Chautauqua Lake Association President R. Craig Butler recently announced that the Association will be one of twenty-four municipalities and nonprofits selected from throughout New York State to receive special funding for establishing a boat launch steward program that is designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Mr. Butler commented that “The CLA is thrilled to receive this $100,000 grant that will be utilized over three years to establish a pilot boat launch steward program in addition to establishing public outreach programs that will hopefully keep new invasive species from entering Chautauqua Lake. It is critical that we prevent the introduction of water chestnut and hydrilla from reaching the lake. Both species exist in nearby waterbodies.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that over $2 million in grants from the Environmental Protection Fund is being awarded to municipalities, not-for-profits and higher educational programs for projects that will help protect New York State’s waters from the spread of aquatic invasive species. The projects will focus on educating boaters on the dangers of aquatic invasive species through the placement of boat stewards, the installation of decontamination stations, and the uniform training of boat stewards across the state. “New York State is home to unparalleled natural beauty and we must do everything we can to protect it from invasive aquatic predators,” Governor Cuomo said. “This money will help safeguard lakes and rivers in every corner of this state, protect local ecosystems, and ensure that visitors can experience New York’s natural beauty and wonders for years to come.”
“Aquatic invasive species are a significant threat to the environment and economy of New York State, and these EPF grants will go far in reducing their spread,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Fostering partnerships and collaboration with local governments and other partners are essential combat this urgent threat, and I look forward watching these successful projects take off.”
Lake association staff attended a boat steward leadership training workshop at this spring’s NYS Federation of Lake Associations annual conference in Hamilton, NY.
CLA Executive Director Douglas Conroe noted that for this coming summer an initial launch steward operation is planned for the Mayville Village launch ramp along with a presence at fishing tournament launch sites throughout the lake. Public education programs are also being developed. He added that “This certainly fits our mission as the steward of Chautauqua Lake and we are excited about the opportunity that this grant presents. The management of invasive species is critical to the long term viability of the lake.” The grant requires additional local funding which will be provided through in-kind services from CLA existing staff. The CLA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on contributions from citizens and businesses along with support from local governments and foundations for its lake maintenance funding. To learn more about invasive species the public is encouraged to visit the CLA’s website at www.chautauqualakeassociation.org.