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Memorial fund created to help fight invasive lake species

Rachael DeWitt, SLA Invasive Species Monitoring Steward, checks a boat for invasive hitchhikers before it is launched into Skaneateles Lake. The stewardship program was launched by the SLA this summer with cooperation from the Skaneateles Town Board. The David “Lee” Hardy memorial Fund will help the SLA pay for the program and other education efforts.

Rachael DeWitt, SLA Invasive Species Monitoring Steward, checks a boat for invasive hitchhikers before it is launched into Skaneateles Lake. The stewardship program was launched by the SLA this summer with cooperation from the Skaneateles Town Board. The David “Lee” Hardy memorial Fund will help the SLA pay for the program and other education efforts.

— Werner and Hardy had some follow-up meetings, which included SLA President Paul Torrisi, and ultimately Nick and Janice Hardy decided the SLA was the worthy cause they had been seeking for the memorial fund.

“My brother, just like rest of my family, grew up on the lake, and trying to protect the lake and keep it nice is something he cared a lot about,” Nick Hardy said.

The $10,000 David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund will be used to help support the SLA’s lake stewardship program, which will educate the public and seek to prevent invasive species such as milfoil, hydrilla and Asian clams from invading Skaneateles Lake.

While the SLA’s milfoil eradication project has been ongoing since 2007, its lake stewardship program only began this past July. They now have trained attendants at all lake boat launch sites to educate and approach boaters about lake contamination and removing possible invasive species from boats before they are launched. The group, in cooperation with the town, is also preparing information signage to have at each lake entry point, and perhaps in the future boat cleaning stations.

The Hardy family presented the check to the SLA in July.

The David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund is not a static account but can be augmented at any time by further donations, Nick Hardy said.

“We’re hoping this gets more publicity to the fund, and the SLA can set it up so more people can donate, he said.

Werner said anyone who would like to donate to the David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund can write the check to the Skaneateles Lake Association but indicate on the check memo line that the money is intended for the fund.

More information on the SLA can be found at skaneateleslake.org.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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