ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced over $2 million in grants to 24 municipalities, not-for-profits, and higher education programs, for projects to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, on Tuesday.
The projects, which range geographically from the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes and beyond, will focus on educating boaters about the dangers of aquatic invasive species, like spiny waterflea and Eurasian water milfoil.
The projects involve the installation of hot-water, high-pressure wash decontamination stations and the placement of additional boat stewards at high priority boat launch sites. Boat stewards conduct voluntary, courtesy boat and trailer inspections and show boaters how to inspect and remove plants and organisms from their boats, trailers and other equipment.
With over 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds and reservoirs and 70,000 miles of waterways, New York State is particularly vulnerable to the introduction of invasive species. Aquatic invasive species can rapidly spread through connecting waterbodies or by “hitchhiking” on the vessels of recreational boaters.
A recent study by the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program found that if invasive species are allowed to spread, they could cost the Adirondack economy up to $900 million in annual losses in visitor spending, agriculture and primary forest production, and property value.
“New York State is home to unparalleled natural beauty and we must do everything we can to protect it from invasive aquatic predators,” Governor Cuomo said. “This money will help safeguard lakes and rivers in every corner of this state, protect local ecosystems, and ensure that visitors can experience New York’s natural beauty and wonders for years to come.”
The twenty-four projects awarded, which range from $36,000 to $100,000, represent the first grants as part of the NY DEC’s New York Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (AISMP).
To learn more about aquatic invasive species and the threat they pose to New York State visit the DEC website.