Volunteers Community Partners
By January 5, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Going far, together

One of my favorite African proverbs states: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. This summer has been a testament to working together. We have accomplished much across the region in a short period. Now, we can take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and refocus our lens as we move into the strategic portion of the year for the FL-PRISM. Below is a recap of some of the summer’s top projects.

Water chestnut invasion of Braddock Bay

In 2013, while leading a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded Coastal Wetlands Monitoring project for the College at Brockport, Brad Mudrzynski noticed the aquatic invader. Not a ton, but enough to cause concern among his colleagues and enough to warrant control efforts. Brad was able to get his team to pull the water chestnut during the short period of time when they were not sampling along the Lake Ontario coastline in New York and Canada. After consulting with the managing NYS DEC Biologist, the team picked every plant they encountered in 2013. When sampling took the crew back to Braddock Bay in 2014, they were stunned to find that the cove near the marina was besieged with water chestnut.

The FL-PRISM helped coordinate five hand-pull events in collaboration with the NYS DEC, NYS Parks, The College at Brockport, the Nature Conservancy, the Genesee Valley Audubon Society and community members. Over five days, close to 30 people spent ~500 person-hours removing five tons of water chestnut from Braddock Bay. The support from the community was overwhelming; local residents brought boats, canoes, and chest waders from their personal arsenal and dedicated hours to help fight the invasive. We received donations for breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Horton’s, and pizzas from Pontillos and the Genesee Valley Audubon Society. Our gratitude is overflowing for our volunteers and community partners on this project. However, we know this will not be the last of the water chestnut. While we were able to pull most of the plants, many nutlets dropped and are sure to cause many rosettes next season. Luckily, our volunteers will be ready and willing to tackle this menace.



Veronica Schmidt of the Nature Conservancy pulling water chestnut from Braddock Bay, Monroe County. Photo courtesy of June Summers



Water chestnut being removed by the Town of Greece, Monroe County, for composting. The Town of Greece, in anticipation of the need to remove ash tree, has created a composting area for infested plant materials. Photo credit: Hilary Mosher


Katie Des Jardin (The College at Brockport), Brad Mudrzynski (The College at Brockport), Greg Lawrence (NYS DEC), and Hilary Mosher (FL-PRISM) removing water chestnut at Braddock Bay. Photo used with permission. Credit: Katie Lovering

Invasive Species Outreach

If you build it, (t)he(y) will come (Field of Dreams, 1989). And they did! We held events and the community eagerly attended to learn about invasive species. The FL-PRISM partners provided outreach for the numerous events that occur over the summer. The BassMaster Elite tournament offered a valuable opportunity to engage attendees about the dangers of Hydrilla currently being controlled in the Cayuga Inlet. Andy Rindfleisch, from the Union Springs Chamber of Commerce welcomed the outreach saying it was ‘great to have (us) on board, it’s a very important program’. Indeed. Hydrilla control costs hundreds of thousands of dollars each year at the south end of Cayuga Lake to treat the infestation and the end is nowhere in sight! See http://www.cayugalake.org/hydrilla-resources.html for more information.


Tabetha Garver-Mosher, Brenna Richardson, and Katie Richardson helping to spread the word about Hydrilla at the BassMaster Elite tournament in Union Springs. Photo credit: Hilary Mosher


The Floating Classroom hosted Hydrilla Hunter cruises in Ithaca and in the northern portion of Cayuga Lake. An estimated 60 people attended and have been trained to monitor for Hydrilla and interest has been high for more cruises this fall for community members. This highly visible activity brings awareness to volunteers and property owners who encounter the Hydrilla Hunter cruise.


Intern on the Floating Classroom shows participants how to throw a rake toss to collect macrophytes on the Floating Classroom Hydrilla Hunter cruise, Cayuga Lake, August 5th, 2014. Photo credit: Hilary Mosher


Volunteer, Liz McCheyne, 5th grade Science and ELA teacher from South Seneca School District, learning to identify different macrophytes in a plant sample taken by rake toss on the Hydrilla Hunt cruise, August 5th, 2014. Photo credit: Hilary Mosher


The community, lake association members, students at The College at Brockport, and NYS Parks employees at Ganondagan State Historic Site were trained in the use of iMap Invasives and received an overview of the top priority invasive species in the area. In the Finger Lakes, over 100 people were trained on the use of this online, GIS-based software this year and can now recognize invasive species in our area. The power in this program is in its use. The more people that can utilize the software to map invasives, the better we can understand and tackle the invasives in our region.

Community members also attended invasive species events at presentations in Monroe County (Cornell Cooperative Extension), Wayne County (What Lurks Beneath, Sodus Pt), Steuben County (Loon Lake), and the College at Brockport. Other presentations occurred in Ontario and Yates County for TNC who presented their ‘What Lurks Beneath’ program to packed halls. Participation rates are testament to the community’s desire for information about invasive species. More is needed, of course, but with this partnership, we can leverage support from institutions of higher education, research facilities, governmental agencies, NGOs, and farmers, to stand tall in the face of invasives.

Big News!

The New York Invasive Species Research Institute, established in 2008 with funding from the NYS DEC, has recently appointed Carrie Brown-Lima as the Coordinator. Brown-Lima looks to define and implement creative strategies to promote conservation and sustainability, including market-based incentives for conservation in New York State. This is exciting news for the State and for our region. Carrie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from working the past 17 years in natural resource conservation and management in the United States and Latin America. With this powerful partnership in place, the Finger Lakes are poised to implement cutting-edge strategies to reduce invasive species and increase conservation. We are looking forward to working with the Institute and Carrie!

The Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management is making strides in combatting the introduction and spread of invasive species. With four working groups and a steering committee, the infrastructure is lining up for maximum effectiveness and efficiency in dealing with invasive species. We will soon be contracting to launch a website in the same design as long-standing PRISMs: APIPP and SLELO and the FL-PRISM is funding six projects from various partners for invasive species assessments around the region. Finally, at the end of this month, the Steering Committee will meet for two days to develop a strategic plan for the FL-PRISM. This plan will guide the work and set priorities and impacts.

If you have not done so already, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and sign up for our listserve by sending a note to: cce-flprism-l-request@cornell.edu with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line. Together, we can be all things great!



BassMaster Elite tournament held in Union Springs, August 21st-24th saw hundreds of boats from across the country come to Cayuga Lake. A strong effort was undertaken to educate this community about the impact of aquatic invasive species on lake health, specifically, to the fishing! Photo credit: Hilary Mosher



Heading out to survey for Asian clam in Owasco Lake with Cayuga County, August 8th, 2014. Photo credit: Hilary Mosher







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