Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cuomo Endorses A Park-Wide Invasive Species Plan

Andrew Cuomo in the AdirondacksThe Adirondack Park may become the first region in New York State to have its own, integrated program to halt the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked the state legislature to appropriate $1 million  to develop the  Adirondack-wide strategy.

According to Morris Peters, a spokesman for the Division of the Budget, the money for the new initiative will come from an increase in appropriations to the Environmental Protection Fund.

“The Executive Budget includes $5.7 million for invasive species efforts, statewide, an increase of $1 million over prior year levels. The Adirondacks invasive species strategy will use seed money provided from that proposed $1 million increase,” said Peters.

That’s good news for the local governments, lake and landowners associations, sportsmen and environmental protection groups who have been meeting since last fall to organize a campaign to establish an inspection and boat washing program, modeled on Lake George’s, throughout the Park.

“This underscores the value of Lake George as a model for how we can tackle one of the biggest threats of our time. We’ve shown that prevention is the only true means of protection,” said Eric Siy, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George.

Siy said The Fund has budgeted $50,000 this year for an Adirondack Park invasive species control program, including $10,000 for the training of boat inspectors.

According to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, or APIP, which has organized or participated in other efforts to develop a park-wide strategy toward invasive species control, eighty-eight organizations spent $4.27 million, including more than 12,000 volunteer hours valued at $708,000, on invasive species in the Adirondacks in 2013. Those collective expenditures are less than one percent of the economic impacts of invasive species.

“Local communities have done a good job with limited resources, but state coordination and funding is needed for a park-wide solution,” said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council.

Peter Constantakes, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, declined to say if Lake George’s mandatory inspections are a part of a proposed strategy.

But Fred Monroe, the Warren County Supervisor, said officials from DEC and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, are willing to consider that possibility.

“Whatever comes out of this, even if it’s just a pilot program, this is a major victory,” said Monroe. “I’m very encouraged by the fact that  everyone seems to recognize that  preventing aquatic invasive species from spreading throughout the Park is a high priority.”

According to Monroe, who has been meeting with staff members from the Governor’s office, DEC and the the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, the strategy “is a work in progress – nothing has been settled.”

Peter Constantakes, the DEC spokesman, said the goal of the strategy, whatever form it may take, is preventing the contamination of Adirondack lakes and rivers.

“We will continue to work with stakeholders in the Adirondacks to formulate a park-wide plan. We are working with local governments, APIP and other interested groups to identify the most critical invasive pathways into and within the Adirondack Park,” said Constantakes.

A regional approach to controlling invasive species is consistent with the conclusions put forward in a report prepared last year by Paul Smith College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute with the assistance of APIP, the Lake George Association and the Lake Champlain Basin Program, said Kristen Rohne of the LGA.

“Regional planning is the necessary first step toward a regional solution, so we are pleased to see this progressing,” said John Sheehan, the Adirondack Council spokesman.  “Large areas of the Park are not yet affected.  We would like to keep them that way.”

This story was first published in the Lake George Mirror.

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Anthony F. Hall is the editor and publisher of the Lake George Mirror.

Anthony grew up in Warrensburg and after an education that included studying with beat poet Gregory Corso on an island in the Aegean, crewing a schooner in Hawaii, traveling through Greece and Turkey studying Byzantine art and archeology, and a stint at Lehman Brothers, he returned to the Adirondacks and took a job with legendary state senator Ron Stafford.

In 1998, Anthony and his wife Lisa acquired the Lake George Mirror, once part of a chain of weekly newspapers owned by his father Rob Hall.

Established in the 1880s, the Mirror is America’s oldest resort newspaper.

10 Responses

  1. Mark Gibson says:

    Good news! Wise stewardship needs to be aggressive in these times.

    I just hope it is not too little, too late. Spiny water flea, zebra mussels, alewives are already permanent residents of Lake Champlain and will forever change its ecologic balances. Milfoil has disastrously filled in a nearby favorite lake and landowners there are needful of guidance and assistance. Of course man himself has done major damage with eutrophication. I hope the pristine upland waters are not headed the same way. I do hope this will help.

  2. jay says:

    King Cuomo sure knows how to buy votes with my money.My vote is not for sale.

  3. Charlie S says:

    If we had any foresight whatsoever this issue would not even be on the table.It wouldn’t be as bad as it is anyway. We’ll continue doing the same things over and over again until death do us part. It’s just the way we are…repeat offenders.

  4. Lou Gunther says:

    Now we just need an Invasive Insect Plan!

  5. Harley says:

    One cannot deny we need to combat invasive species and do what we can to stop their spread. However, if history is any indicator as to how this will proceed the effort will likely result in actions/regulations that will restrict access and stifle economic activity associated with pleasure boating, fishing and hunting, a multimillion dollar industry in NYS. Before this is all said and done the smell of a little money, 1 million dollars, will result in political positioning by groups looking to be the new Invasive Zars and as usual using the platform to promote their own agendas and feather their organizational nests.

    • John Warren says:

      That argument is useful for everything isn’t it? We’ve heard it half a dozen times per week over the last 40 years. It’s a wonder we’ve survived at all.

  6. JR says:

    Just so I am clear here, the invasion of America by people illegally is welcomed & funded by the tax payer in the name of diversity and ‘it’ s the right thing to do’. Even though it results in overpopulation & demise of one breeding group outpaced by another new breeding group.
    But in our water ways we must remain pure & resist change. Diversity is bad because one breeding group will out pace the others. Why is this bad?
    Can greater hypocrisy be found?

    • John Warren says:

      Connecting immigration with the impact of invasive species on the quality of Adirondack water and its fisheries is a credit to your xenophobia.

  7. Charlie S says:

    JR says “Just so I am clear here, the invasion of America by people illegally is welcomed & funded by the tax payer in the name of diversity and ‘it’ s the right thing to do’. Even though it results in overpopulation & demise of one breeding group outpaced by another new breeding group.”

    Taxpayers fund wars that kill thousand-lots of innocent woman and children and men in foreign lands too JR.Taxpayer dollars fund new sports arenas. I’d rather my tax dollars go to helping less fortunate people,whether they be immigrants or not,than to wars and sports arenas! And if you want to talk about breeding groups, America is breeding a bunch of dummies. Whenever I see a sign or bumper sticker that says “There’s only one” I say to myself ‘Thank the powers that be.’ And why the hell so many people in this country are so proud is beyond me.I feel ashamed to be a part of this society.

  8. Cuomo Endorses a Park-wide Invasive Species Plan » Upper Saranac Lake Association says:

    […] Read Article […]

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