Thursday, May 9, 2024

A dam project turns 100

The E.J. West powerhouse

Taming wild rivers

One hundred years ago today, a relatively new state agency voted to impound the Sacandaga River to “regulate” river flows downstream of the Adirondack Park. The Hudson River Regulating District formed in 1919 in the wake of damaging floods along the Hudson River. One of its early tasks: approving a measure ordering construction of the Conklingville Dam.

Construction of the dam began in 1927 and completed in March 1930, creating the state’s largest reservoir (which impacted numerous communities and properties) and controlling the volume of water flowing from the Sacandaga River downstream to the Hudson and points south.

The dam is now in line for major construction work beginning next year, improving the structure’s stability and modernizing its major operational components.

Read more about dams in the Adirondacks

Lake George

Lake George is the center of a contentious fight over whether to use an herbicide to fight invasive milfoil. Explorer file photo.

APA scores court win

The Adirondack Park Agency last week scored a win in the Supreme Court Appellate Division over its decision to bypass a special evidentiary hearing before approving permits to use an herbicide on Lake George.

A lower court had tossed the permits granted to the Lake George Park Commission over what it described as a “one-sided” staff presentation, but the appeals court said the agency acted within its domain.

The decision opens the door to another approval of the park commission’s plan to use ProcellaCOR in its long-running battle against invasive Eurasian milfoil and is a loss for environmental groups looking for the agency to hold more adjudicatory hearings in complex and controversial projects.

The Lake George Association, which has fought the herbicide plan, said it plans to seek an appeal to the state Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court. What will those judges have to say about whether and when APA should conduct the special hearings?

Read about the ruling here.

Budding tamaracks

Budding tamaracks at the Paul Smith’s VIC this weekend. Photo by Zachary Matson.

Photo at top: The E.J. West powerhouse is shown as part of the larger Conklingville Dam structure. Photo by Zachary Matson.

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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