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Grants Approved From NYPA Fund for Environmental Education and Research Projects Involving St. Lawrence River Watershed

Contact:
Karen White
315-764-0226, ext. 863
karen.white@nypa.gov

March 20, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 MASSENA—Four projects that will contribute to appreciation and understanding of the St. Lawrence River ecosystem are among the first to benefit from the St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund (SLRREF), which the New York Power Authority (NYPA) established as part of its relicensing of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in 2003.  

Earlier this month, the SLRREF board approved $70,171 in funding for the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau, Friends of the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center, the Great Rivers Center at Clarkson University, and St. Lawrence University. The proposed projects will also receive $31,100 in matching funds from other sources. 

“I’m looking forward to the innovative projects that will result from these grants,” Roger B. Kelley, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said. “These initiatives will enhance what we know about the St. Lawrence River watershed in the immediate vicinity of our St. Lawrence-FDR project, and provide new educational experiences for North Country residents and visitors.” 

The SLRREF board consists of representatives of the Power Authority, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York Rivers United, the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Education Services, the St. Lawrence County Planning Office, the St. Lawrence-Adirondack Audubon Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local municipalities.

The funding approved for the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau—$17,615—is for a program involving its Youth Conservation Corps. A team of students referred to as Wetland Watchers will work outdoors this summer monitoring and managing invasive species along the St.Lawrence River and providing the public with strategies for invasive species prevention. The students’ ages range from 14 to 21.

Joanne Sevick, director of the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau, noted that Wetland Watchers joined with NYPA in 2007 to monitor and collect data on invasive species.

“The continuation of the Wetland Watchers program will provide interesting and valuable experiences for our students in community education, natural-resource and information management and invasive species management, along with enhancing workplace skills,” Sevick said.

Friends of the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center will apply its $14,485 SLRREF grant to its Woods and Water Learning Project. The project includes completion of a self-guiding nature trail and development of a program on the plants and animals along the trail and on its geology.

 “The funding for the completion of the nature trail will allow community members of all ages and physical abilities to gain awareness and understanding of the relationship between the woodland areas of Robert Moses State Park and the St. Lawrence River,” said Mary Danboise, executive director of the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center. “We will also create a variety of learning tools in partnership with area educators.”

The Great Rivers Center at Clarkson University will use its SLRREF funding of $19,129 for research on lower food web processes that are critical to the St. Lawrence River ecosystem and its fish communities. 

“This fundamental information will provide knowledge to make predictions of how the ecosystem could be affected by climate change, water level fluctuations or invasive species,” Dr. Michael Twiss, director of the Great Rivers Center, said.

St. Lawrence University will use its SLRREF grant of $18,942 to study the abundance and composition of bottom-dwelling organisms, assess major environmental conditions along the riverbed and investigate potential roles of exotic species in regulating mercury and botulism levels in the St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

“The funding from the St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund will allow us to study how the introduction of exotic species into the stretch of the river from Waddington to Massena is affecting the fish and waterfowl that are part of the river ecosystem,” said Brad Baldwin, associate professor of biology at St. Lawrence University.  

To be eligible for financial support from the SLRREF, proposed projects must pertain to the St. Lawrence River, the adjoining terrestrial features or a tributary within the St. Lawrence River Valley. The deadline for the next application submissions is July 1.

Additional details are available at www.nypa.gov/facilities/stlaw.htm, where a report on SLRREF activities is also accessible.

 

 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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