As part an effort to mitigate the impact of acid rain and restore brook trout to the Adirondacks, state helicopters delivered 80 tons of lime to an acidified pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the Town of Webb in Herkimer County.
Over three days in early March, about 40 Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff and New York State Police helicopter crews conducted the liming operation, which included 120 helicopter flights to transport 160,000 pounds of lime from a staging area near the boat launch at Stillwater Reservoir to Bear Pond.
Crews deposited the lime on the ice at the pond and later spread it across the frozen surface. The liming of acidic lakes or ponds is a management tool used to neutralize the water’s acidity and create water quality that is more favorable for fish and aquatic life. When the pond thaws this spring, the lime will enter the water and reduce its acidity level.
“Each year, fisheries staff selects an Adirondack pond for liming to reintroduce brook trout in the Adirondacks,” Regional Director Drabicki said in an announcement to the press. “This effort involves months of planning and coordination with DEC operations staff, forest rangers and forestry staff, along with State police helicopters, pilots and crews. This joint effort is critical to reclaim waters impaired by acid rain and restore native habitats to these Adirondack waters.”
“DEC fishery staff is optimistic that these operations will successfully return brook trout to some large Adirondack ponds and lakes,” the announcement said. “Larger water bodies in the Adirondacks maintain a deep cold water layer right through the summer (referred to as stratification), unlike the smaller ponds where water layers mix, which results in warmer water temperatures that are not as suitable for brook trout.”
For additional information on DEC’s liming program or a list of Adirondack trout ponds, contact the Watertown fisheries office at (315) 785-2263.
Photos provided by DEC: Above, a state helicopter picks up lime at Stillwater Reservoir; and below, DEC staff running to the recently dropped off lime to begin spreading on Bear Pond.