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Protecting Keuka Lake from invasive species

The recent infestation of the highly invasive macroalgae starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) in and near Keuka Lake felt its second blow in the two-part campaign to control its growth. The first was by machine harvesting in late August in the Keuka Lake Outlet and marsh at Penn Yan. The latest was by a group of volunteers from multiple organizations who hand-harvested in the mouth of Sugar Creek at Branchport.

Volunteer Keuka College and Penn Yan students used borrowed rakes and bins to do the harvesting. The Keuka Lake Association provided the paid time of Watercraft Steward Chris Gilbert to serve as an on-site technical assistant. The Finger Lakes Museum donated the use of their kayaks and 4×4 tractor/loader and driver, with FLM’s Pat Atkinson as coordinator and assistant.

The infestation along the banks of Sugar Creek was discovered by Yates County Cornell Cooperative Extension educator Emily Staychock and Keuka Lake Association Watercraft Steward coordinator Laura Henderson in September 2016. In July this year, KLA Watercraft Steward Chris Gilbert discovered that this infestation had spread into Keuka Lake where the Creek meets the Lake. A subcommittee of the Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative (KWIC) including Jerusalem Supervisor Pat Killen, Yates County Legislator Mark Morris, Dennis Carlson, KLA Board Member Tim Cutler, Town of Wayne Supervisor and KWIC Chairman Steve Butchko, and Emily Staychock, explored possibilities for managing these infestations.

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