The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) has been awarded a $19,000 matching grant from the Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership Grants program to expand successful efforts of controlling and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the Upper Saranac Lake (USL) watershed at Fish Creek Campground.

The Fish Creek AIS Spread Prevention and Containment Project combats invasive species to improve water quality and maintain native species in their natural habitats, ensuring the sustainability of our natural public resources for future generations. The program protects economic value through recreation, tourism, sportsmanship, and second home ownership by providing clear waterways. Removal and control of AIS in Fish Creek, upstream of the campground, protects downstream waters from infestation and helps prevent the export of AIS to non-infested waters.

USF will support this project by matching funding and services, for a project budget total of $26,000.

The Fish Creek AIS Spread Prevention and Containment Project is part of a larger watershed protection program, developed by the USF, that uses a combination of AIS prevention, monitoring, management, control activities, and education to inhibit AIS spread.

The grant is one of 29 awards totaling $900,000 for organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York’s state parks, historic sites, trails, and public lands. The grants will be matched by over $300,000 in private and local funding and will support projects to strengthen friends groups and enhance public access and recreational opportunities.

Nonprofit organizations such as the Upper Saranac Foundation are essential to the stewardship and promotion of our state park system. The Park and Trail Partnership Grants are administered by Parks & Trail New York, a statewide nonprofit organization, in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

“It’s inspiring to see the transformational effect of the Park and Trail Partnership Grants and how they are enhancing the ability of friends groups to make an even greater contribution to the stewardship of New York’s great outdoor spaces,” said Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin. “These grant funds will enable groups to leverage more private and federal funding, marshal more volunteer power, and augment the state’s historic investment in parks, trails and other public outdoor places.”

USF has been successfully managing AIS since 2004. Through the efforts of hand harvesting by divers, the annual poundage removed on USL has been reduced from 18 tons in 2004 to under 300 pounds in 2019. Further expansion of AIS prevention within the watershed will assist in decreasing AIS impacts on USL.

This project is consistent with USF goals of providing clear waterways and maintaining the natural character, environmental quality, and recreational enjoyment of the Upper Saranac watershed. USF is committed to the long-term sustainability of this project and will support ongoing AIS management efforts at this location past the initial harvest period.

For more information on this project visit the USF website at usfoundation.net and for Park and Trail Partnership Grants visit ptny.org.