Yates County getting funds to battle invasive aquatic species

Yates County is getting grant money to combat an aquatic invasive species that sounds like something out of a Harry Potter movie.

The $35,800 grant was awarded through the first round of funding under New York’s Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control Grant Program. It will be used for mechanical harvesting of starry stonewort in the Keuka Lake Outlet.

The funds will be administered by the Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative (KWIC), which strives to improve water quality in Keuka Lake. The organization is chaired by Steve Butchko, supervisor for the town of Wayne in Steuben County.

Butchko said starry stonewort thrives in sediment that gets washed into the outlet by creeks and streams.

“Keuka Lake has a stone bottom, so it’s not so bad in the lake itself,” he said. “The outlet is another story due to the sediment.”

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