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For Release: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DEC Commissioner Seggos Announces Request for Proposals to Administer Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that the state is seeking proposals for an entity to administer the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Spread Prevention Program. The program will provide essential support to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout Adirondacks through a network of boat stewards and decontamination stations.

"Aquatic invasive species pose a significant threat to the pristine waters of the Adirondacks, which are the backbone of the area's world-class fishing, boating and paddling," Commissioner Seggos said. "The new administrator of this vital program will have the opportunity to encourage greater collaboration and coordination among state, local and regional partners to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and minimize the environmental and economic harm they cause."

With more than 2,300 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles of rivers, and 30,000 miles of brooks and streams, the Adirondack region is particularly vulnerable to the introduction of AIS. Once established, species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil can spread rapidly through connecting waterways or by "hitchhiking" on recreational boat equipment, including propellers, trailers, rudders, and motors. Strategically placed boat stewards will help prevent the spread of AIS by educating boaters on how to properly identify and remove AIS, and performing voluntary boat and equipment inspections.

In response to the growing threat of AIS in the Adirondack region, Governor Cuomo initiated a pilot program in 2015 to prevent the spread of AIS in the Adirondacks, bringing together more than 60 conservation groups, owners associations, and local and state governments are collaborating on this pilot program. In the first year of the program, which was organized by Paul Smiths College, 12 new boat decontamination stations were installed and boat stewards were placed at 14 new boat launches within the Adirondack Park.

DEC's Request for Proposal (RFP) seeks an administrator to continue to deliver AIS services within and in the close vicinity of the Adirondack Park boundary for a minimum of three years, with two optional one-year extensions. With a strong emphasis on AIS-infested waters such as Lake Champlain and Great Sacandaga Lake, the RFP aims to protect and prevent the further spread of AIS to vulnerable waterbodies. The state has dedicated funding through the Environmental Protection Fund to support the winning applicant in implementation of this program.

Through the AIS program, DEC will implement the recommendations of the New York Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (AISMP) (PDF, 1.19 MB). Top priorities in the AISMP call for expanding boat steward programs and ensuring consistency of steward program delivery. Boat stewards help prevent the spread of AIS through boating activities by delivering AIS spread prevention education and outreach, conducting courtesy boat and trailer inspections and showing boaters how to inspect and remove plants and organisms from their boats, trailers and other equipment.

The deadline to submit a proposal to this RFP is October 14, 2016. For more information and to view the Request for Proposal, contact isinfo@dec.ny.gov or call 518-402-9405.

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