A note from Andrea Dutcher, the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Lakeshore Monitoring Coordinator for the Lake Belle Taine Association (LBTA):


One of my tasks is to help educate LBT users about AIS and what we can do for our lake. 


1) AIS – What’s the big deal?  Why should I care?? 

  1. AIS plants tend to be more aggressive, hardy and resistant to pesticides than native plants.  As AIS crowd out natives, they can create deep, thick mats making it difficult to boat, swim or fish in these areas.  (There goes our good bass and crappie fishing.)  It is either very labor intensive or very expensive to eradicate AIS plants.  AIS zebra mussels cling by the millions to any hard surface in shallow water.  They will clog your boat motor water intake area and clog your shoreline and beach well pumps.  Their razor-sharp edges will cut your feet if you wade in areas infested by them.  They disrupt the aquatic food chain which will also affect the fishing on LBT. 


2) What Can We All Do to Help?

  • Only launch your boat from the public landing where trained, certified DNR inspectors are on duty.  They are only there to help us protect our lake!!!!

  • Ask your guests who are bringing their boats where they last had their boat.  If it was in infested water, have them go to a DNR decontamination site before launching their boat in our lake.  Why take a chance on someone else’s boat infesting our waters??!!

  • ANY item that has been in a body of water infected by an AIS can transfer that invasive species to Lake Belle Taine! This includes things like scuba masks, swimming fins, or even beach toys or floating devices that have some water in them. So it's extremely important that you check your own items as well as any items that guests might bring to your cabin.

  • If you have to launch a boat from your own property, it should have been out of the water for 21 days.  If that is not possible, inspect the boat, trailer and motor carefully for any plant fragments and zebra mussels.  If you find ANY zebra mussels, then the rig needs to go to a decontamination center. The closest one to our lake is in Park Rapids and it's FREE!  A car wash is not hot or powerful enough to do the job.  And regardless of how long it's been out of the water, the boat bilge and live well must be dry and clean before launching.

  • Volunteer to be a shoreline monitor!!!  We need more shoreline monitors.  The LBT shoreline is divided into 16 sections for monitoring.  Twice a year volunteers harvest aquatic plants from the bottom in their sections and inspect them for AIS.  They then will report their findings to me.  At the end of the year, I will compile the reports and send them to the DNR.  (I also report immediately anything that might be AIS.)  Monitoring involves a couple of hours of plant ID training, then 2 hours of monitoring in late June/early July and another 2 hours in late August/early September.  Training and equipment is provided for free. You need to have some type of boat.

  • Volunteer to be part of "Eyes On The Water" – Learn about AIS and inspect your own shoreline and property throughout the summer.  Put a zebra mussel tube at the end of your dock and check it every few weeks.  Report any suspicious aquatic plant or animal.  You are also asked to fill out a 5-minute survey in the fall. You can learn more about the "Eyes on the Water" program by clicking here

To volunteer to either be a shoreline monitor or to be part of "Eyes on the Water," please contact me and I'll be happy to talk with you! You can reach me by calling or texting me at (607) 227-5931 or emailing me at ajd3@cornell.edu

Finallly, the easiest way to help support the fight against AIS is to join the Lake Belle Taine Association if you're not already a member! Your dues and any extra AIS contribution help pay for the inspectors at our public access and other programs (like these) that keep invasive species out of our lake for as long as possible! Check out the "Join Us" tab on this website!