Paul Smith's College program secures more than $1 million in grants, contracts

PAUL SMITHS, NY (05/05/2016)(readMedia)-- The Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program at Paul Smith's College will receive more than $1 million to help protect lakes and rivers from invasive species.

The funds, which were awarded by three different federal and state agencies, were all secured last week.

"This latest round of funding demonstrates just how far the entire community has come in recognizing and effectively addressing the disruption and losses associated with the spread of aquatic invasive species," said Dr. Eric Holmlund, director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday, May 4, that it awarded $500,000 to the stewardship program through its Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program designed to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world.

The New York State Natural Heritage Trust also awarded more than $400,000 to help fund the stewardship program in 2016, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation awarded a $100,000 grant from the Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program for stewards and a new decontamination station at the Ticonderoga State Boat Launch.

This year's stewards will perform inspections at 50 boat launches across the Adirondacks to help prevent the spread of invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels and spiny waterflea. The stewards will remove any invaders they find and educate boaters about how they can help prevent the spread of invasive species.

Every summer, the stewardship program dispatches crews to public boat launches in and around the Adirondack Park. Inspections this year will begin on Memorial Day and continue throughout the summer.

Once invasives establish a presence in lakes, rivers and streams in which they are not native, they can disrupt ecosystems and squeeze out other native species. In addition to biological costs, there can be significant economic costs as well – invasive species can threaten both trade and tourism.

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