Coming to a Hudson River boat launch near you…

Samantha Epstein with the 2016 watercraft inspection stewards

 BEACON, NY– Hudson River Sloop Clearwater started an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program in April 2015, with the goal to educate the public about aquatic invasive species and get citizens involved in invasive species surveying and ‘spread prevention.’ The driving force behind the AIS Program is Clearwater’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Program, which will be kicking off again on Friday, May 27th.

Clearwater Stewards will be positioned at Norrie Point (Staatsburg), Newburgh and Haverstraw boat launches along the Hudson River, where they will teach recreational boaters about AIS identification, impacts, and spread prevention through clean boating practices. Stewards will also provide voluntary boat inspections to remove any invasive species from boats. One of the most common ways that invasive species spread is as aquatic hitchhikers on boats.

“Invasive species can have serious ecological and economic impacts.  This program helps raise awareness of the threats invasive species pose to the Hudson and other water bodies while helping prevent their spread,” said Dave Conover, Interim Executive Director at Clearwater.

The AIS Program offers numerous types of educational opportunities that allow citizens to help in the fight against their spread. Through seminars, workshops, and trainings, Clearwater is empowering more citizens to be on the lookout for new infestations and help prevent established infestations from spreading.

“The Hudson River already has over 120 aquatic invasive and non-native species. This program is helping keep new species from entering and preventing already established species from spreading to our inland water bodies,” said Samantha Epstein, Clearwater’s Invasive Species Coordinator.

The AIS Program is funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) through the Environmental Protection Fund. Stewards will conduct boat inspections until Labor Day.

During the sailing season Clearwater serves the Hudson River with unique education programs where the focus is experiential. Students come aboard and learn about Hudson River ecology, history and navigation.