Senator Ritchie Wins Budget Fight For Region’s Waters

The new state budget will include funding to battle pervasive weed problems in Fulton’s Lake Neatahwanta, the Oswego River and Black Lake in St. Lawrence County, and to help improve safety and navigation in Henderson Harbor’s critical “cut” to Lake Ontario.

The funding was secured by Senator Patty Ritchie and included in a budget agreement announced Monday.

“Local communities, outdoorsmen and people who enjoy the open waters of Central and Northern New York have been working for years to help improve quality and access to these waters, which are among the most beautiful in the world, and key to the preservation and growth of new jobs through tourism and increased enjoyment by the public,” Senator Ritchie said.

“I am pleased to announce that this funding is being made available to help solve serious problems that have been plaguing these areas for such a long time, and that can only benefit from these additional resources,” Senator Ritchie said.

The funding – $275,000 for Lake Neatahwanta and the Oswego River; $60,000 for the “cut,” and $50,000 for Black Lake – will come from the state’s Conservation Fund, which collects fees from the sales of sportsmen’s licenses, fees and fines for the purpose of promoting outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing.

An additional $500,000 will be targeted to increase fish and game stocking throughout the state.

The city of Fulton and neighboring town of Granby have been struggling for years to contain an explosive growth of water chestnuts in the 750-acre Lake Neatahwanta, which is popular with swimmers, fishermen and boaters. Similarly, Black Lake communities are struggling with an invasion of milfoil.

In Henderson Harbor, charter fishing captains worry about sediment buildup that threatens to make the “cut” impassable, requiring a miles-long detour into lake Ontario at significant added expense.

Senator Ritchie has been working with the affected communities for months to find solutions.