The Finger Lakes Institute’s Watercraft Steward Program is just the beginning of what the Finger Lakes Times May 29 (pg. 5A) article describes as “a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to combat the plant’s [hydrilla’s] presence.”
The spread of hydrilla, as well as other aquatic invasive species, is an issue that everyone has a stake in; environmentalist or not. Not only does the spread of these plants and animals upset the balance of an invaluable ecosystem, it also inhibits recreational lake uses and costs millions annually to control if not eradicated or controlled early on.
Programs like the Finger Lakes Institute Watercraft Steward Program can greatly aid in the fight against aquatic invasive species both by ensuring that boats are not transferring potentially harmful species from one lake to another and by generating awareness surrounding the issue. Finger Lakes and Great Lakes monitoring programs are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. However, the wait for this funding has been long and as a result, problematic for lake users, the ecosystem, and the economy.
Take a look at this Finger Lakes Times article by David L. Shaw detailing Senator Charles Schumer’s role in the fight for this crucial federal funding. Read the entire article.