The Ausable River Association (AsRA), with funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, created the river steward program in 2009 to educate river users about the threat of aquatic invasive species. Since then, the work of the river steward has broadened to include terrestrial invasive species that also affect the Ausable River and its lakes. The river steward is an information resource to river users and the general public, educating and creating awareness, helping people to identify infestations when they happen and to mitigate their spread.
The river steward:
- educates river users on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species;
- attends local events to educate the public on river ecology and indicators of water quality;
- monitors the river and watershed for new invasive species infestations, both terrestrial and aquatic;
- maintains wader wash stations throughout the watershed during fishing season.
The river steward spreads the Check-Clean-Dry message to encourage anglers to remove "invasive hitchhikers" from their gear (see the PDF at left, "Clean Gear, Clear Water"). The steward is often on the river sharing this message with anglers. She also travels to local fly shops, visitors' bureaus and farmers' markets, providing general information about the river and watershed. The river steward serves as a liaison between AsRA and lake associations within the watershed. The river steward works closely with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program sharing their tested techniques for identifying and managing invasive species with lake association members and the public.
If you have any questions about invasive species or would like to report sightings, feel free to contact the river steward.