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FLI, PRISM Program Featured

Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle recently featured an article on new stewardship programs to combat the spread of invasive species in Canandaigua and Conesus Lakes after a loss of federal funding. The initial programs were led by the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) at Hobart and William Smith starting in 2012, after it received federal grants.

Members and stakeholders of the Canandaigua and Conesus Lake associations are funding the new programs in order to continue the efforts begun by the FLI.

"Under such programs, stewards are posted at boat-launch sites to encourage and assist people to clean boat hulls, trailers, bait wells and other equipment before leaving the launch area," the article explains. This prevents unwanted invasive species from moving from one body of water to another.

FLI Director Lisa Cleckner was quoted in the article, saying that they have applied for more federal funding for next summer, but that in the meantime, "I think the watershed associations are embracing the program." Canandaigua hopes to have six volunteer stewards, while Conesus is aiming for two part-time paid stewards.

"The institute has applied for federal funding to resume support of lake stewards next summer, and also can provide training to stewards brought on by the associations," the article notes.

"That training will be handled by a new Finger Lakes Institute employee whose hiring was made possible by funding the group did receive - money from New York state to take part in an invasive species management program known as PRISM. It is the first time the program has been fully funded in the 17-county Finger Lakes region."

The full article from the Democrat and Chronicle follows.


Democrat and Chronicle
Lake groups aim to curb invasive species

Steve Orr • Staff Writer • April 23, 2014

With federal funding at least temporarily withdrawn, local advocates at Canandaigua and Conesus lakes are starting their own stewardship programs to combat the spread of invasive species.

Under such programs, stewards are posted at boat-launch sites to encourage and assist people to clean boat hulls, trailers, bait wells and other equipment before leaving the launch area.

Proper cleaning helps prevent the boaters from inadvertently moving undesirable invasive aquatic plants or animals from one body of water to another.
Some of the Finger Lakes are beset by invaders such as Asian clams, water chestnut and hydrilla, a fast-growing aquatic plant whose appearance at the south end of Cayuga Lake has sparked widespread concern. It is hoped that the use of stewards can slow or stop the spread of those and other species.

Stewards have been used in other parts of the state for a number of years. The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, funded by a federal grant, first fielded stewards at lakes and bays in this region in 2012. But the grant was not renewed, prompting the startups at Conesus and Canandaigua.

"We're going to put up our own money to continue this, because really we think it's a good program. We want to continue to have the stewards out there," said Steve Lewandowski of the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association.
Finger Lakes Institute director Lisa Cleckner said Skaneateles Lake also has deployed stewards on its own.

"I think the watershed associations are embracing the program," she said.
She said the institute has applied for federal funding to resume support of lake stewards next summer, and also can provide training to stewards brought on by the associations.

That training will be handled by a new Finger Lakes Institute employee whose hiring was made possible by funding the group did receive - money from New York state to take part in an invasive species management program known as PRISM. It is the first time the program has been fully funded in the 17-county Finger Lakes region.

Cleckner said stakeholders in the Finger Lakes region will guide the work, which could be "everything from education to early detection to treatments like herbicide to rapid response and control."

The Canandaigua association plans to engage six stewards to cover the state-owned boat launches at the north and south ends of the lake. The stewards would be volunteers, though they might receive an honorarium at the end of the season, Lewandowski said. The program would cost several thousand dollars overall.

At Conesus, the lake association is partnering with the Livingston County Planning Department and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County to deploy two part-time paid stewards. They may be assisted by young people brought in through the county workforce development office, said Miranda Reid, the Planning Department's watershed manager.

SORR@DemocratandChronicle.com

Twitter.com/SOrr1

 


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