DEC Awards OEI Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Grant

On behalf of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) awarded OEI funding through the Invasive Species Grant Program. Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention projects help deploy watercraft stewards to conduct voluntary boat inspections and deliver education and outreach to recreational boaters to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. OEI’s “Central New York Watercraft Steward Program” project was approved for $99,182; and will run through the 2019-2021 seasons. Multiple Boat Stewards and one Lead Boat Steward & Educator will be hired, and OEI will partner with Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC), the Onondaga Yacht Club, Sea Scouts, local teachers, the Oneida Lake Association, Onondaga County Parks and the Finger Lakes Institute.

OEI’s objectives in this project are to:
1. Work with partners to enlist individuals to participate in training to become watercraft stewards or assistant watercraft stewards;
2. Cooperate with regional partners at the Finger Lakes Institute and the Finger Lakes PRISM to offer training to boat stewards;
3. Update a training program for assistant boat stewards based upon the DEC standardized training;
4. Deploy and supervise stewards to educate boaters, conduct boat inspections, and decontaminate boats;
5. Educate boaters about how to manage their boat in a manner that prevents the spread of AIS;
6. Work with private marinas to distribute educational materials; and
7. Collect and share data that can be used to inform prevention and control at local and regional levels.