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Your 5 Best Resources to Help Save Our Lakes

As reported in the Cortland Standard, “An invasive plant species is threatening to one day turn Little York Lake into a stagnant swamp.” If you’re like thousands of people in the Cortland area, you enjoy everything from boating, kayaking, swimming and fishing to the Independence Day fireworks at Little York. Imagine if it became unusable.

July 12-18 is the second annual New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW). In support of that we’ve identified 5 key resources you can use to help save our lakes.

Invasive species have become a significant problem in our area, costing money for control programs as well as impacting the various uses of the lakes. New York has enacted new laws and programs to combat invasive species including the new requirement for boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats before transportation or launch.

According to NYIS.info, a blog operated by Cornell’s Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant New York:

Invasive species affect all New Yorkers – from hikers to highway personnel, from birders to boaters and from farmers to foresters.

The mission of the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to help stop their spread by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state and encouraging them to take action.

Here are 5 key resources to help you save our lakes:

  1. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has a guide describing the most common aquatic invasive species. This guide includes pictures, a description, current known locations and suggestions for cleaning them.
  2. iMapInvasives is a program to help citizens report invasives they have spotted. There is a mobile app as well as a browser based interface and the program offers training on how to identify and report invasives. You can see the map of what has already been reported here.
  3. Various conservation and educational events are taking place, not only during ISAW, but year around. To see events in our area visit the Finger Lakes Partnership for Invasive Species Management (PRISM) where they have a comprehensive calendar.
  4. You might be surprised to learn that many of our invasives come from inadvertent release by aquarium owners and gardeners with water features. Learn more about this issue and how to better protect our environment at Habitattitude.
  5. One of the major ways that invasive species spread is by “hitchhiking” on watercraft, from kayaks to canoes and boats of all sizes. If you want to help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers read this page on the right way to Clean, Drain and Dry your gear at Protect Your Waters.

These sites also have many links to a wide variety of educational material and resources. Let us know by posting in the comments below if you find any sites that you think should be in our top 5 list.

Our lakes are valuable resources for all of us to use and enjoy. We hope you will join with the hundreds of residents and volunteers that help us keep our lakes as healthy and useful as possible. To learn more and become involved, visit our contact page and leave a message.

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