Governor Cuomo Announces $2.8 Million in Grant Awards to Combat Spread Of Invasive Species

A thicket of Japanese knotweed. Citation: Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, www.invasives.org

Funding Supports Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control, Research, Lake Management Planning, and Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Programs.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced more than $2.8 million in grants have been awarded to 42 projects that will reduce the negative impacts of invasive species through control or removal activities, research, and spread prevention. These grants are part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Invasive Species Grant Program and are funded by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Across the state, DEC is using science to determine what actions will have the greatest impact in controlling invasive species. Awarded projects are spread across four categories:

$594,464 for eight Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention projects to deploy watercraft stewards to conduct voluntary boat inspections and conduct outreach to educate recreational boaters;

  • $1,163,139 for 16 Terrestrial and Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control projects that promote the removal of invasive species through physical and mechanical removal, chemical treatments, and biocontrol release;
  • $865,960 for 10 Terrestrial and Aquatic Invasive Species Research projects that help improve invasive species control methodologies; and
  • $233,899 for eight Lake Management Planning projects to help address the underlying causes of aquatic invasive species infestations and provide context for their control and management.

Awards by region are:

Capital Region:

  • Lake George Association, Inc.: $78,575 for Lake George Putnam and Hague aquatic invasive species stewards.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: $78,134 for ARMOR, a new tool for managing the spread of invasive aquatic species.
  • Town of Ballston: $19,635 for the Ballston Lake Management Plan.
  • Town of Lake Luzerne: $13,000 for the Lake Luzerne Management Plan.

Central New York:

  • Cornell University: $100,000 for the development of environmental DNA tools for the early detection of the highly invasive aquatic plant hydrilla verticillate.
  • Onondaga Environmental Institute, Inc.: $99,182 for the Central New York Watercraft Steward Program.
  • Cortland County Soil & Water Conservation District: $65,177 for the Cortland County “STOP the Invasion” Boat Decontamination Project.
  • Otisco Lake Preservation Association: $36,900 for Otisco Lake Watercraft Steward Program.
  • Research Foundation for SUNY Cortland: $94,811 for assessing the threat of co-invasive jumping worms to New York State.

Finger Lakes:

  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges: $100,000 for understanding the impacts of Starry Stonewort on New York State ecosystems.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology: $99,985 forusing artificial intelligence on street view imagery to detect five key invasive plant species in New York State.
  • Research Foundation for SUNY Brockport: $85,577 formile-a-minute (Persicaria perfoliata) discovery and control in Western New York.
  • Cooperative Extension Association in the State of NY Yates County: $77,361 for Keuka Lake aquatic invasive species prevention program.
  • City of Canandaigua: $76,281 for preventing the spread of invasive species on Canandaigua and Honeoye Lakes through watercraft inspections, education, and outreach.
  • Town of Canandaigua: $15,618 for theBarnes Gully hemlock wooly adelgid eradication project.
  • Town of Macedon: $11,133 for terrestrial invasive species control at Canal Park.

Long Island:

  • Town of Southampton: $74,999 for Riverside Park terrestrial invasive species removal.

Mid-Hudson:

  • Groundwork Hudson Valley: $100,000 for Yonkers Greenway Rapid Response Initiative.
  • Historic Hudson Valley: $100,000 for management of porcelain-berry, Japanese stiltgrass, and common reed at Philipsburg Manor.
  • Town of Rye: $100,000 for invasive species rapid response and control.
  • Westchester Parks Foundation: $58,109 for Tibbetts Brook Park lake management plan.
  • Teatown Lake Reservation, Inc.: $53,050 for monitoring and control of aquatic invasive species in Teatown’s lakes.
  • Village of Sleepy Hollow: $36,818 for DeVries Park invasive rapid response program.
  • Town of Fallsburg: $15,000 for Pleasure Lake Management Plan.

Mid-Hudson/New York City:

  • New York New Jersey Trail Conference: $100,000 for lower Hudson early detection and rapid response detection dog team.
  • Research Foundation of CUNY obo CUNY Advanced Science Research Center: $100,000 for mapping spatiotemporal patterns in invasive tree, insect, and pathogen occurrences in lower Hudson Valley and New York City.
  • Orange County Parks and Recreation: $20,000 for Lake Management Plan at Algonquin Park.

Mid-Hudson/Southern Tier/Capital Region:

  • Catskill Center for Conservation and Development: $63,297 for 2019 Catskill invasive plant rapid response and control.

Mohawk Valley:

  • Town of Caroga: $60,989 for the Caroga Decontamination Station.
  • Otsego County Conservation Association, Inc.: $40,341 for Otsego County aquatic invasive species rapid response and early detection program.

New York City:

  • The Evergreens Cemetery Preservation Foundation: $100,000 for preventing invasive species.
  • Governors Island Alliance, Inc.: $100,000 for Governors Island invasive phragmites removal.
  • Bronx River Alliance, Inc.: $82,448 for Bronx River Most Wanted – Invasives Elimination.
  • Friends of Van Cortlandt Park: $55, 822 for knotweed reduction study: utilizing cutting and solarization.

North Country:

  • Save The River: $100,000 for characterizing unionid habitat sustainability and dressenid re-colonization post-restoration in the lower Grasse River.
  • Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Science: $88,152 for Pathways of Invasion: developing models to predict recreational boater activity, aquatic invasive species distributions, and landscape level connectivity to inform aquatic invasive species management across New York State.
  • Upper Saranac Foundation: $68,075 for the Upper Saranac Lake Management Plan.
  • Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Science: $49,056 for the efficacy of boat stewards and New York State regulations at enhancing visitor adoption of aquatic invasive species prevention strategies.
  • Raquette Lake Preservation Foundation, Inc.: $25,500 for invasive species lake management plan derivation and approval.
  • Town of Chesterfield: $14,580 for Butternut Pond Lake Management Plan.

Western New York:

  • Chautauqua Lake Association, Inc.: $100,000 for Chautauqua Lake aquatic invasive species spread prevention and awareness work.
  • Research Foundation for SUNY at Buffalo State: $99,858 for rapid response and early detection of slender false brome and Japanese stiltgrass in Western New York.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the State’s Environmental Protection Fund has been sustained at a record high $300 million, with $13.3 million in the 2019-20 state budget specifically designated to invest in projects and programs designed to limit the spread of invasive species across the state,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to New York State’s biodiversity and this funding is just the latest significant step that New York is taking to reduce and prevent their spread.”

In addition to funding, New York State has formed a comprehensive plan of attack to prevent the spread of invasive species. State DEC regulations prohibit boats and equipment from entering or leaving DEC launch sites without first being drained and cleaned. Boaters should take precautions – “Clean, Drain and Dry” – prior to launching a watercraft or floating dock into public waters.

Recently, New York State opened the state’s most advanced boat inspection and decontamination station at the recently completed Adirondacks Welcome Center on Interstate 87 in Queensbury, Warren County. DEC’s Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program conducted nearly 100,000 boat inspections to intercept more than 4,600 invasive species incidents in 2018.

New York is taking a strategic approach, in collaboration with not-for-profit, academic, and municipal partners, in improving water quality, protecting wildlife, and stopping the spread of invasives in all waterbodies, including a public campaign to raise public awareness of the need to prevent the spread of invasives at Lake George, Lake Champlain, and statewide.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Protecting our natural resources continues to be a priority for our Governor, and I’m proud of the comprehensive and strategic approach the State has taken to combat invasive species.  These grants will allow our partners across the State to implement projects that effectively research, control and remove invasive species, helping to safeguard our waterways, crops and trees from these harmful pests.”

Senator Todd Kamsinky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee said,“Combatting the spread of invasive species is essential and doing so requires a substantial investment. Proud to partner with Governor Cuomo to fund rapid response and control programs to halt the spread of invasive species and protect our precious, local natural treasures.”

Assembly Member Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee said, “Invasive plant and animal species are a significant threat to New York’s remarkable biodiversity with the potential to severely impact our forests, as well as our state’s agricultural and tourism economies. Governor Cuomo should be applauded for his efforts to advance the Invasive Species Grant Program as well as bringing together our state and local government, community, and non-profit partners to combat invasive species.”

The Invasive Species Grant Program is administered by the Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health in DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests. For more information, visit DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/265.html.

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