Plan discussed to help with invasive species

With a new year just getting started last month, we sportsmen have a lot to look forward to. Some of it is good, some of it not so good.

There is a pristine lake located in the Adirondacks called Lake George that may make an impact on fishermen and boaters. There is a proposed plan to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in this particular lake, which is noted for its recreational value including fishing, boating, swimming and of course a source for drinking water.

Currently the lake has five confirmed AIS specimen: Asian Clam, Curly Leaf Pondweed, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Zebra Mussels and the Spiny Water Flea.

The property owners around Lake George and the Lake George Park Commission want to keep it at just five and eliminate those if they can.

They have six proposals, which range from doing nothing, to proposal No. 4: mandatory decontamination and inspections before launching .

To achieve this inspection/decontamination process, the Lake George Commission would require 24-hour surveillance at some boat launches. As you can imagine there will be some inconvenience for fishermen and boaters and the cost of that manpower would probably have to be passed on to them also.

Then you have to ask yourself, is Lake George better than Chautauqua lake, Cassadaga Lake or Silver Lake? Should this kind of mandatory prevention be initiated around the state?

According to an article that appeared in the February issue of “Grass Roots,” which is a publication generated by the Conservation Council, the author Tom Marks commented that so far there are 185 AIS identified in our Great Lakes and more identified every year.

It is pretty much agreed that a vast majority of the AIS arrived in the Great Lakes through ballast water released into our ecosystem, but since then the spread inland has been from a number of sources including releasing pet aquatic life, dumping the remains of bait buckets, transportation of AIS in unwashed bilge and live wells, and carrying attached aquatic vegetation on hulls or boat trailers.

There is an old saying that goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and it still applies today. Mark’s article revealed that the national cost to combat the affects of invasive species is estimated at $120 billion per year. So we as fishermen will have to ask ourselves, “Do we police our own ranks or do we want appointed inspections, as well as mandatory decontamination?”

How many times have you heard fellow anglers explain that they still dip their own minnows from Lake Erie and transport them elsewhere because it is too expensive? Some of these proposals could have a huge impact on our fishing/boating related tourism with ramifications to local economies as well.

Like Tom Marks stated in his closing comments, “Fishermen are the key to getting it right… It is now our responsibility to protect the ecosystems our lakes and rivers occupy.”

Calendar:

The “Con Club ” annual Chicken Barbecue fundraiser for the “Take-A-Kid-Fishing program will be on Sunday, Feb. 23.

The Northern Chautauqua Chapter of Ducks Unlimited annual banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 15 at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West. Pre-sale tickets are $45 or $70 per couple. This event will feature a live and silent auction as well as other raffles throughout the evening. Early Bird entries by March 7 will enter automatically in a raffle for a limited edition piece of DU artwork. For more information, including tickets, email to sdzentz@netsync.net or call Steve at 410-4848, Chris McKelvey at 672-2498, Scott Sinare at 410- 9531, Darrin Katta at 785-0713 or Will Mead at 785- 3741.

The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will meet Monday evenings at 6 p.m., weather permitting. The event is open to the public free of charge.

Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 4:30 p.m., on March 9 and April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling 315-868-6275. Note: The fur must be put up and dried. No green pelts will be accepted. First auction dates are Feb. 17-23.

Fur Harvesters Auction pick-ups will be at the old Tops Market parking lot off I -90. Take exit 59. Time of the pickup is 6-6:30 a.m. Pick-up dates will be, March 23. The agent is Toby Edwards. He can be contacted by calling his cellphone at 518-848-0217. Only dried pelts will be accepted. The first auction date is Jan. 7, while the second dates are March 13 and March 14.

If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.

A recent email announced the Harrisburg Pa. Sportsman’s Show is back with the backing of the National Rifle Association. The Harrisburg show schedule is Feb. 1-10 with Country Western star Trace Adkins performing Feb. 8.

Gun Shows: The Sportsman’s Show at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel, which is located off I-86 at Exit 20, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd., Salamanca, will be Feb. 22-23. Call 569-6810 or log on to www.yorkpennshows.com.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.