$100,000 in state funds headed for effort on Black Lake to fight Eurasian milfoil
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 2:49 pm

BLACK LAKE – The fight against the invasive species Eurasian milfoil in Black Lake got a boost with the announcement of $100,000 from the state to go toward the effort.

State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) announced the grant to help fight weeds on Black Lake, a popular spot for fishing, boating and outdoor recreation in St. Lawrence County.

Ritchie’s district, the 48th, includes northern and western St. Lawrence County towns including Ogdensburg, Canton and Gouverneur, and the many towns around Black Lake.

In recent years, Eurasian milfoil — a non-native nuisance weed which forms dense mats of vegetation that shades out native species — has plagued the lake, disrupting water flow, hurting water quality, and hampering boating, fishing and swimming.

“For generations, Black Lake has provided countless opportunities for outdoor recreation to both tourists and local residents,” said Ritchie. “I’m thrilled to be able to provide this funding which will improve the quality of and access to Black Lake—two things that are critical not only to boosting tourism but also for enjoyment by those who call northern New York home.”

Ritchie also arranged for a $50,000 grant to fight the weed in Black Lake in 2012.

“For a very long time, we have been working to stop the spread of Eurasian milfoil on Black Lake,” said Black Lake Chamber of Commerce President Bill Dashnaw. “It’s an effort that takes both time and money, and we can’t thank Senator Ritchie enough for her tireless work on the issue as well as her understanding of just how important it is that we keep Black Lake viable for many years to come.”

Black Lake has repeatedly been ranked as one of the top fishing destinations in New York State and the United States by fishing and sportsmen’s publications. It draws thousands of families to northern New York each year, generating an estimated $7 million in tourism dollars a year, according to the announcement from Sen. Ritchie’s office.

Black Lake, often referred to as "Nature's Fish Hatchery," is the largest of the Indian River lakes. The 20-mile long lake, with over 60 miles of shoreline and numerous islands, offers anglers a variety of fish habitats from rocky points and shoals, to sandbars, weed beds, shallows, and deep water up to 40 feet.