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Dear Acting Fish and Wildlife Director Gould and EPA Administrator Jackson, I write to urge that you

immediately address a serious threat to the nations lakes and waterways known as hydrilla, an invasive plant that can clog and destroy economically important water bodies across New York and the United States. First, I urge the release of a $380,000 federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant to the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District (TCSWD) that is needed to act on a statepermitted early treatment plan that can only be implemented between May 28th and July 1st of this year. Second, I urge that your two agencies work together with local officials in New York to craft a longer-term, multi-year plan to combat the hydrilla in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Hydrilla is a pervasive, choking aquatic plant that has unfortunately very recently made its first appearance in the Great Lakes water system via the Cayuga Inlet in the Ithaca region of New York State. If it is allowed to spread, history tell us that this invasive plant could become very densely packed throughout the entire Finger Lakes and into the Great Lakes water system, making navigation difficult-to-impossible and devastating waterbased ecosystems and regional economies. According to research provided to my office by Tompkins County and their academic partners at Cornell University, the window to implement an early but long-term eradication scheme for hydrilla is closing fast. Hydrilla spreads at a remarkable pace of 6 to 8 inches a day. A single stem can grow 268 feet in a matter of five weeks. In their estimation, if eradication is not achieved in this calendar year, costs will grow exponentially and the probability of invasion into larger waterways will increase significantly. They predict that without an immediate and aggressive multi-year treatment regimen, the plant will spread throughout the Finger Lakes and into the Great Lakes. Canals, inlets, tributaries and shallow lake areas would become unnavigable, preventing recreation and commerce and ruining the ecology of affected aquatic areas. According to TCSWD and their technical advisors from Cornell University, stems of hydrilla have been spotted in the past week of approximately a quarter of an inch and with warmer weather approaching, fast growth throughout Cayuga Inlet will occur if the temporary treatment plan is not implemented. It is my understanding that a contract for over $1 million between USFWS and the Finger Lakes Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FLLOWPA), an alliance of 25 NY counties who are part of the Finger Lakes Lake Ontario basin, has not been finalized. Subsequently, the $380,000 sub-contract with TCSWD cannot be completed. Therefore, it is imperative that this matter be expeditiously resolved. The Finger Lakes region of New York represents a $600 million economic impact for my state. Moreover, the multi-state Great Lakes region counts on billions of dollars of economic activity generated by the Great Lakes each year. As members of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Task Force, I strongly believe that you should consider developing a specific and targeted long-range plan to combat hydrilla consistent with the GLRIs zero tolerance policy towards new invasive species. Combating invasive species has been a focal point of the historic GLRI created by the President and Congress in 2010. In addition to instituting a zero tolerance policy towards the introduction of new invasive species into the Great Lakes water system, one of the GLRIs stated goals is to have an effective program of integrated pest management for invasive species developed and implemented. As you are aware, a significant amount of federal resources are currently being spent to combat the dreaded Asian Carp. I, along with my colleagues from Great Lakes states, commend you for that effort. However, another formidable opponent has materialized and demands swift action. The consequences of inaction on hydrilla could amount to an economic Armageddon for local economies. The estimation of cost for a multi-year plan are minimal compared to the potential scope of economic damage resulting from inaction. Tompkins County estimates that a minimum 5-year plan at a cost of $1 million or less per year is required to aggressively treat hydrilla through herbicides and other treatment options such as benthic. The reactive approach, as the State of Floridas experience dictates, costs that state approximately $30

million per year to mow paths through the matts of hydrilla and periodically treat with herbicides to prevent complete clogging of their precious waterways. At the time of this letter, the scourge that is hydrilla in New York and the Finger Lakes and Great Lakes water systems has been contained to one inlet in Cayuga Lake, but with the recent discovery of growth that could soon be a much larger and broader problem. With your help and with the resources provided by Congress to the Great Lakes Restoration initiative I hope we can eradicate it there in its tracks. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my staff in Washington D.C. Sincerely, Charles E. Schumer U.S. Senator