Sunday, June 19, 2022

Judge blocks Lake George herbicide plan, for now

Garnet Lake in Johnsburg and Thurman last week. Photo by Zachary Matson.

No chemical herbicide will be used in Lake George this summer, but the fate of the Lake George Park Commission’s plan to do so is still up in the air.

A Warren County judge on Monday sided with the Lake George Association and others challenging the park commission’s plan to treat invasive watermilfoil with one of the few EPA-approved aquatic herbicides on the market. The judge granted a preliminary injunction that bars the park commission from using the herbicide until a lawsuit brought by the lake association can be resolved. 

The judge agreed with the association’s lawyer who argued the herbicide plan could be delayed without impacting the current state of the lake, but if the commission was allowed to carry out its plan, any outcome of the lawsuit would be meaningless. Next step in the case: a conference later this month to come up with a briefing schedule.

Last week marked the start of a new legal regime in protecting Adirondack waters from aquatic invasive species. A new law took effect Wednesday that requires boaters attempting to launch in the Adirondack Park or a body of water within 10 miles of the Blue Line to certify that their boat has been cleaned, drained and dried. It also opens the door to expanding boat cleaning stations in and around the park. The stronger requirement aims to minimize the introduction of invasive species that hitch a ride on boats and trailers traveling across the state and broader region.

Gwen Craig reported on the Adirondack Park Agency’s decision last week to reject a boathouse variance that would have allowed a couple with a camp on Spitfire Lake to expand their current boathouse to around 1,400 square feet. They needed room for a third antique boat.

I spent some time last week on a couple of Adirondack lakes, visiting Fish Creek Pond and Garnet Lake on separate reporting trips. During weekdays both lakes were clear and calm with only a handful of kayakers and other boats on the water. Loons were out on both lakes, including a mom sitting on her nest at Garnet Lake, a second loon (dad?) about 50 yards away diving for fish.


Photo: Garnet Lake in Johnsburg and Thurman last week. Photo by Zachary Matson.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

3 Responses

  1. Fisherking says:

    I don’t own watefront property. I’m going to sell my boat. No more trailer registration. No more launch parking fees. No more stickers. No more live bait receipts. No more “can you just tell me the date on your fishing license?” No more insurance. No more inspections for invasive species. Lived within ten miles of Lake George almost all my life. You can have it and the rest of the lakes within ten miles of your blue line. Enjoy.

  2. James Marco says:

    Yeah, it is a good thing they blocked the herbicide. They declared phosphorous containing Tide to be safe. It was. But, it was also a fertilizer for algae which when they died polluted water. I do NOT want something of the same to happen in the ADK’s. Unintentional side effects are difficult to know without a small test case somewhere, though. But, it certainly does NOT have to be Lake George.

  3. Charlie Stehlin says:

    If we had as much respect for the environment as we have for ourselves, or for our material things…….to think how much more beauty and refinement would reign o’er the landscape! How much longer can we industrialize the planet?

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