Cortland County – Stop the Invasion

Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD), in collaboration with C-OFOKLA and SUNY ESF, won a 3-year grant from DEC to develop and deploy a self-propagating outreach and boat-steward program serving Cortland County and its public boat launches.

This program will expand and leverage several existing programs, including the SWCD Field Conservation Days and C-OFOKLA Speaker Series. We will develop a program that will be based on the following components and maintain continuity in outreach by using established DEC standards and materials:

  1. Boat stewards
    1. Boat stewards will be hired and trained at the Finger Lakes Institute, using standard SEAGRANT programs, to monitor boat launches on a rotating schedule. We propose to hire 2 stewards in the first year and increase that to 3 in years two three.
    2. Signage – All targeted boat launches will have signs and educational material using the approved DEC AIS Outreach and Educational Materials (
    3. We will construct an AIS Disposal Station at Little York Lake using standard DEC plans:
  2. Outreach
    1. Stewards will canvas riparian owners and provide various outreach materials to educate boat owners.
    2. We propose to provide an annual session during the C-OFOKLA Speakers Series on AIS and boat maintenance. These sessions have historically reached 75-100 people.
    3. We will also develop localized printed materials and a corresponding web site to disseminate information to riparian owners and the Cortland County community.
  3. School Programs
    1. We will collaborate with the school systems in Cortland County to provide educational materials and programs designed by ESF to each school system, fostering stewardship ethics in the rising generation. By year 2 we will have the program in place in at least one district. Priority for boat steward hires will be given to program graduates.
    2. We will leverage our existing elementary school program to reach 6th graders and introduce them to the concepts of AIS.
  4. Program Promotion
    1. We will provide a consistent brand and fundraising/promotion programs as part of the overall design. This design will be consistent with and support of DEC branding and ensure continuity in outreach while providing enhanced engagement through localization.
    2. Our goal will be to make this self-funding at the end of the 3-year award period.

The total funding award over 3 years is $100,000 which will be matched by $33,000 of in-kind and local services.