An aerial view of a canal with boats traveling through it, surrounded by dense greenery. On the left, a small town with various houses can be seen, while a road runs alongside the canal on the right. A prominent building with a tower is visible among the trees on the right side. In the distance, a bridge spans the canal, and beyond it, rolling hills covered in forest extend into the horizon. The scene is peaceful and verdant, showcasing a tranquil day in a picturesque small town.

Protecting NYS’s Waterways from Invasive Species

New York State is home to exceptional freshwater ecosystems including the New York State Canal System. These waters support a diversity of wildlife, figure prominently in the region’s history, and enrich the lives of residents and visitors. They are key for the state’s economic development. Protecting them from the negative impacts of invasive species benefits all of us.

The Canal Corporation is committed to environmental stewardship and protecting New York’s freshwater resources from Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). We are collaborating with other agencies and stakeholders on the early detection of AIS, development of rapid response plans, investigation of spread mitigation technologies and public education initiatives.

Champlain Canal: Mitigating the Spread of the Round Goby

The Canal Corporation is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), United States Geological Survey, and Lake Champlain Basin Program on a comprehensive effort to combat the potential spread of the round goby, an aquatic invasive species, to the Lake Champlain Basin.

The round goby was discovered in the Hudson River near Troy in July 2021. There is a concern that the invasive fish may move north towards Lake Champlain via the Champlain Canal and cause significant harm to the ecosystem there.

Aquatic invasive species like the round goby can spread disease, disrupt ecosystems and damage local economies dependent on recreation. Learn how to identify this tiny terror. The fused, suction-cup-like, pelvic fin helps distinguish the round goby from our native sculpins, which have a split pelvic fin.

a hand holding a round goby fish
Round Goby - Aquatic Invasive Species
Scenic waterfront scene on the Erie Canal and Waterford Canal with blue skies and lush green grass. Several boats are cruising in the canal waters.

Rapid Response Plan & Protecting Waterways

Round Goby Rapid Response Plan

The Rapid Response Plan is an early intervention strategy that uses surveys conducted by our collaborators to monitor the round goby population size and location south of Champlain Canal Lock C-1. It allows us to respond quickly to contain any presence of the round goby if it advances north in the Canal. Within the plan is our initial Trigger Action Response Plan (TARP) outlining actions to implement, using the best available information gathered from surveys, monitoring and other sources and latest data provided by our collaborators, to deter any changes in the location of the round goby.

News & Events

In March 2024, Kate Littrell, Senior Environment Scientist at Canals and NYPA, presented what the Canal Corporation is doing to continue fighting aquatic invasive species, at the Mohawk Watershed Symposium at Union College in Schenectady. Her presentation focuses on the work being done, in collaboration with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, to stop the round goby from entering the Champlain Canal.

Changes Affecting Boating to Mitigate Round Goby Spread

We have expanded several risk reduction strategies along the Champlain Canal to fight the spread of round goby effective June 21, 2024 until further notice. They include:

Scheduled Lockings

Lock C-1 (Waterford), Lock C-2 (Halfmoon), Lock C-3 (Mechanicville) and Lock C-4 (Stillwater) will pass recreational vessels three times daily. This lets us collect more accurate data about the number of vessels locking through and their timing, so that information may be compared to the movement of round goby if it advances in the Champlain Canal.

  • Lock C-1 will pass northbound traffic and Lock C-4 will pass southbound traffic daily at 8 am, 10 am and 2 pm.
  • Locks C-2 and C-3 will pass traffic when the vessels arrive from Locks C-1 or C-4.

The locks will use a "double draining" procedure.

Double Draining

"Double Draining" of Locks C-1, C-2, C-3 & C-4. The round goby is a slow swimmer, so the strong water currents created during double draining are intended to push any round goby away from the lock.

  • Each lock will be maintained in a full condition and emptied twice during locking operations.
    • For northbound traffic, the locks will be drained twice before traffic enters the lock chamber.
    • For southbound traffic, the lock will be emptied and refilled once before the vessels are admitted into the lock. The second draining will occur with the vessels in the lock.
  • Double Draining Explained
Help Us Fight the Spread of Round Goby
Resources for how you can reduce the spread of round goby and help us protect the Champlain Canal and Lake Champlain.

Actions You Can Take to Fight Invasive Species

Nationwide, research shows that recreational boating is one of the main ways invasive species spread. As we implement these risk-reduction strategies in the Canal System this season, we encourage all users and stakeholders to learn how they can assist in mitigating the spread of aquatic invasive species to ensure the Canal's resiliency for generations to come.

Clean, Drain, Dry

To prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) from hitching a ride and spreading to new waterways, make sure to clean, drain and dry your boating equipment following the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s guidance. Don’t have time to clean, drain, dry, find a boat steward and decontamination station.
A man washing a boat to decontaminate it.

Use Bait Responsibly

Follow all state regulations on baitfish use and never use invasive species, like the round goby, as bait. You can also purchase certified disease-free bait from a local bait shop. Dispose of all unused bait on land to avoid the accidental introduction of invasive species to new waterbodies.
Fishing gear spread out in the trunk of a vehicle that includes a green backpack, a fishing pole and tackle box that has multiple fishing lures inside.

Report Invasive Species to iMapInvasives

Detecting new invasive species early and taking action to contain them quickly is our best tool to slow their spread. Help us monitor invasive species by reporting any you see while enjoying the Canals or trails. Simply take pictures of any suspicious species you find and upload the images to the iMapInvasives website or app. It’s free to make an account and there are both self-guided tutorials and live webinars to help you start reporting.
A logo for iMapInvasives with a bug and a leaf.

Find Your Local PRISM

PRISMs are Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management. They offer invasive species education, monitoring, management and volunteer opportunities.
A map of New York State with sections supervised by the Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management.


Become a Water Trail Steward. Join this impressive effort to take care of hundreds of miles of Canal waterways.
A picture of a trail along the New York State Canal System on a cloudy day.