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New York Power Authority and Senator Seward Announce Funding for Wetlands Research by SUNY Oneonta

Michael Saltzman
Steve Ramsey

September 5, 2006


COOPERSTOWN—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Senator James L. Seward (R-C-I, Milford) today announced $10,000 in funding for research by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta to control and monitor the growth of an invasive aquatic plant, the water chestnut, in an Otsego County wetlands area. 

On Tuesday, NYPA and Senator Seward presented ceremonial checks to the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station (BFS) by Otsego Lake, part of the New York State portion of the Susquehanna River Basin, whose upper watershed area has been impacted by the water chestnut.  

“The spread of water chestnuts—a nonnative species—is a real concern given its rapid growth over large areas that can impede other horticultural life along with recreational activities on waterways,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “Its growth can also pose problems for hydropower projects, such as NYPA’s Crescent and Vischer Ferry facilities on the Mohawk River.” 

“Excessive spread of water chestnuts have long-term, negative effects on our area's lakes and rivers, and who better to head up this effort than SUNY Oneonta's Biological Field Station. New York State Senate and the New York Power Authority are each providing $5,000 grants [for a total of $10,000] for the field station to study, monitor and control the invasive water chestnut,” said Senator Seward.  

"We are very appreciative for the support of the Power Authority and Senator Seward for our research,” said Dr. Willard N. Harman of SUNY Oneonta’s BFS. “It enables us to learn how to address, and then to stress the importance of controlling, aggressive exotic species that are a very real threat to the entire Susquehanna Drainage System and the Chesapeake Bay in economically and environmentally effective ways." 

Harman noted that water chestnuts can cover a large area, in a manner that resembles a dense floating mat. In doing so, they reduce the growth of other aquatic species and the passage of light for a balanced ecosystem. The sharp spines of the vegetation can also limit boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.  

The BFS’s multiyear study will help determine the effectiveness of the selective herbicide treatment, as an alternative to manual or mechanical removal of the water chestnuts or the remedies being part of a combined solution. Herbicide 2,4-D, used in the study, is approved by federal and state agencies.

The New York State Invasive Species Task Force, created by legislation signed into law by Governor Pataki in 2003, recognized water chestnuts as an invasive, nonnative species.

About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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