This season marks an exciting first for WNY PRISM with the introduction of our first, fully developed Watercraft Inspection Program! Last week we trained 20 Boat Stewards and Lead Stewards, a tenfold increase from our two Boat Stewards last year. Throughout the summer, they will perform voluntary watercraft inspections to remove visible aquatic plants and animals from all types of watercraft. This helps prevent the transport and spread of aquatic invasive species both into and out of western New York.
All the work that goes into organizing a Watercraft Inspection Program has already begun to pay off. This past Memorial Day Weekend, our stewards conducted 1,270 inspections across 23 boat launch sites and interacted with over 3,000 people. In addition to interacting with boaters, our Boat Stewards also found invasive species, including curly leaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil, on boats during 65 inspections. Each one of these interceptions stopped a potential new infestation and demonstrates the impact our Boat Stewards can have in protecting our local waters. If you see one of our Boat Stewards at a launch this summer, stop by their table and say hello – they’d love to meet you!