Students join fight against invasive species with Paul Smith’s College Program

PAUL SMITHS – The following students will serve as watershed stewards this summer with the Adirondack Watershed Institute, a Paul Smith’s College-led initiative that protects rivers, lakes and other waterways against invasive species and teaches boaters how to keep an eye out for problems on their own.

-Samantha Durfey, a student at University of Alabama, of Tupper Lake

-Nathan Boyer-Rechlin, a student at Principia College, of Paul Smiths

-Kristel Guimara, a Paul Smith’s College graduate and master’s degree recipient from Green Mountain College, of Saranac Lake

-Christiaan King, a 2011 graduate of Paul Smith’s College, of Vermontville

-Sue O’Reilly, a 2009 graduate of University of New Orleans, of Saranac Lake

-Jaob Sporn, a 2014 graduate of Paul Smith’s College, of Bloomingdale

Invasive plants and animals such as Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels and spiny waterflea pose a growing threat not just to area waterways but also to the economies of Adirondack communities. When invasives take hold in a body of water, they can displace native species and rapidly multiply, making waterways impassible to motorboats and hurting tourism and other industries.

The 35 watershed stewards attended a training session at Paul Smith’s College in May before starting their duties on Memorial Day. While stationed at boat launches across the Adirondacks, the stewards will conduct voluntary inspections of boats entering and leaving the water for invasives. They’ll remove any that they find, and convey the importance of clean boats, clean gear and clean waters to boaters. The program runs through Labor Day.

The AWI is dedicated to protecting waterways and ecosystems across the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park.