Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention
With more than 80 marinas and 40 public boat landings on Lake Champlain and Lake George, located in the southern part of the watershed, aquatic invasive species (AIS) and their impact on biodiversity is a notable concern. Lake Champlain has 51 known AIS. The latest arrival, the fishhook water flea (Cercopagis pengoi), was identified by LCSG staff at the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh in September 2018.
Lake Champlain’s beauty and fisheries draw boaters and anglers from across North America. Boating and angling represent known pathways for the introduction and spread of numerous aquatic invasive species. Lake Champlain’s most infamous AIS, the zebra mussel, likely arrived in this fashion.
Lake Champlain is also connected via the Champlain Canal to the Hudson River and lies within southern Quebec, both of which increase risk of introduction of AIS. This threatens the sustainability of native fisheries and associated economic benefits. Lake warming due to climate change is likely to increase the risk of invasion and may favor non-native species that are already present.
Since 2009, LCSG staff have visited numerous fishing tournament registration or weigh-in sites in Plattsburgh and Ticonderoga to conduct AIS spread prevention outreach. Each year hundreds of bass tournament anglers at the club, state, regional, or national level bring their boats to Lake Champlain to compete for recognition and cash prizes. Over 3,000 competitive anglers have received information about AIS threats, including those currently posing challenges to the lake’s ecosystem as well as those yet to become established in the Lake Champlain basin.