The outreach mission of AWI is accomplished largely through our Stewardship Program. In addition to inspecting boats and other gear and to removing any foreign materials there from, our stewards educate boaters about invasive species. Through one-on-one to group encounters at launch sites and elsewhere our stewards work to increase boater awareness about the potential harm caused by these organisms and to train boaters on appropriate measures for preventing unintentional spread. The ability of our stewards to potentially change boater behavior through education is a critical aspect of prevention: our stewards interacted with over 120,000 boaters in 2016 alone.
The principle mission of our Stewardship Program is to prevent the introduction of new invasive species into Adirondack waters and to prevent the spread of established invasive species between Adirondack waters. We accomplish this mission through a combination of boat inspection, public education, field monitoring, and service work. Boat inspection and public education are the main activities of our stewards, which both happen on-site at public boat launch sites throughout the region. Our stewardship mission is accomplished through collaborations and with state environmental agencies, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), and local advocacy groups, such as lake property-owner associations and regional environmental organizations. Since 2000, when we began posting stewards at Upper St. Regis Lake and St. Regis Mountain, our program has gradually expanded through the central Adirondacks, building relationships with lake associations, state foresters, forest rangers, fisheries staff, and conservation police as the challenge of AIS becomes an ever greater priority among the science, property owner, and tourism communities of the region.
Our Stewardship Program is supported by a combination of public and private funding sources. If you are interested in establishing an invasive species prevention program for your lake please contact us to discuss options to join our program.