Photo credit: J. Clayton, NYSDEC

Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Application (WISPA) Project

Background for Inspection Program


  • Recreational boating is identified as a key pathway in the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) across the Great Lakes Basin including inland waterbodies (Rothlisberger et al., 2010).

  • Watercraft inspection and associated steward programs are critical components in protecting aquatic ecosystems and water quality by preventing and limiting the spread of aquatic invasive species among waterbodies in New York State and neighboring states and provinces (Penney, 2014).

Project Overview


  • The Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Application (WISPA) was developed to collect real-time data of invasive species through the trained eyes of stewards throughout boat launches in New York State.

  • The WISPA database is made available to partner organizations and state and federal agencies to track and analyze invasive species trends to aid in prevention, education, and treatments across the state.

  • Since the pilot launch year of 2017:

    • The number of partner organizations doubled from 8 to 16 and collected over 150,000 surveys throughout the State of New York​.

    • The most common invasive species detected was Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum).


The WISPA Project is a collaborative effort utilizing participation of numerous public and private organizations. For the 2019 season, our WISPA partners include:



Aquatic Invasive Species Transport via Trailered Boats: What is Being Moved, Who is Moving it, and What Can Be Done. Rothlisberger, et. al. 2010. Fisheries. 35 (3), 121-132.

New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook. Penney, M. 2014. Developed by the New York Sea Grant for Cornell University. Publication ID: NYSGI-H-14-001.

Photo credit: J. Clayton, NYSDEC

Check out some of the target species in NYS!


Contact Us:

New York Natural Heritage Program 

625 Broadway 5th Floor 

Albany, NY  12203

T: 518-402-8913


iMapInvasives is managed by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), which is a partnership between SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, with funding from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.

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Photo by Chris Evans, University of Illinois, CC-NC 3.0