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Friday, April 17, 2015

DEM offers grants to fight invasive species in lakes and ponds

Deadline is May 8

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces the availability of grant funding to aid projects that control aquatic invasive plants in freshwater lakes and ponds.

This is the second year of a DEM initiative to provide financial assistance using proceeds of a state environmental bond approved by voters in 2012 that provided a continuation of funding for the Narragansett Bay and Watershed Restoration Fund Program.

It is a competitive solicitation that will lead to the award of grants to assist with implementation of projects to effectively reduce, control and manage the growth of aquatic invasive plants in order to restore habitat conditions and enhance other beneficial uses of lakes and ponds including public recreation.

"This initiative is being continued in response to needs of local lake associations and other groups that are working hard to protect and restore conditions in our lakes and ponds," said DEM Director Janet Coit.

"Rhode Island’s lakes are vital to our environment and our economy - as places that support popular public outdoor recreational activities and draw many visitors to our state."

Grants will provide reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the project costs to control and manage invasive species consistent with a management plan.

Grants may be awarded to eligible project sponsors such as lake associations, watershed councils, municipalities, state, local and regional government agencies as well as nonprofit agencies with appropriate administrative capacity.

Eligible projects include, but are not limited to mechanical control actions and herbicide applications. The deadline for submitting proposals is Friday May 8, 2015.

Aquatic invasive species are non-native plants and animals that have been introduced either accidentally or intentionally into lakes or ponds where their voracious growth can cause problematic conditions in our local waters.

DEM has found at least one or more invasive plant in 88 lakes throughout the state.
Invasive aquatic plants often out-compete native species and because they have no natural predators and can easily reproduce, they grow rapidly and unchecked into dense beds of vegetation that degrade lake conditions.

Aquatic invasive species threaten the diversity or abundance of native species, alter fish and wildlife habitat, disrupt local food webs, and can cause declines in water quality.

Excessive growth of aquatic invasive plants often interferes with recreational water activities such as swimming, paddling, boating and fishing, and they present a significant management concern because of their ecological and socio-economic costs.

More information on this funding opportunity, including the RFP and application form, is available on DEM website at Materials are also available at DEM's Office of Water Resources at 235 Promenade Street in Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For questions, call DEM's Office of Water Resources at 401-222-4700 and speak with Katie DeGoosh at ext.7211 or Sue Kiernan at ext.7600.