Thursday, September 8, 2022

Report: No spring turnover on Mirror Lake

mirror lake

Chloride concentrations in Mirror Lake – one of the region’s most developed lakes – declined slightly last year, but the lake again failed to complete a turnover in spring 2021, according to an annual report from the Ausable River Association.

The report, released earlier this month, attributed the chloride decline to a mild winter season, improvements to the Village of Lake Placid’s stormwater runoff system and a new program to reduce private and public road salt use around the lake.

Mirror Lake is one of the lakes most impacted by salt pollution in the Adirondack Park and has been the focus of the Ausable River Association and local officials seeking to limit salt contamination. Still, researchers measured chloride concentration of 52 mg/L, much higher than chloride levels found in lakes unimpacted by salt runoff.

“Although the recorded chloride concentrations were lower in 2021, they still are not in the range of our water quality targets,” according to the report. “Our short-term goals include achieving concentrations less than 40 mg/L of chloride, and our long-term goals aim to record chloride concentrations less than 10 mg/L, or close to the records from the 1970s.”

I couldn’t make it but researchers presented the latest from Mirror Lake monitoring at an event last week on the “state of the lake.” Road salt continues to be a major concern and inhibits the lake’s natural turnover.

Mirror Lake has registered low oxygen levels in deeper waters, reducing important habitat for lake trout and other aquatic organisms. The lake’s failure to turnover minimizes the important mixing of lake layers, which distributes oxygen more evenly throughout the waterbody.


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.

6 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    A report in May said that the lake completely turned over in spring 2022

    That same report said that the lake did not turn over in 2021. Wondering why this is being reported in the Almanack now, and without the better news from this spring.

  2. Jim Fox says:

    For a layman who has an interest in water conservation and wants to learn about it, but little knowledge about Adirondack lake chemistry and turnover, this article did not help.

    • Boreas says:

      I found the links to be helpful.

      But I would like to know how frequently the lake fails to turn over. I may have missed it in the report.

      • Andrew says:

        Mirror Lake failed to turn over in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 because of a high concentration of salt.

        • Boreas says:

          I guess my point is, how does this compare to 50 or 100 year data for lake turnover? How far back does the data go? Did the non-turnovers just start in the last decade?

  3. DAISY says:

    Absence of the annual turnover is devastating for the life in the lake. Like Andrew, I do wonder why an article from 2021 now? Hoping that it might mean there is some added impetus to reduce road salt.

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