Gov. Hochul signs Invasive species boat inspection bill into law

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(AP Photo/Mary Esch)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill sponsored by legislators that will require motorized boats to be inspected for invasive plants and other harmful organisms prior to launch in Adirondack waters. The bill passed unanimously resulting in new safeguards for Adirondack Park’s precious lakes and rivers.

Officials say the new law makes permanent the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species Transport Act, which requires boaters to take precautions like cleaning, draining, and drying their watercraft before launching in New York waters. The Legislature has also approved important new education and outreach funding. 

The new Adirondack Park inspection requirement will take effect in 180 days, or May of 2022, as the boating season begins. Under this new law, boaters are to follow established protocols to ensure compliance either through a tamperproof tag issued by inspectors at the state’s network of inspection stations around the park or via a state-designed self-certification.  

“This law doesn’t impose new penalties or create burdensome requirements for boaters,” said Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “It establishes a user-friendly system to verify compliance with the clean, drain, dry requirements already established in law. It supports the existing boat wash and inspection stations to which the public has grown accustomed across the region.”  

Boaters will be required to verify that watercraft has been inspected and/or decontaminated to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Officials say invasive aquatic plants and animals are among the leading causes of biodiversity loss in freshwater ecosystems. Once an invasive species establishes itself in new waters, it is very difficult to manage and eradicate. Some communities have spent millions of dollars combatting invasive species.  

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