March 18, 2021—Albany, NY—Last weekend, the New York State Senate and Assembly posted their respective budget proposals in response to the Governor’s Executive Budget that rolled out in January. ADK applauds legislators for focusing on the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), invasive species management, and the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act in their proposals.

Of particular note is a proposed increase in the EPF by the Assembly to $400 million, which includes more funding in the State Land Stewardship category to address high use, support stewarding, and invest in trail building. Adirondack and Catskill Park advocacy groups had jointly pushed for $10 million to address visitor safety, management, and planning. The Assembly clearly heard these calls and included $9 million in the EPF specifically dedicated to addressing this very issue. “The Assembly went above and beyond by proposing a $100 million increase to the EPF,” said Cathy Pedler, ADK Director of Advocacy. “We thank them for investing in long-term solutions for the Forest Preserve.”

ADK is also pleased to see that the Senate proposed reauthorizing the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act to create jobs, protect clean water, and address climate change. “We applaud the legislature for noting the joint importance of climate resiliency and a green economy to our future,” said Michael Barrett, ADK Executive Director. “As New York State continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this bond act will move our communities forward by protecting public health and natural resources while creating jobs.”

All three budget proposals supported continued EPF funding to combat invasive species, though the Assembly provided a significant increase. This critically important funding category supports the Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management—also known as the eight “PRISMs”—across New York State, which includes the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. “Invasive species are a serious threat to biodiversity in the Forest Preserve,” said Pedler. “By increasing efforts to combat invasive species, the legislature shows how seriously they take environmental protection in New York State.”