More than $1 million pumped into Finger Lakes Institute over the past year is funding several big projects to protect area waterways. Among those: Eradicating invasive species and controlling algae.
The funds flowing to the institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will bolster research, education, and methods of tackling these threats to wildlife, water quality and human health.
The biggest chunk of funding, $598,960 from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, will fight the invasive water plant, Hydrilla verticillata, in Cayuga Lake. The goal is to eradicate the plant from 30 acres of the lake. Institute Director Lisa Cleckner said more than 1,100 community members, students and citizen scientists will be involved in everything from surveys to workshops.
“The prevention and control of highly invasive hydrilla leads to long-term ecological benefits for the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem,” stated Cleckner. Hydrilla infestation chokes out native plants; can alter water chemistry; can interfere with boating, swimming and fishing; and clogs water control pumping stations.