Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Report From The Adirondack Lakes Alliance Symposium

Raquette Lake Dave GibsonAt Paul Smith’s College in late July, the Adirondack Lakes Alliance hosted their second Lake and River Symposium, aiming to educate lake and river associations in watershed and lake/river management. Issues addressed included invasive species, road salt, and stormwater runoff. One clear theme throughout the event was we should be encouraged, as much progress has been made in a short period of time, however, much remains to be done to protect our water resources.

There were several eye opening presentations by many prominent leaders in their area of expertise. Cathy Dove, President of Paul Smith’s College, and Ed Griesmer, Executive Director of the ALA, welcomed us with some opening remarks. Hilary Smith, the Invasive Species Coordinator for the US Department of the Interior, gave us a broad view of the invasive species problems across the country as well as insight into how the Department of the Interior functions to tackle problems.

The morning continued with presentations on “The Importance of Healthy Watersheds in the Adirondacks,” “The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and its threat to Adirondack Hemlocks,” and “Monitoring for terrestrial invasive species and forest pests.” The afternoon was all about water with presentations on “Water – The Most Important Compound in the Biosphere,” “Salinization of Adirondack Waters by Road Salt,” and “Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Local Initiative Case Studies.”

In just two years the Adirondack Lakes Alliance has become a leader in the effort to protect our lakes and rivers. Over sixty lake associations, representing the boots on the ground and, until recently, providing much of the funding for the efforts to protect our lakes, have joined the Alliance.

Members collaborate and share best practices, as well as expand public awareness exponentially. The scale of the Alliance has made it an essential partner for relevant agencies such as the APA, DEC, and APIPP (Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program). The Alliance has been able to bring key stakeholders together to push for practical solutions. Most significantly, it has given the local lake associations a seat at the table with other stakeholders when negotiating with local and state government for funding and regulation.

The Alliance was the brainchild of Jane Smith, Ed Griesmer, Karen Meltzer, and Doug Paton who recognized that though there were many local lake associations, these associations needed to become a collective voice if they wanted to be heard and represented. Thanks to all of them for their diligence and perseverance. Please consider joining your local lake or river association and urge them to become members of the Alliance. Doing so will help protect our lakes and rivers for generations to come.

For more information about the Adirondack Lakes Alliance visit their website.

Photo: Raquette Lake (courtesy Dave Gibson).

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com

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