New York Senator Charles Schumer is proposing an early detection and rapid response grant program to combat aquatic invasive species before they spread to new waterways.
Senator Schumer’s legislation would allow states and local authorities to seek grants from the Department of the Interior as soon as an invasive species is identified as a potential threat. Schumer, a Democrat, says the framework of his plan features two concepts.
Schumer says immediate federal financial and technical assistance is needed to prevent the spread of species like hydrilla, Eurasian Milfoil and Asian clams.
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Director Hilary Smith says a federal rapid response grant program would be a tremendous step forward.
Lake Champlain Research Institute Director Tim Mihuc last summer raised warnings about the imminent spread of the spiny water flea into Lake Champlain. Mihuc praises Schumer’s plan.
Senator Schumer highlighted Lake George for its coordinated efforts to control and prevent invasive species. Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender.
Lender cautions that lakes are constantly at risk from new invasives.
Tim Mihuc hopes that additional legislation will be considered.
Meanwhile, a law went into effect in Massachusetts in April establishing an aquatic nuisance control program. It also makes it illegal to launch a vessel that has been in infected waters without first decontaminating it.
Schumer’s plan is still being reviewed by experts across New England. It’s not yet clear how the plan would impact invasive response teams in New York’s neighboring states.
New York’s senior Senator said the total amount of grant money for the proposed federal invasive prevention is yet to be determined.