Schumer seeks to curb milfoil, ash borer, other destructive pests

The aquatic pests include Eurasian Milfoil and Curlyleaf Pondweed, both of which have invaded Brant Lake, Lake George and many other Adirondack waterways.

About one-quarter of New York lakes have aquatic invasive plants, often crowding out indigenous species.

The Schumer mitigation proposal seeks $5.6 million in federal funding for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, $3.1 million of it coming from federal stimulus funds.

The $5.6 million would add another 70 DEC employees to fight the war on invasive pests.

Aside from directly attacking the invasives on land and in water, it would also be used to further educational programs meant to curb the transport of the harmful species by unknowing travelers, Schumer said.

"So many people who deal in the outdoors - who like to camp, hunt, hike and fish - are very knowledgeable and very educatable," Schumer said. "When you show somebody what an Emerald Ash Borer looks like and say check the wood you cut down before you take it somewhere, people will do it."

Further, $35 million would be distributed to combat Asian Longhorn Beetle infestations and an additional $39 million to combat Ash Borer infestations nationally.

Schumer said that although it seemed like a considerable sum, the expenditures were worth it, considering they were a small fraction of the federal appropriations.

"It's a small amount," he said. "The appropriations bill is tens of billions of dollars and if we can't find this sort of money to fight invasives, shame on us."

He said his invasive mitigation funding appropriation will be ready to be added to the federal appropriations bill in several weeks.

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