Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers: New Launch Steward Program
Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species - Watercraft Inspection - News
By New York Sea Grant Launch Steward Matt Brincka

New York Sea Grant 2012 Launch Stewards Program

Contact: Mary Penney, NY Sea Grant, E:, P:315-312-3042

Attention boaters! Do you want to keep public water bodies clean of invasive species so you can have a pleasant boating experience? Did you know that if you conduct a quick inspection of your boat after each use and properly remove any invasive species you are helping maintain New York’s waterways for current and future generations to come?

Over the summer, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Extension is participating in a statewide project that will place Launch Stewards at public boat launches. Locally, the Stewards will be at launch sites on the eastern Lake Ontario shore, at Salmon River Reservoir – commonly know as Redfield Reservoir – and along Oneida Lake.

The Launch Stewards will provide step-by-step instructions and demonstrations on ways you can effectively inspect your boat and dispose of invasive species.

These demonstrations and invasive species checks are free and voluntary for boaters wishing to learn more about invasive species and ways they can help protect the local waterways.

Many invasive species, such as Water Thyme (Hydrilla verticillata), out-compete native species, damage the environment, decrease the size of sportfish, and displace waterfowl.

“Taking measures to prevent the spread of Hydrilla, and other invasive species, is a priority in New York where the popularity of boating creates the opportunity for spread over land and water,” says invasive species specialist Charles “Chuck” O’Neill with Cornell University Cooperative Extension.

The NYSG Launch Steward program aims to increase awareness about environmentally significant issues by providing a site-based presence and targeted educational programming. When you see a red-shirted NYSG Launch Steward at a boat launch near you, please introduce yourself and ask any questions you may have about the new program.

Download New York Sea Grant’s “Not Wanted: Hydrilla” Fact Sheet (pdf) . Information on invasive species in New York can be found online at

Stewards will also be providing periodic educational lectures and events for the public. Look for announcements in the near future.

For more information on the local launch steward program, please contact NYSG at 315-312-3042,  

Waterfront stewards are also at work farther west along Lake Ontario at Sodus Bay and Port Bay, along Lake George and in the Finger Lakes, Adirondack, and Catskills regions of New York State.

Happy boating!

This is the first is a series of articles by the New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards. The stewards are college students helping to educate water users and shoreline property owners about how they can help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species. The Launch Stewards located along Oneida Lake, the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, and at Salmon River Reservoir are part of a statewide project. Learn more online at

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