Thursday, June 9, 2022

This week’s water news

lake champlain

Lake Champlain straddles an international border, a state border and is the focus of scores of government agencies, scientific researchers and nonprofit organizations.

It’s a big lake with a lot happening, but there’s a government plan for that. 

The Lake Champlain Basin Program – a federal program established to guide and fund research, restoration and protection of the lake – on Friday released the latest 5-year update to its guiding plan.

The plan outlined continued threats like high phosphorus levels, harmful algae blooms (HABs), toxic substances and pathogens, and aquatic invasive species. It championed the more than $20 million in grants to more than 600 groups and individuals the program has made to reduce pollution, educate the public, and research the lake and its health.

The new iteration will increase the focus on climate change impacts in the basin and seek to engage a more diverse group of stakeholders.

There’s plenty more happening on the water beat this time of year.

I’m going to a court hearing Wednesday morning in the Lake George Association’s effort to block the Lake George Park Commission’s planned use of an aquatic herbicide to combat invasive Eurasian watermilfoil on Lake George. The association’s and state’s lawyers will argue about whether the judge should prevent the herbicide use until the case moves forward, effectively blocking the plan to apply the herbicide this year.

Adirondack groups are recognizing Invasive Species Awareness Week, hoping to continue to raise attention to the many invaders that harm native species and degrade important habitat throughout the Adirondacks. Keep an eye out for new boat wash stations around the park and a new law attempting to ensure boaters actually comply with the mantra of those who fight the spread of aquatic invasive species: Clean. Drain. Dry. (Your boat.)

The new law goes into effect Wednesday and requires boaters to obtain certification that they have cleaned, drained and dried their boat before launching in waters in or near the Adirondack Park.

On Friday, I met my first Adirondack brookie, joining a group of anglers collecting brook trout DNA samples as part of a weekend “mission” with Trout Power. The small group of devoted anglers is looking to identify heritage strains of brook trout, those that haven’t been impacted by years of mixing with stocked fish. They aimed to collect 50 samples around Great Camp Sagamore over the weekend by clipping small parts of fish fins before releasing the fish back into their cool stream homes. More to come on their work.


Explorer file photo by Mike Lynch

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.

2 Responses

  1. Gary N Lee says:

    I don’t know where you might catch a wild brooktrout in the Sagamore area as any fish put in Raquette lake can make it into the Sagamore lake and a joining streams. They stocked thousands of domestic brooktrout in Raquette lake for years as a reward for the egg taking from Laketrout in the lake. This was good feed for the bass there also.

  2. T Beardsley says:

    Thanks for this. Lake Champlain is unique in its geology, water flow, sourcing and outlets – a great study in a time of a world-wide fresh-water crisis. Here, we having legacy industry and left-over mining tailings on one side and factory farms on the other. HAB’s here, like many other lakes in in the Northeast (Finger Lakes, another good example) are becoming more frequent and worse. It truly is a world problem and requires a lot of study.
    On Lake Champlain there are a number of research boats, all engaged in their own fields of interest but with (very general) common goals. SUNY Plattsburg, UVM, Middlebury College and others are out there working various studies.
    Unfortunately, Middlebury has made a decision to divest themselves of a high-tech research boat at the same time such fresh water studies are seemingly more important for world solutions.
    Thanks, Zach, for your reporting on the lake quality. This is important news for everybody.