Early Detection / Rapid Response (EDRR) is a key component of invasive species management, as EDRR allows us to eradicate new infestations before they become established. Our EDRR team was established in September 2010 as a landscape level aquatic invasive species EDRR team. The EDRR team works primarily within the Great Lakes portion of the Adirondack Park, with funding provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. A priority waters list is developed each year through collaborative input from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP). We perform EDRR using two teams, an Early Detection (ED) team who surveys lakes and a Rapid Response (RR) team who performs eradication.
Our ED team performs whole lake aquatic plant surveys using a combination of visual surveys and rake tossing. The team surveys the entire littoral zone of each lake in a serpentine search pattern and uses GPS to map the location, species composition, and species abundance of all aquatic plant beds. Visual surveys are supplemented by periodic rake tossing. All field data are entered into ArcGIS to create aquatic plant maps for each lake.
Our RR team uses hand-harvesting to remove aquatic plants with a four person crew consisting of three divers and a top water support person. The divers, supplied with breathing air by a floating hookah rig, remove the entire aboveground portion of the plants and as much root material as possible and then place the plants in mesh bags that are handed off to a top water support person when full. The top water support person also collects plant fragments floating on the surface and warns boaters away from the dive area.