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SUNY Plattsburgh Gets the Word out on Invasive Species

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The Lake Champlain Sea Grant at SUNY Plattsburgh and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) have released a radio public service announcement (PSA) regarding the spread of aquatic invasive species.  Completed in partnership with the Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors professional bass anglers' tournament organization, the 60-second message is aimed at boaters and anglers planning to visit Lake Champlain.

Recorded by Keith Lebowitz, host of "FLW Outdoors" on the Fox Sports Network, the message reminds boaters about steps they need to take to avoid transporting invasive species such as alewives or round goby from one water body to the next.  The PSA is an informative message about the threat to Lake Champlain posed by anglers/boaters who might be inadvertently transporting aquatic invasive species.  The announcement was developed and recorded in March 2007 to coincide with the beginning of the boating season on Lake Champlain. Plattsburgh and other Lake communities promote many professional bass tournaments on Lake Champlain.  There are over thirty tournaments planned on the New York side of the Lake alone this summer that will bring millions of dollars to our region.

The idea to involve pro bass fisherman in an outreach message began during discussions at a New York Citizens Advisory Committee meeting this past winter.  Since then, the LCBP Aquatic Nuisance Species Subcommittee has taken the lead in developing the public service announcement. Committee members include faculty at SUNY and UVM, staff from LCBP, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, NYSDEC, VTDEC, USFWS, and others.  The City of Plattsburgh, which hosts several FLW tournaments a year, has also been a key player.

LCBP and Lake Champlain Sea Grant encourage the fishing tournament organization to "get the word out" regarding the threats posed by boats and equipment coming from all over the U.S. The professional bass angling circuit provides an ideal vehicle for delivery of the spread prevention message to the general angling and boating public. The PSA describes preventive measures that boat owners/anglers can take to reduce invasive species introduction and spread. Aquatic invasive species have reached Lake Champlain through a variety of pathways, including boating, gardening, baitfish release, canal traffic, fish farms and releases from aquaria.  While regulations address some of these sources, education and stakeholder stewardship are essential to keep new invasive species from reaching the lake and its tributaries. 

Lake Champlain is currently home to 48 known aquatic invasive species.  These invasive species pose a significant threat to natural, cultural and economic resources throughout the Champlain basin and the northeastern states. Aquatic invasive species that become established in the Basin pose serious threats to indigenous fish and wildlife and can impede recreational activities. Once invasive species become established, the likelihood for eradication quickly diminishes and management costs rise. 

For further information, contact Meg Modley, Lake Champlain Basin Program at (802) 372-3213 or Mark Malchoff, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, at 518-564-3037.  You can download the MP3 Invasive Species PSA from www.lcbp.org/nuissum.htm.


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