Thursday, April 27, 2023

Lake George herbicide plan on hold (again)

milfoil in a hand, on a boat dock

The Lake George Park Commission earlier this month suspended a pair of herbicide permit applications pending with state officials.

Dave Wick, executive director of the lake state agency charged with management of Lake George, said after state lawyers appealed a Warren County judge’s decision blocking a permit that would have allowed the herbicide to be used last year, he asked that applications seeking permission to use the herbicide this year be put on hold.

The Appellate Division later this year will hear arguments about whether the Adirondack Park Agency adhered to its process when it approved the herbicide permit without a full adjudicatory hearing. That appeal won’t move through the courts fast enough to enable the commission garner approvals and apply the herbicide this June.

But Wick promised to press forward next year with the commission plan to use the herbicide ProcellaCOR to combat invasive Eurasian watermilfloil in a pair of the lake’s bays.

He also noted broader interest at other lakes struggling with the invasive water weeds and looking for permission to use the herbicide as early as next month.

“We don’t want to hold anyone up,” Wick told me.

Lake Luzerne is next in line at the Adirondack Park Agency, hoping approval for its plan to use ProcellaCOR could come at the agency’s May board meeting. An Adirondack Council spokesperson has already signaled the group plans to oppose that plan too – at least until APA takes a deeper look.

The governor’s office started a round of Earth Day announcements on Monday by rolling out the details of an Environmental Bond Act listening tour and a major round of funding for clean water infrastructure.

The governor announced that applications will go live May 3 for $425 million through the Water Infrastructure Improvement and Intermunicipal Grant programs – $200 million of which will come from the $4.2 billion bond act approved in November. The grants support wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. In the past we have covered the millions of dollars of water infrastructure around the park.

Eurasian watermilfoil, the pervasive invasive aquatic weed at the center of a debate over using herbicide in Adirondack waters. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

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.

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