Potsdam woman working to stem spread of invasive species in Adirondacks this summer
Friday, July 4, 2014 - 6:07 pm

Kathleen Pearson of Potsdam is helping guard the Adirondack Park against the spread of invasive species this summer.

Pearson, a SUNY Potsdam student, is a steward for the Adirondack Watershed Institute. That Paul Smith's College-led initiative protects rivers, lakes and other waterways against invasives and teaches boaters how to keep an eye out for problems.

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.

Pearson and the 34 other 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.