Schuyler proposes invasive species law
SCHUYLER COUNTY—The Schuyler County Legislature introduced a local law designed to inhibit the spread of invasive aquatic species at their regular meeting held on Monday, June 11. Local Law No. 4 of the Year 2012 will make it illegal to “launch or attempt to launch in Schuyler County a watercraft into a waterbody with any aquatic invasive species or other plant or animal, or parts thereof, visible to the human eye in, on or attached to any part of the watercraft.” A public hearing on the law will be held on July 9 at 6:45 p.m. in the legislative chambers.
The legislature determined that initiating a law of this nature was necessary because the aquatic invasive species, “displace native species,” “alter natural ecosystems,” and “cause negative environmental and economic impacts for Schuyler County.” If the law passes, anyone intending to launch a boat will be prohibited from doing so if the boat shows signs of Asian clam, Eurasian water milfoil, zebra mussels or any other aquatic invasive species. The law will also require that anyone leaving a launch site after pulling their watercraft from the water must remove any aquatic invasive species found on the watercraft or in the bilgewater prior to exiting the boat launch area, with such removed items to be discarded away from the shoreline. There are limited exceptions to the law for special, specific purposes.
Violators of the proposed law will be issued appearance tickets by the Schuyler County Sheriff and could face fines up to $5,000 along with the possibility of an up to 15-day jail sentence. The minimum fine will be set at $500. The proposed law determines that, “[u]ltimately, residents and visitors to Schuyler County alike are negatively impacted by the decline of water bodies subjected to aquatic invasive species. It is the intent of this law to protect the ecology of water bodies wholly or partially located and/or accessed in Schuyler County by preventing the introduction of any aquatic invasive species and therefore helping to protect the environment and economy of Schuyler County.” The vote on whether or not to enact the law will be held on July 9 following the public hearing.
In other business:
• The legislature voted to dedicate the Schuyler County Courthouse to the recently passed Honorable William N. Ellison, “in recognition of his years of dedication and exemplary service.” Ellison was first and the only Schuyler County attorney to be elected to the New York Supreme Court, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. Judge Ellison passed away on May 23, 2012. The courthouse will be renamed in his honor and a plaque will be placed at the facility.
• Subject to the approval of the Schuyler County Attorney, the legislature voted to purchase a four acre parcel in the town of Hector from Suit-Kote Corporation for the assessed value of $17,200. The site will be used for the placement of a radio tower to enhance the emergency services communication. The parcel is currently used by the sheriff’s communication system.
• The legislature, acting as lead agency, completed its State Environmental Quality Review for issuance of permits to Watkins Glen International, Inc. to hold outdoor events for public entertainment. The legislature found that issuing the permits for the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, to be held July 13 to July 15, and the NASCAR event to be held Aug. 9 to Aug. 12, will not result in any significant negative environmental impacts. Therefore, a negative declaration of environmental impact was issued, allowing the events to proceed.
The next meeting of the legislature is scheduled for Monday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the legislative chambers.