The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) successfully trained over 30 volunteer lake monitors during this summer’s Aquatic Invasive Plant Identification & Survey Trainings. Three trainings were offered during the month of June in Bolton Landing, Paul Smith’s and Old Forge. Attendees were trained in how to identify and survey for aquatic invasive plants which pose a significant threat to Adirondack lakes and rivers. As luck would have it, every training day was accompanied by blue skies and sunshine.
Each session started very similarly with APIPP’s seasonal educator, Mitchell Jones, welcoming the group to the event and discussing the threat posed by invasive species and APIPP’s role as the Adirondack Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management.
This was followed by presentations by aquatic plant experts. Larry Eichler, Research Scientist with the Darrin Freshwater Institute, Corey Laxson, Research Associate at Paul Smith’s College & Adirondack Watershed Institute/Instructor, and Scott Kishbaugh, Chief of the Division of Water Lake Monitoring and Assessment Section with the NYSDEC provided the plant identification presentations. Each presentation was unique, but conveyed useful aquatic invasive plant identification techniques and other important information such as species specific distribution maps. Following the presentations there was a chance for the participants to touch and handle live plant samples, both native and invasive, to try out their new plant identification skills. Participants were encouraged to pay special attention to samples of Eurasian watermilfoil, water chestnut and numerous other aquatic invasive plants and identify the subtle differences that distinguish them from other native species. A special thanks to Larry for taking the time to collect these live samples.
After a lakeside lunch, attendees returned for the second half of the training session to learn about proper aquatic invasive plant monitoring techniques and how to report their findings. The group was split into two smaller groups to take part in different concurrent activities. Mitchell accompanied the first group to go over APIPP’s volunteer monitoring manual. These manuals provide all the information a volunteer would need to successfully monitor a waterbody. Highlighted during this session were APIPP’s survey guidelines, which provide useful tips on how to perform a successful survey, such as paddling in a zig-zag pattern in water 15ft deep or less. Group members were also taught how to perform a rake toss to survey for aquatic plants and given the chance to practice, but not without first being taught the number one rule about rake tossing… “Make sure you hold the end of the rope!” The second group was able to hit the water with boats and canoes and practice monitoring techniques and in field plant identification. Volunteers left the trainings eager to survey Adirondack waterbodies for aquatic invasive plants. This growing network of APIPP volunteers is critical to protecting Adirondack waters from AIS as infestations found early, when they are still small and isolated, have the best chance of being effectively controlled. Keep an eye out for APIPP volunteers surveying the region’s lakes and ponds this summer between mid-July and late August and do your part to protect Adirondack waters by becoming an aquatic invasive plant monitor.
Aquatic Invasive Plant Identification and Monitoring trainings will be held again next summer for all thos interested. APIPP will also be holding an aquatic invasive animal identification training this summer on August 9th at the Town of Webb DMV in Old Forge, NY. To RSVP to this event, contact Mitchell Jones by email at [email protected] or by phone at (518) 576-2082 ext. 120. For more information on becoming an APIPP volunteer, please check out the “Volunteer” section on our website at http://adkinvasives.com/get-involved/volunteer/.