Monday, January 23, 2023

Adirondack Lake Survey Corp Merger into Ausable River Association is Complete

Phil Snyder in boat on Hope Pond

The governing boards of the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation (ALSC) and the Ausable River Association (AsRA) announced that on January 1, 2023, the proposed merger between the two organizations had been finalized. Former ALSC Program Manager Phil Snyder has joined AsRA full-time, bringing extensive field science and laboratory experience to AsRA’s efforts in the Ausable watershed and to watershed throughout the Adirondack Park. Snyder serves as field research manager for the pilot of SCALE – the collaborative Survey of Climate Change in Adirondack Lake Ecosystems.

In January 2022, the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation board approved a proposed timeline for merging their operations and staff with the Ausable River Association. In February 2022, the AsRA board voted unanimously to approve and pursue that timeline to make ALSC a program of AsRA by 2023. Since that time, the two nonprofit organizations have worked together and in consultation with their many government, academic, community, and nonprofit partners, to reaffirm and expand their commitment to water quality science that benefits communities in the park and beyond. While the merger ends the incorporated existence of ALSC, its work will live on as ALS@AsRA an effort dedicated to advancing the organizations’ shared goal of providing critical field and laboratory science in the Adirondack Park to inform the protection of waterways, lands, and air for the benefit of all stakeholders.


Dr. Tim Mihuc, Director of the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh and former vice-chairman of ALSC said, “With climate change affecting our water resources in myriad ways throughout New York State, it is essential to informed decision-making to keep the ALSC tradition of independent field and laboratory science alive in the Adirondack Park. Merging ALSC into AsRA does that and more – strengthening AsRA’s scientific approach to problem solving.” Dr. Mihuc, along with former ALSC board member Stacy McNulty of SUNY ESF, will serve as independent science advisors to AsRA’s water quality monitoring program.


Kelley Tucker, Executive Director of the Ausable River Association said, “Water is the most essential of elements, and protecting it starts with science. Pairing the field and laboratory strengths of ALSC with AsRA’s science-based, solution-oriented approach ensures that accurate data consistently informs individual and public decision-making. That knowledge benefits science, ecosystems, and our communities.”


The Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation was established in 1983 as a cooperative effort between New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the Empire State Electric Research Corporation (ESERCO) to assess the chemical and biological status of Adirondack Lakes. With the deregulation of the electric utilities in the late 1990s, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) joined with NYSDEC in 1998 to continue the effort, providing substantial financial and technical support for the program. ALSC’s staff were tasked with monitoring changes to the natural ecosystems of the Adirondack Mountain ecological zone with a focus on water quality, atmospheric deposition, fish surveys, and other biological and chemical studies for the benefit of regulatory agencies and the public. From 1984 to 1987 their intensive field and laboratory analysis of over 1460 Adirondack lakes identified a pattern of chemical acidification that informed the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 curbing acid rain.


From 1992 through 2022, ALSC’s staff maintained the longest-running Adirondack scientific lake assessment to better understand the long-term impacts of acid rain and document lake recovery. Beginning in 2001, ALSC provided laboratory analyses of cloud water from Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY as part of the Adirondack Long-Term Monitoring (ALTM) Program and the Mountain Cloud Acid Deposition Program, as a part of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Status and Trends Network. ALSC’s staff and board worked in partnership with the US Geological Survey and an array of academic partners– including Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, CUNY, SUNY schools, and Syracuse University – most recently supporting the development of SCALE to protect Adirondack lakes and serve as a national model for freshwater research and management.


The Ausable River Association works with communities to protect their streams and lakes. Professional science and technical staff restore stream channel and floodplain health and replace culverts to improve climate resilience, monitor water quality and identify solutions to reverse declines, assess and rebuild habitats to encourage native species, empower stewardship by providing information and tools to the public, and encourage inclusive, low impact recreational access to Ausable waterways. They work closely with an array of government, nonprofit, academic, community, and landowner partners to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness.


AsRA’s core programs will continue to focus on the Ausable River watershed, and increasingly provide scientific and technical support to neighboring watersheds. “We know that sharing and implementing methods developed and tested in Ausable waterways benefits streams and lakes in other watersheds,” Tucker noted. “In the same way, by coordinating the pilot of SCALE throughout the Adirondack Park, we’ll ensure that valuable science is shared broadly, continues to inform agencies and the public statewide, and comes home to the Ausable so our communities can better protect their freshwater resources.”


Photo at top: Phil Snyder, Ausable River Association’s Water Quality Research Manager, on Hope Pond. Photo provided by Madison Stroud, Ausable River Association Operations Director.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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