On YouTube: Sea Grant's Launch Stewards and Related Programs Help Prevent Invasive Species' Spread
Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species - Watercraft Inspection - News

New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary Penney will soon announce the names of the college students selected to fill up 2014's Launch Steward Program. Last year's Launch Stewards included, (kneeling in front row, l-r), Brittney Rogers, Sophia Oliveira, Megan Pistolese, (middle row) Heather Dunham; (top row, l-r), Chief Steward Nick Spera, Ryan Thompson, and Clinton A. Whittaker, Jr. Photo: Dave White, NY Sea Grant


Mary Penney, New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist, SUNY Oswego, E: mp357@cornell.edu, P: 315-312-3042

Note: One of NYSG's 2014 impact statements focuses on the program's various aquatic invasive species education efforts (pdf), including the Launch Stewards program. Combined, these activities - which reach diverse audiences to engage public participation in prevention and restoration efforts - have involved more than 335,000 New Yorkers and restored over 335 acres.

Oswego, NY, March 17, 2014 - New York Sea Grant will soon announce the names of the college and graduate students selected to serve as Launch Stewards this summer and fall at waterfront venues spanning seven counties along New York's Lake Ontario shoreline—Cayuga, Jefferson, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Wayne.
The student-stewards will provide watercraft inspection training and public outreach to boaters at select launch ramps along Lake Ontario between Henderson Harbor and Sodus Bay and on Oneida Lake.
Using a standardized protocol, the student-stewards demonstrate and teach boaters the nationally-recognized Clean, Drain, Dry principles of the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers campaign as a part of a simple watercraft inspection that helps minimize and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
“The Launch Stewards along Lake Ontario and on waters elsewhere in New York play a key role in educating the public about how they can help manage aquatic invasive species,” says Steward Program Manager Mary Penney, a Coastal Community Development Specialist with New York Sea Grant, Oswego, NY. “New York Sea Grant is working with other steward program leaders, the Cornell University Invasive Species Program, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop branding that makes the stewards easily identifiable by boaters and to standardize the protocol for safe, quick and simple inspections by stewards and by the boaters themselves after they leave the launch areas.”
The Launch Stewards also participate in educational outreach, collect boater usage and AIS data.

Steward Experience Helps Student Launch Fisheries Research Career: Former New York Sea Grant Waterfront Steward Stacy Furgal, left, is now a Fisheries Technician with the U.S. Geological Survey in Oswego, NY. She is seen with Ted Strang, chief engineer of the USGS Research Vessel Kaho, bottom trawling on Lake Ontario. Photo: USGS

Former New York Sea Grant Launch Steward Stacy Furgal, now a U.S. Geological Survey Fisheries Technician, says the experience she gained as a waterfront steward with New York Sea Grant was invaluable training for working in the environmental field.
“As a New York Sea Grant steward, I was introduced to good data management practices and had the opportunity to build my collaboration and communication skills. I interacted with the public and was responsible for sharing accurate scientific information about the resource areas. I learned hands-on knowledge that I am using in my current invasive fish and zooplankton research job,” Furgal says.

Stewards Enhance NYSG's Existing Invasive Species Education Efforts

As New York Sea Grant's Recreation/Tourism Specialist Dave White told the newscasters at Watertown's WWNY-TV 7 News This Morning studios in late March, "Our Launch Stewards and others are working with folks at boat launch ramps, helping them to go through their boat and look at what they need to be thinking about when they're heading out or returning from being on the water."

White reminds that "All parts of the boat, anything that comes in contact with the water can actually become a vector for transport of invasive species." Also, while this process is voluntary and only takes a few minutes to go through, it is one that can have a lasting impact on our enjoyment of New York's waterways.

The stewards, who are paid college students, are well-versed in the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network-supported "Clean, Drain, Dry" campaign, which is designed to prevent invasive species from moving from one waterway to another.

For more on Sea Grant's invasive species campaign and launch steward program, check out White's discussion in the video clip below. And For additional information on NYSG's Launch Steward Program is located in that section of our "Great Lakes Coastal Community Development resource site, www.nyseagrant.org/ccdstewards.

More Info: NYSG's Connection to WWNY-TV 7 News and its Viewers

Since April 2006, White has been bringing Sea Grant's "message" to the morning masses at WWNY TV 7, a Fox affiliate in downtown Watertown, during one of the highest rated TV blocks in the "wake-up hours," the 6:30-7 am stretch.

Sea Grant's 'five minutes of fame' - which potentially reaches around 10,000 viewers in New York's Jefferson and Northern Oswego Counties - has featured topics over the years such as boating safety, aquatic invasive species, diving in search of sunken wrecks, the dune and Salmon River stewards program, shoreline land issues, tourism, and marine safety.  

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: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines 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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