for inspection.
The document “Volunteer Lake Steward: “What to say and What to do” continued to be available at the boat launch for the stewards and on the paradoxlake.mylaketown.com website for review before arrival on site. A “Sponsor a Lake Steward” donation form was also available for residents who are unable to volunteer time as a lake steward.
Observations on the 2014 Season:
We decreased the paid steward coverage and anticipated that volunteers would take up the slack. In reality the number of volunteers decreased by one and there were several inspection periods when coverage was not provided.
There continues to be contact between the Steward Managers from Schroon Lake and Paradox Lake. We can now exchange information including announcements of upcoming fishing tournaments and assure that the boat launches are adequately staffed at an early hour. We did discover however, that a small group of tournament boats did visit Paradox unannounced when multiple boats had been launched before the steward arrived at 6 am.
Of significance this year was our effort to adapt to the rules and regulations regarding launching a boat with any invasive species visible to the human eye.
- In previous years we were inspecting boats/trailers, removing plant material, directing boaters to wash/drain their boats, alerting them via a notice that there was plant material and suspected invasives on a trailer left at the launch, and asking them to wash their boats as they exited the site. This year as we removed suspected material, it was placed in a plastic bag, and labeled with date, time, and license plate number.
- We learned that the Town of Schroon had a law passed in 2012 stating that it is “…unlawful for any person to launch or attempt to launch a watercraft …with any aquatic invasive species, plant or animal or parts thereof, visible to the human eye or attached to any part of the watercraft, motor, and trailer....” We found ourselves now in the process of being even more vigilant. “This local law can be enforced by the Essex County… Sheriff Department, the DEC, or other enforcement officers having jurisdiction in the same manner as a traffic violation.”
- During the summer, the state legislature was busy passing legislation that would deal with the transportation of invasive species. The bill passed both houses and on 9/2/14 Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law. We are eagerly waiting to see how the DEC will enforce the law.
- On 9/1/14, a steward discovered Eurasian Water Milfoil and Zebra Mussels on a trailer already parked at the launch at 6 am. The matter was turned over to a Department of Environmental Conservation Officer.
- Lake George (at 6 launch sites) and Loon Lake instituted an “inspected and sealed” process during the 2014 season. Trailered boats were inspected and once they were deemed clean enough to launch, they were also sealed with a boat inspection tag. The small colored rectangular box was secured with wire through the bow ring of the boat and then through a location on the trailer. It would need to be cut off at the next point of launch. One boat came to Paradox with a Lake George tag and another with a Loon Lake tag. The latter was the result of one of stewards, with support from Gretchen Sunderland, not allowing an unwashed boat from Lake Champlain to enter Paradox. The owners drove all the way to Loon Lake to have the boat hot-water washed.
The Lake Steward Program would not have functioned this summer if it were not for the dedication of a community of individuals who participated continuously to guarantee that it ran without a hitch. Marcia Hartnett participated in interviews, coordinated steward training, and provided support throughout the summer. Tom and Terri Adams delivered time sheets to city hall and checked in with the stewards in our absence. Peter and Carolyn Pelone interviewed and trained our third steward and made sure that she was comfortable during her first shift. Emery Dergosits checked in on a steward in the early hours and when he found that the post was empty, he simply stayed and became the steward. He also provided samples of invasives that were on display at the launch. Volunteer stewards Richard and Jeanette Barth have been dedicated to this program since its start in 2010. At our first meeting on 5/24/14, they volunteered to cover Wednesday mornings when the stewards were not scheduled. Gretchen Sunderland picked up the ball when invasives were found and carried the task straight through to the DEC. While I continue to “manage the stewards”, Dave deciphers the data sheets and creates the summaries to provide the information contained in the first part of this report. The results will be shared with Eric Holmlund, at Paul Smith’s who uses the data to track the spread of invasives throughout the Adirondacks.
Looking ahead to 2015:
- The Membership Committee, which has been formed to increase dues paying members, plans to include information about PLA activities in membership packets that will go a long way to educating more lake owners about invasives.
- We will continue efforts to establish a dialogue between the PLA and the Bass Fishing organization and its tournament officials.
- A new gazebo to shelter the stewards was approved for purchase at the PLA meeting on 8/30/14. Susan Brown, PLA grant writer, is currently investigating the possibility of the cost being covered by a charitable gift program.
- A hot water washing station is currently being investigated.
- We will need to follow the progress of the impact of the new invasive laws and how they will be implemented and enforced. Key to our efforts will be the DEC instructions given to the campground staff for participating in the effort and directives for who to call when we find invasives on incoming boats in order to enforce the law.
- The Lake Steward Program continues to evolve as we meet the changes and challenges of the lake against the backdrop of new laws and regulations. As a lake owners association we must find the resources to meet those challenges. I continue to believe that it will take many of us, each contributing a small part, to make this task doable.
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.
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.
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 (www.paradoxlake.mylaketown.com) 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
- 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.
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