8/11/2017 7:28:00 AM AIS Snapshot Day looks for new invasives
Beckie Gaskill/lakeland times
AIS assistant Aubrey Nycz, AIS coordinator Stephanie Boismenue and Kendell Glecke from Trees for Tomorrow inspect a rake full of vegetation from Moens Lake in last weekend’s AIS Snapshot Day.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Snapshot Day started out a few years ago as Bridge AIS Snapshot Day. The idea was to take a close look at bridges over rivers in the county to check for new or undocumented invasive species. Both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species can be carried by boats, trailers, vehicles or other equipment such as ATVs and even kayaks and canoes from place to place. In fact, humans are the main cause of the spread of invasive species.
By checking rivers close to bridges, volunteers would hopefully catch invasive species early, allowing them to be contained before becoming a big problem. This year, with AIS Snapshot Day, many bridge locations were surveyed, as were several lesser-used launch ramps in the county. Volunteer numbers were down this year, as they were across the state, but three groups of volunteers and AIS staff from the Oneida County Land and Water Conservation Department were able to survey several sites throughout the county.
The teams used several techniques to look for invasive species. First, of course, was to simply look around the launch ramp or bridge crossing area. Volunteers visually inspected designated areas to look for both terrestrial (on land) and aquatic (in the water) invasive species. They also used aqua-scopes to see into the water. These scopes are long tubes with clear plastic at the base of them. When pressed into the water, they allow a person to see the bottom much more easily. This is helpful when looking for mussels, snails, rusty crayfish and other critters living on the bottom of the lake.
The crews also used rakes to rake up vegetation. A rake attached to a long rope allowed volunteers to toss the rake far out into the water and pull it back, bringing with it any vegetation which may be growing near the survey area. At each survey area, the rake was thrown out several times from different points and in different directions. This allowed for the best cross-sample of what was growing near the launch ramp or bridge crossing area.
Oneida County AIS coordinator Stephanie Boismenue and her crew found Chinese mystery snails near the launch ramp on Moen's Lake. Boismenue said those invasives were already documented in the lake and were not a new finding. They did also find some native snails as well as some freshwater sponges, which are also a native species. Rusty crayfish, she said, were found by volunteers at another location, but they were already documented in that lake as well.
"We did find some little blue forget-me-nots at the boat landing on Lake Thompson," Boismenue said. "Other than that, we didn't find anything out of the ordinary." Overall, the crew and volunteers were happy to not have found any new problems. AIS Snapshot Day is an annual event and volunteers are always needed. Boismenue looks forward to the day again next year and hopes the results are the same - no new invasives.
Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at bjoki@lakelandtimes.