WXXI AM News

EPA puts up $1.5M to fight invasive species in New York

May 5, 2016

Water Chestnuts
Credit Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District

Three New York institutions are getting help from the EPA to fight invasive species in the Great Lakes basin.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Paul Smith's College, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation are receiving a collective $1.5 million toward removal, protection, and outreach projects.

John Martin is a spokesperson for the EPA. He says this has become a priority because invasive species like the water chestnut are causing series economic and ecological problems.

"The problem with them is that they can blanket a water body. They are leafy plants and they can completely cover the water body and prevent light from getting through."

This hurts other plants and wildlife, as well as recreation in the area.

The EPA awarded Hobart and William Smith over half a million dollars for their water chestnut control project. Paul Smith's College and the state parks department received equal amounts.

The EPA awarded grants to a total of 28 projects throughout the region, totaling over $12 million toward great lakes restoration. A complete list of projects is available on the EPA's website.

The money comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which awards up to $300 million a year for projects throughout the region. The initiative is up for re-authorization this year, and awaiting renewal by the Senate.