Tuesday, November 27, 2007

$1.4 Million Earmarked to Batte Milfoil, Phragmites and Other Aquatic Invasive Species

The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation announced grants to finance local projects to eradicate troublesome invaders
More than 30 municipalities and organizations will receive a total of $1.4 million to help wipe out infestations of non-native aquatic species across the state, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. The Aquatic Invasive Species Eradication grants will be used by recipients to help fight zebra mussels, water chestnuts, round goby, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and phragmites, and other invasive threats to New York’s ecosystems.

“Aquatic invasive species, particularly plants, have a wide range of environmental, recreational and economic impacts - they spread rapidly, congest water ways, and disrupt native fish populations,” Grannis said. “Once infested by invasives, lakes and rivers can become unusable, and the negative impacts boating, fishing and swimming can adversely affect local economies that are dependant on these waterbodies. These grants will help local communities and environmental groups in their work with DEC to actively address this important issue.”

Invasive species are non-native and can cause harm to ecosystems, food supplies, landscaping, industry and infrastructure. Invasive species are a threat to New York’s biodiversity, second only to habitat loss. Invasives come from around the world and the rate of invasion is rising along with the increase in international trade that accompanies globalization.

In April 2007, Grannis announced the availability of state grants to municipalities and not-for-profit corporations for projects that help eliminate infestations of aquatic invasive species. State funds can be used to pay for up to one half of the total costs of a selected eradication project. Grants for terrestrial invasive species eradication programs will be awarded separately in early 2008.

For the aquatic invasive species grants, DEC received applications seeking almost $2.1 million. A competitive evaluation process ranked and prioritized the proposals for the $1.4 million in available funds. Individual grants were awarded for a minimum of $7,500 and maximum of $100,000. The projects selected were viewed to have the best potential for achieving long-term reductions in the presence of invasive species.

Visit the DEC’s Aquatic Invasive Species Eradication Grant Program web page at:
www.dec.ny.gov/animals/32861.html

The list of grant recipients can be downloaded from the Department's November 2007 Press Releases web page

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