Bantam and Candlewood Lake groups among DEEP grant recipients

DEEP recently announced its recipients of the second round of grants from its Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program, with $370,000 going to 15 projects aimed at reducing the impacts of aquatic invasive species on Connecticut’s inland waters, according to a report. communicated.

The Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program was made possible in 2019 when the Connecticut General Assembly established an Aquatic Invasive Species Tax, Public Law 19-190, applied to all registered boats using Connecticut waters. , to provide a dedicated funding source for Connecticut’s lakes, Rivers and Ponds Preservation Account, DEEP said. This account funds programs to protect the state‘s lakes, ponds, and rivers by addressing aquatic invasive species and cyanobacterial blooms.

According to DEEP, aquatic invasive species, such as the zebra mussel and hydrilla, pose a serious threat to our ecosystems. They negatively impact native plants and animals, they are extremely expensive to control, and the dense mats formed by invasive plants make boating, fishing, and swimming difficult. This directly impacts both the quality of outdoor recreation in Connecticut and the state’s outdoor recreation economy, of which boating and fishing are major contributors.

For this round of funding, DEEP had $370,000 to award for eligible monitoring, research, education and awareness projects. The maximum grant was $50,000. Larger grant requests of up to $75,000 were also considered, but only for exceptional and well-justified proposals. Matching funds were required and were to be equal to or greater than 25% of the total project cost, according to a statement.

Municipalities, state agencies, including state colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations were eligible to receive grants under this program. According to DEEP, eligible project proposals included carrying out a project to restore an inland state water body through monitoring and managing a population of aquatic invasive species; research projects aimed at improving understanding and knowledge of aquatic invasive species and/or cyanobacterial blooms (must have direct practical applicability to lakes, ponds, and rivers in Connecticut); and education and outreach projects intended to raise awareness of aquatic invasive species and/or harmful algal blooms in Connecticut and/or promote best practices to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in lakes , ponds and rivers of Connecticut. For control and management projects, the targeted species must have existed in the project water body as of December 7, 2021.

DEEP received a total of 26 project applications requesting funding. Of these, 15 projects were selected for funding based on our criteria. The projects receiving funding for this cycle are:

The Bantam Lake Protective Association of Bantam Lake received $18,638.68, to be used for a study and analysis of aeration alternatives for the lake at Morris and Litchfield.

The Candlewood Lake Authority, Candlewood Lake, received $31,104 for a stewardship program to educate boaters about invasive plants that threaten the lake.

The Lake Lillinonah Authority, Lake Lillinonah, received $12,374 for a weed control project.

Goshen received $9,500 to monitor, treat and remove aquatic plants from Dog Pond.

Western Connecticut State University and Candlewood Lake/Squantz Pond received $7,150 for a study of triploid grass carp behaviors at Candlewood Lake and the impacts of overcrowding at Squantz Pond.

DEEP is committed to reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species in Connecticut. In addition to the Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program, DEEP’s Fisheries Division has hired two seasonal Environmental Protection Assistants to serve as Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) stewards on the Connecticut River. In recent years, hydrilla and other AIS have become increasingly abundant in the Connecticut River. Left unchecked, AIS can displace native species and impact habitat quality, navigation, recreational opportunities, and property values. AIS Stewards will play a vital role in raising public awareness and preventing the spread of these species in both the Connecticut River and other waters through education and outreach. Their duties will include interacting with and educating boaters at boat launches along the Connecticut River about aquatic invasive species and clean boating practices; conduct voluntary inspections of boats and trailers as they enter and exit boat launch areas to check for and remove invasive aquatic plants and animals; and assisting with public awareness events.

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