PAUL SMITHS, NY (06/12/2018) The Paul Smith's College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) has been awarded a five-year, $9.3 million contract by New York State to implement the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program.
The contract calls for the AWI to implement a region-wide watercraft inspection and decontamination program to stop the introduction, spread, and transport of aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels, and spiny waterflea. Through it, 58 stewards will be funded at dozens of locations across the park.
"This new contract is great news for the Adirondacks, its waterways, and its communities," said Dr. Eric Holmlund, director of the AWI Stewardship Program. "New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is showing such effective vision and leadership in providing resources to establish the most comprehensive, integrated, and widespread boat inspection system in the state. Our joint program is truly the foremost program of its kind in New York and even beyond."
The news comes at a time when the AWI and a number of organizations and state agencies are gearing up boating season. While work continues year-round, public-facing efforts are key as recreational watercraft susceptible to spreading invasive species move about the park in the coming months.
The AWI's Stewardship Program employs workers at public launch sites to inspect boats, as well as provide education and monitoring. Funding this effort is also made possible by the Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and several Adirondack town and lake associations. The contract, provided by New York State's Environmental Protection Fund, is administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The contract extends and lends multi-year security to a program which has incorporated the leadership and input of a wide range of stakeholders including sportsmen, lake associations, towns and villages, the environmental community, the business community, and federal and state government.
"The strength and staying power of this concept has arisen from its uncommonly diverse base of support," said Holmlund. "The threat of aquatic invasive species to our Adirondack waterways has galvanized almost all stakeholder groups like almost no previous issue. We have truly come together."
Please visit www.adkcleanboats.com to learn more about the program and to locate this summer's inspection and decontamination stations.
About the Adirondack Watershed Institute
The Adirondack Watershed Institute is a program of Paul Smith's College. The program started in 1989 as a local-scale water quality monitoring program called the Adirondack Aquatic Institute and expanded in 1999 to include invasive species management. PSC started the Watershed Stewardship Program in 2000 as a separate initiative that focused on local-scale invasive species prevention activities. These two programs expanded over the years as separate efforts, in 2002 the college recognized the synergy of linking these programs and thus merged them to begin the AWI. The AWI has since grown into a regional-scale water quality monitoring and invasive species management program.
About Paul Smith's College
At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. We are the only four-year institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs - in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences - draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit paulsmiths.edu.