New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook
Coastal Community Development Program / Aquatic Invasive Species - News
Coastal Community Development Program - News

Start a New Program, Standardize Training to Manage Aquatic Invasive Species

The New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook is the standardized model for starting new community or agency-based watercraft inspection programs. New York Sea Grant Extension developed for the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Programs for use statewide.

This 81-page, illustrated handbook includes a Watercraft Inspection Steward Training and Field Guide that receives high praise from Steward Program manager Louie ‘Bo’ Freeman, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County:

“The field guide is organized with readily accessible information that is pertinent to the clientele on Conesus Lake, and the comprehensive data collected will be a phenomenal resource.”

Cornell University Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Programs Coordinator Chuck O’Neill, director of the New York State Invasive Species Clearinghouse, says:
    “Recreational boating is a known vector by which AIS hitchhike into new waters. The introduction of new populations of invaders is changing the ecology of lakes across New York State. This new steward program development handbook is an important tool for use in fighting the running battle with aquatic invasive species.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Invasive Species Coordination Unit Coordinator David J. Adams comments:
    “Aquatic invasive species/AIS are a form of non-native, invasive biological pollution that are severely damaging New York’s natural resources. Movement of AIS between waters harms our environment and economy. This new resource, the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook, will encourage and support local stewardship of the waters of the State and help mitigate the impact of invasive species.”
New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook author Mary E. Penney, a NYSG Coastal Community Development Specialist, notes the collaborative effort that built the handbook:
    “This handbook represents a cooperative effort built on the experience and expertise of the program leaders of existing waterfront stewardship programs in New York and others with invasive species expertise. Each collaborator was crucial in developing content on standardized watercraft inspection protocol, AIS identification and distribution, regulations, how to plan a new program, steward field training, and other aspects of starting a proper watercraft inspection program.”

Click here (pdf) to download entire New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook OR click on the separate sections below to download individually.

Table of Contents
  • Introduction and Acknowledgements (pdf)

  • Section 1: What is Watercraft Inspection? (pdf)

  • Section 2: Aquatic Invasive Species: Why Should We Care? (pdf)

  • Section 3: What Do I Need to Know About AIS? (pdf)

  • Section 4: AIS Activities Coordination in New York State (pdf)

  • Section 5: Getting Started: A Guide for Organizations Starting Watercraft Inspection Programs (pdf)

  • Section 6: Watercraft Inspection Steward Training & Field Guide (pdf)

  • Section 7: AIS Resources & References (pdf)

  • Section 8: Appendices (pdf)

  • Section 9: Art and Photo Credits (pdf)

© Cornell University September 10, 2014
This publication, the Invasive Species Program, and the NY Invasive Species Clearinghouse are supported by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through a contract with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, which, in 2014, merges with the program's e-newsletter, Currents. NY Coastlines is published several times a year.

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