TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the soil and water conservation
districts law, in relation to authorizing directors of soil and water
conservation districts to carry out preventative and control measures
for the spread of invasive species
Authorizes directors of soil and water conservation districts to
implement preventative and control measures for the spread of invasive
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill amends Section 9 of the soil and water
conservation districts law by adding a new subdivision 16 allowing
soil and water conservation districts to carry out preventative and
control measures for the spread of invasive species in the commitment
to the principles and practices of preservation and conservation of
the soil and water resources of this state and to the policies set
forth in section two of the current chapter.
Section 2 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.
Invasive species pose a significant threat to our state's natural
resources because they can threaten natural habitats, displace or
erradicate native species, and contaminate our waters, forests and
farms. Solid and Water Conservation districts have proven to be an
invaluable tool in preserving and protecting New York's soil, water
and other natural resources.
In 2012, 24 of 58 Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) reported
involvement in invasive species control. Of those 62 projects were to
combat invasive weeds. Further, in 2012, SWCD treated 6,551.5 acres
for invasive species.
Warren County SWCD is combating Asian clams in Lake George, while
Tompkins SWCD is addressing the Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake. The Onondaga
SWCD is heavily involved in the efforts to inventory and treat trees
impacted by the notorious Emerald Ashe Boer.
Other well known invasives being addressed by SWCDs include: the Spiny
Water Flea, Eurasian Water Milfoil, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Purple
Loosestrife, Giant Hog Weed, Japanese Knotweed, Black Swallow Wart,
Japanese Honeysuckle, Mile a Minute Vine, Garlic mustard, Viburum Leaf
Beetle, and the European Boer.
The State's SWCDs are sought after by municipalities, farmers, and the
general public, and a natural fit for Invasive Species control due to
their technical ability to identify, eradicate and control the spread
of invasives. In addition, SWCDs, as nonregulatory entities, are able
to access private and public lands, as well as write and administer
grants for education and eradication programs.
As the challenges of invasives grows, and continue to spread
throughout the state, the demand far SWCD technical knowledge will
only increase. When the Department of Conservation's staffing cuts are
also taken into account, the SWCD involvement with helping to stop
invasives is even more critical.
At the request of the SWCDs, this legislation provides statutory
authority for them to continue preventative and control measures, such
as the remediation and education programs already implemented. These
programs focus on identification, eradication, prevention and
education about invasives. This legislation will ensure that they can
continue to provide these critical services.
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