The Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds has issued a new policy statement strongly criticizing the reduction of funding by the state for aquatic invasive species spread prevention and control program. Although the Vermont legislature in 1978 recognized the critical threat posed to Vermont’s public waters by aquatic invasive species by passing Vermont’s Aquatic Nuisance Control law (10 V.S.A. Chapter 50), the state has never provided adequate funding or staffing to fulfill its statutory responsibility.
The waters of Vermont are held in trust by the state for the benefit of all its citizens. Aquatic invasive species are both an environmental and economic threat to our public waters. AIS is a pollutant that can permanently alter the aquatic ecosystem, squeeze out native species, inhibit recreation, and reduce water quality. Yet, the Aquatic Nuisance Control Grant-in-Aid program that provides partial funding for volunteer lake associations to run prevention and control programs has been level funded for decades and is now being cut in 2023 by 22%. With this cut, the state once again sidesteps its responsibility.
The Federation’s policy statement is a consensus of its board of directors, its auxiliary board, and its member associations. It urges the legislature and the Agency of Natural Resources to:
- Develop a consistent and adequate revenue stream to support Vermont’s aquatic invasive species management and control programs by developing new revenue sources along with increasing allocations from the General Fund.
- Strengthen the protection of lakes and ponds from aquatic invasive species by working with lake associations, municipalities, and other conservation organizations to implement greeter programs on those lakes currently lacking such a program, and to expand existing programs, including funding boat wash stations at as many public accesses as possible.
- Ensure that the state Aquatic Nuisance Control Program that supports our lake associations is fully staffed and that the Aquatic Nuisance Control Grant-in-Aid Program is fully funded.
- Vigorously enforce the state’s regulatory statutes and policies regarding aquatic invasive species transport and spread.
The spread of AIS has long been a serious problem for the state’s public waterbodies. Our volunteer lake associations are dedicated to do all we can to protect Vermont’s precious water resources but it is absolutely necessary that the state provide a reasonable level of funding to prevent the continued degradation of our precious water resources.
The complete text of the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds Statement Concerning the Reduction of Resources for Control of Aquatic Invasive Species can be found on our website: https://vermontlakes.org/policy-statements/
Contact: Pat Suozzi, President, Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds