Finger Lakes Region Aquatic Invertebrate Assessment and Invasive Species Prevention Project:
The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (FLI) was awarded funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to coordinate and manage the Finger Lakes Region Aquatic Invertebrate Assessment and Invasive Species Prevention Project in partnership with Cayuga County beginning in May 2012. Project funding was awarded for continuation of the project in 2013. The project determines which invasive invertebrates and zooplankton are present in the Seneca River Basin and provides education and outreach to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) among the Finger Lakes as well as the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Specific species of concern were Hydrilla, Asian clam, Chinese mystery snail, bloody red shrimp, zebra mussels, and quagga mussels.
Finger Lakes Institute Watercraft Steward Program:
The FLI Watercraft Steward Program stations stewards at boat launches throughout the Finger Lakes region and southern Lake Ontario bays. The goal of the Finger Lakes Institute Watercraft Steward Program is to provide education based on best practices for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. The stewards will be present at multiple NYS Parks and NYSDEC boat launches, among others.
Boaters are encouraged to interact with the Stewards to learn more about the harmful impacts of aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their introduction and further spread. Boaters may be invited to complete a voluntary survey regarding their boating practices and knowledge of invasive species as well as participate in a boat inspection by the Steward. The inspections will be conducted to ensure boats and recreational equipment are clean of material that could lead to the potential transport of aquatic plants, invertebrates, and other organisms.
Through the FLI Watercraft Steward Program, boaters are encouraged to learn how to identify threatening invasive species and actively participate in the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” campaign, which calls upon anglers, boaters, paddlers, SCUBA divers, waterfowl hunters and others to become informed about aquatic nuisance species and to follow simple preventative procedures every time they leave any body of water.
AIS Watercraft Steward Project Manager:
Sam Beck-Andersen is the full-time manager of the FLI’s Watercraft Steward Program. In addition to the full-time management of the stewards, Sam also provides training and assistance to lake associations and other groups that wish to initiate and conduct watercraft steward programs on their own. Sam’s first position at the FLI was as the seasonal AIS Watercraft Steward Coordinator where he directly worked with 15 watercraft stewards throughout the 2016 boating season. Watercraft stewards provide outreach and education about invasive species and collect data on the use of various boat launches across the Finger Lakes.
Sam graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, NY in 2014 with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management with a focus on Recreation Management. Sam returned to SUNY ESF in 2015 and graduated in 2016 with an M.P.S. in Economics, Governance, and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management. With a focus on human dimensions and management, as well as an appreciation for the Finger Lakes that goes back to his infancy, Sam is right at home working with our team of boat stewards to protect our waterways from the threat of aquatic invasive species.