Is there anything better than mountain ponds on summer days?

Imagine floating on a backcountry pond on a clear summer day with Adirondack Mountains and Forests reflected in quiet, lily-dotted water. Dragonflies hover and zip, occasionally stopping to rest on the smooth surface of your packraft or on the back of your hand. Bright green frogs bask on shore rocks striped with thin grass shadows. Beneath you, in the liquid world, a rainbow colored lattice of refracted and reflected light ripples across rocks, fallen trees, and swaying plants that rest their blossoms between the worlds of air and water.

This is truly heaven and you can experience it too. ADK has organized backcountry pond trainings and outings, and has available lightweight equipment (backpacks, packrafts, PFDs, and survey tools) so that you can survey your own backcountry pond in the Forest Preserve of the Adirondack Park. You can choose your own pond for survey with your friends and family or you can join a guided group outing.

For the past four years, ADK has worked with a partnership of non-profit organizations, and federal and state agencies in the Backcountry Water Monitors Project to survey ponds and lakes for aquatic invasive species such as Brazilian Elodea, Brittle Naiad, Curly-leaf Pondweed, Water Chestnut, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Hydrilla, Yellow Floating Heart, Variable-leaf Watermilfoil, European Frog-bit, and Fanwort.

The project highlights the importance of invasive species spread prevention. In the case of aquatic invasive species, that means making sure your boat, paddling gear, clothing, and footwear are cleaned, drained, and dried before moving from one water body to another. Early detection of invasive species is one of the primary goals of the project with volunteers finding and reporting aquatic invaders before they become established.

To date, the project has educated and engaged 103 volunteers (28 each in Y1 and Y2, 21 in Y3, and 26 in Y4) and surveyed 64 lakes or ponds (14 in Y1, and 15 each in Y2 and Y3, and 20 in Y4). Fortunately, almost all of the backcountry ponds have been clean with no invasive plants.

We hope to reach at least 15 ponds this year for a total of 80 ponds for the project. These pristine lakes and ponds must be monitored by someone just like you if they are to stay clean. Scheduled outings and workshops are listed below (with more TBA).

Many of the trainings and outings will be relatively easy in nature. The trips have a score of a C or C+ hike and paddle according to the ADK Albany Chapter Trip Rating system. This means that the outings have under 1000 feet elevation gain, are hikes under eight miles and 6 hours round trip. Paddles are well under 6 miles with flat water. The exception will be an outing to Greenland Pond which will be an overnight trip and a 10 mile hike.

Project Partners include, ADK member volunteers, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), the Capital-Mohawk PRISM, NY Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Paul Smith’s Adirondack Watershed Institute, Lake George Land Conservancy, Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP), and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).

Sign-up for a Workshop or Outing at this Link.

See other Citizen Science Projects and Events at this Link.

See Project Map with Ponds Needing Surveys

For more information contact: Cathy Pedler at, (518)449-3870 (ADK Albany Office); Erin Vennie-Vollrath at, 518-576-2082 (TNC/APIPP Keene Valley Office)

This project was funded by an agreement awarded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program. NEIWPCC manages LCBP’s personnel , contract, grant and budget tasks and provides input on the program’s activities through a partnership with the LCPBP steering committee. The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent those off NEIWPCC, The LCBP’s steering committee, or GLFC, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or causes constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.