PROTECT OUR WATER AND LAND FROM INVASIVE SPECIES
YOU CAN HELP OCCA PREVENT THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE SPECIES
An invasive species is a non-native plant or animal whose introduction to an ecosystem causes or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. Invasive species threaten the ecological balance of our lands and waters. OCCA is at the forefront of invasive species prevention, control and eradication efforts in Otsego County.
Invasive species cost New York State hundreds of millions of dollars each year in direct control costs and in lost revenue. OCCA has made preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species a top priority.
INVASIVE SPECIES THREATEN OUR MOST BEAUTIFUL AND IMPORTANT HABITATS
Water chestnut (Trapa natans) is a hardy, invasive plant capable of rapidly taking over water bodies if left unchecked. Since 2006 – at a cost of more than $100,000 – OCCA has worked with the Goodyear Lake Association to organize multiple hand-harvesting programs each year on Goodyear Lake and the Upper Susquehanna River. Where there were once large mats of water chestnut covering almost five acres of water surface, there are now only widely-scattered patches (see photo comparisons at left).
WE’RE PULLING FOR YOU
Since the seeds of the water chestnut can remain viable for up to 12 years, it is critical to continue to monitor and eradicate any plants that remain or the water chestnut will re-establish itself in these habitats. OCCA’s “We’re Pulling For You” program coordinates eight hand-harvesting dates each summer and operates at a cost of more than $6,000 annually which includes staff time, equipment, administration, volunteer time, and educational materials.
HOW WILL YOUR MONEY HELP?
Hand harvesting of water chestnut is just one of the projects supported through donations to this campaign. Monies raised here will also be used to fund in part the following programs OCCA directly implements, provides support for and/or provides funding for, as they relate to aquatic and terrestrial invasive species:
- implementation of a public education campaign on “clean, drain and dry” best management practices to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, including public service announcements, television commercials, the “Pledge to Clean, Drain and Dry” and other informational materials.
- eradication of water chestnut in the Upper Susquehanna watershed including Goodyear Lake, Oneonta Swamp, and other locations as the need arises, in partnership with Goodyear Lake Association, Headwaters Youth Conservation Corps, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.
- funding of the boat inspection programs run by Canadarago Lake Improvement Association and the Village of Cooperstown.
- funding of 10 interns: three monitoring the Upper Susquehanna Watershed under the supervision of the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station; three watershed stewards focusing specifically on invasive species prevention and education under the direction of the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association; and four OCCA interns who focus onwater quality projects, research, and other programs.
- funding of one Lake Management Masters’ Program student at SUNY Oneonta, focusing on Goodyear Lake.
- distribution of informational materials through signage, brochures and mailings, website content, press releases, eco-bulletins, and social media.
- organization of the Otsego Lakes Festival and Lake Appreciation Day, events to celebrate Otsego County’s water bodies and educate about the importance of protecting this county’s waterways and water quality throughout the region, in partnership with the Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee and with the Otsego Lake Association and Friends of Glimmerglass State Park, respectively.
- research and/or written comment on regional water quality issues, actions, and policies.
- presentation of EcoTeam activities for students ages 8 and up to involve youth in environmental conservation and education opportunities.
Other Initiatives and Activities
- work with 19 other county agencies and organizations toward the adoption of a county-wide aquatic invasive species transport law.
- participation as an Executive Board member for the Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee.
- participation as a member and regional partner with the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership.
- organization of Earth Festival, a collaborative event to bring greater awareness of regional environmental initiatives to the greater Otsego County population.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
By donating to this campaign, you also become an OCCA member. Just as donor support makes us stronger, membership numbers help us to leverage grant funding and statewide partnerships throughout the year.
If you prefer to make a donation by check, please mail to: OCCA, PO Box 931, Cooperstown, NY 13326 and note “Invasives” in the memo section.
For more information, contact Darla Youngs, Executive Director, at 607-547-4488 or [email protected]
OCCA (Otsego County Conservation Association) is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. To learn more about OCCA, visithttp://occainfo.org/.