EPA Awards More Than $300,000 to Paul Smiths College to Control Invasive Species; Grant is One of Nine Awarded to New York for Great Lakes Restoration Work (NY)
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency awarded Paul Smith’s College in the
Adirondacks a $332,869 grant to implement a recreational boat
inspection program that will prevent the spread of aquatic invasive
species – including zebra mussels, spiny water flea and
Eurasian water milfoil plants – in the headwaters of eastern
Lake Ontario in the western Adirondack Park. Invasive species are a
problem in much of the Great Lakes region, but have largely not
reached eastern Lake Ontario or its surrounding
“Protecting and restoring the health of the Great Lakes is a priority for EPA and the Obama Administration, and this grant to Paul Smith’s College will help prevent invasive species like zebra mussels – already a problem throughout the Great Lakes – from reaching eastern Lake Ontario watersheds,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The boat inspection program that this grant will fund is a way to address the problem of invasive species before it has a chance to reach eastern Lake Ontario watersheds.”
Beginning next year, staff from Paul Smith’s College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute will inspect watercraft in the Oswegatchie River, Raquette River and Black River watersheds for aquatic invasive species. The inspections are voluntary, and boaters who are found to have invasive species on their boats will be asked to remove them before putting their boat in the water. The project is part of an integrated approach to invasive species management and safeguards public waterways within the Great Lakes basin in the long term. Paul Smith’s College has been helping manage a similar program in the Lake Champlain watershed since 2007.
In addition to Paul Smith’s College, other projects being funded in New York, include:
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation project to reassess sources of toxic chemicals that have polluted the Niagara River; $902,573.
- Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District’s work to coordinate the Great Lakes Legacy Act remedial investigation project for an area of the Eighteen Mile Creek that has been severely polluted during the next five years; $497,085.
- University of Rochester project to evaluate fish contaminant levels in severely degraded sections of the Genesee River and Lake Ontario, which together are known as the Rochester Embayment; $307,487.
- The Nature Conservancy project to establish monitoring protocols for wetlands near Lake Ontario and provide the International Joint Commission for the Great Lakes information to develop a plan to managing lake levels in Lake Ontario that can be adjusted based on ongoing assessments of the lake; $295,495.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation project to produce updated fish contaminant data for chemicals that impact human and ecosystem health in the St. Lawrence River; $250,000.
- Rochester Institute of Technology project to identify opportunities to reduce toxic chemical releases, energy consumption and water usage, and operational costs at four paper manufacturing companies; $200,000.
- Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper project to provide teachers with content and methods for conducting watershed education relating to the Buffalo River, Niagara River, Eighteen Mile Creek, and Rochester Embayment; $168,895.
- Rochester Institute of Technology workshops to educate homeowners on green cleaning, household hazardous waste and pharmaceuticals, and household products; $104,192.
The nine grants are part of 70 grants totaling nearly $30 million that EPA is awarding under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2011. Funded projects will advance the goals and objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, which EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson released in cooperation with 15 other participating agencies and several Great Lakes governors in February 2010.
The Great Lakes provide 30 million Americans with drinking water and underpin a multi-billion dollar economy. In February 2009, President Obama proposed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.
The Action Plan, which covers FY 2010 through 2014, was developed by a task force of 16 federal departments and agencies to implement the president’s historic initiative. It calls for aggressive efforts to address five urgent priority “Focus Areas”:
· Cleaning up toxics and toxic hot spot areas of concern.
· Combating invasive species.
· Promoting near-shore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off.
· Restoring wetlands and other habitats.
· Tracking progress, education and working with strategic partners.
The plan also provides accountability by including measures of progress and benchmarks for success over the next three years. The Great Lakes Interagency Task Force to coordinate federal and binational restoration efforts includes:
· White House Council on Environmental Quality
· U.S. Department of Agriculture
· U.S. Department of Commerce
· U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
· U.S. Department of Homeland Security
· U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
· U.S. Department of State
· U.S. Department of the Army
· U.S. Department of Interior
· U.S. Department of Transportation
· U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
FY 2011 awards will be published on the multi-agency website at http://www.glri.us. More information on the president’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Action Plan are available at the same site. Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.