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$3 Million Available for Invasive Species Projects
New York Ag Connection - 01/11/2019

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that $3 million is available in the first round of the State's newly consolidated Invasive Species Grant Program. To support projects that target both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species across the state, DEC combined previous funding opportunities, including the Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention and the Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species Early Detection/Rapid Response grants, into a single grant program. DEC is accepting applications for these grants through Feb. 15, 2019.

"New York is an international center for trade and tourism, making the state vulnerable to invasive species," Seggos said. "Once established, species such as hydrilla, emerald ash borer, and Japanese knotweed spread rapidly, causing harm to the environment, the economy, and human health. The invasive species grants announced today increase our ability to reduce the impacts of these invasive pests through control, removal, research, and prevention."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Invasive species pose a threat to our agricultural economy, potentially causing harm to our crops and our forestry industry. The new grant program provides the targeted resources needed to help the State combat the introduction and establishment of invasives statewide."

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the 2018-19 state budget included $13.3 million in the State's Environmental Protection Fund targeted specifically for invasive species related initiatives, $3 million of which was made available for these grants. Municipalities, academic institutions, and not-for-profits may submit applications for funding for eligible projects in up to two of the following categories:

- Aquatic invasive species spread prevention;

- Terrestrial and aquatic invasive species rapid response and control;

- Terrestrial and aquatic invasive species research; and

- Lake Management Plans.

Grant awards range from a minimum of $11,000 to a maximum of $100,000, with a required 25 percent match. Project locations must be located wholly within New York State and priority will be given to projects that include opportunities for public participation, are on or close to public lands or waterbodies, and emphasize long-term success. For full details about the grant opportunity including eligible projects and scoring criteria, visit the Request for Applications on DEC's website.

Applications are due by 3 p.m. on Feb. 15. All grant applicants must register in the NYS Grants Gateway System (link leaves DEC's webpage) before applying. Not-for-profit applicants are required to prequalify in the Grants Gateway system, so DEC recommends that applicants start the process in advance of the grant application due date.

The New York State Invasive Species Council, comprising nine agencies, recently adopted a new Invasive Species Comprehensive Management Plan, with assistance from a 25-member Invasive Species Advisory Committee. The Invasive Species Grant Program will provide opportunities to implement various actions identified under the eight focal initiatives around which the Plan is framed.

New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky, chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "Protecting the health of our state's ecosystems is critical to preserving our planet and its natural resources. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos for their continued investment in the vitality of our environment and look forward to seeing the fruits of this grant mitigate the effects of invasive species, from the mountains of the Adirondacks to the waterways of Long Island."

New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "When it comes to invasive species, the cost of doing nothing is absolutely higher than tackling them head on with grant programs such as this. The wellbeing of New York's precious natural resources is incredibly important to the overall health of our environment and economy. These grants, working in partnership with municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and academic institutions, can help protect the native plants and animals that are threatened by invasive species."

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