Invasive species program gets $170K grant

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program has received a private foundation grant totaling $170,000.

The funds will be used to prevent and control the spread of invasive species inside the Blue Line.

According to Hilary Smith, director of the Keene-based invasive species organization, the funds will be used primarily to support a terrestrial regional response team.

That team, Smith notes, will consist of a four-person seasonal crew charged with managing terrestrial invasive plants in priority areas across the Park.

Funds have also been directed toward three specific projects, including: efforts to control Japanese knotweed in various communities near the town of Inlet; intercepting aquatic invasive species at boat launches through the Paul Smith's College Watershed Stewardship Program; and a push to control the Park's first infestation of Asian clam in Lake George.

Alexander Gilchrist belongs to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Foundation's board of directors. He says he's been impressed with the group's leadership when it comes to invasive species management.

"APIPP has been out front on an issue that, left unchecked, can become impossible to contain," he said.

Hilary Smith says the new foundation support helps advance what she calls "priority projects."

"One of APIPP's early goals was to formalize an early detection rapid response network," she said. Smith believes that goal will be realized this summer.

Dr. Eric Holmlund is director of the Paul Smith's College Watershed Stewardship Program. He says the foundation support will promote a boat ramp stewardship program in the Adirondacks.

Specifically, Holmlund hopes the funding will further efforts to stop the transport of aquatic invasive species from the Saranac Lake chain to other water bodies.

"This funding allows us to reach out to the public at new locations and to perform critical boat inspections at ramps that access infested waterways," he said.

The Invasive Plant Program also receives funding through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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