Almanack Contributor Community News Reports

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 editor@adirondackalmanack.com.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

4th Annual Adirondack Literary Award Winners

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) has announced its 4th Annual Adirondack Literary Award winners. The juried awards program honors books published in or about the Adirondacks in the previous year. The awards ceremony, which took place on Sunday at the Blue Mountain Center, is one of the Adirondack Center for Writing’s most popular events. More than seventy writers, publishers, and readers attended the awards ceremony this year. Adirondack Almanack announced this year’s submissions last week. Here are the winners:

FICTION
Matt Bondurant, The Wettest County in the World
 (published by Scribner)

POETRY
Philip Memmer, Threat of Pleasure
(Word Press)

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Joseph Bruchac
, March Toward the Thunder (Dial Books)

PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark Bowie and Timothy Weidner, In Stoddard’s Footsteps: The Adirondacks Then & Now(North Country Books)

MEMOIR
Bernice Mennis, Breaking Out of Prison: A Guide to Consciousness, Compassion, and Freedom(iUniverse)

NONFICTION
Harold Weston (Rebecca Foster, Editor), Freedom in the Wilds: An Artist in the Adirondacks(Syracuse University Press)

EDITED COLLECTION
Editor, Ellen Rocco, Stories, Food, Life (North Country Public Radio) 



PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Roger Mitchell, 


Lemon Peeled the Moment Before: New and Selected Poems 1967-2008(Ausable Press)


Monday, June 8, 2009

Opinion: Election For McHugh’s Seat -An Opportunity for Local Media to Demonstrate Their Worth

Provided he is confirmed, which seems very likely, John McHugh’s elevation to Secretary of the Army means another special election fight here in the Adirodnack region. I railed here about the failure of local media to accurately report on our last Special Election, that for Kirstin Gillibrand’s 20th Congressional District seat. Outlets as varied as NCPR and the Glens Falls Post Star united in declaring from the beginning that there were only two candidates – not surprisingly they were those from the two major parties, two other candidates were all but ignored as irrelevant. During the 20th race local political writers and editors even blatantly defended their undemocratic actions on the grounds that they were the arbiters for all of us as to which candidates were “legitimate” and “relevant.”

All the local media’s nonsense and anti-democratic proclamations raised a constant barrage from local blogs who attempted to hold them to account. One response from Brian Mann at NCPR seems to have been a regular attack on bloggers for destroying the profits of local newspapers. His argument, expressed regularly by others in the old media business as well, is that the loss of our local newspapers will destroy our democracy. I know – it’s downright funny to actually argue that the loss of today’s local newspapers will actually hurt democracy!

Of course their arguments are ridiculous at best, self-serving and disingenuous at worst – but that’s what we’ve come to expect from local media. And why not, they are almost entirely owned by corporate interests, and if not, they have been educated on the corporate journalism model. Never mind that newspaper circulation reached a peak in 1993, long before blogs and other news aggregators existed; in fact, before the internet was any sort of real force in our lives (and not coincidentally at the height of both corporate media control and the power of their corporate two-party system). If the internet means the death of an old corporate media tied to the two parties that have dominated politics since the rise of corporate control of the presses, then good riddance.

Maybe I’m wrong – maybe a 23rd Special Election will prove to be the election that local media actually reports fairly and proves their worth. Maybe we’ll actually see an investigative report on the election that’s not tied to support for one of the corporate candidates. Maybe local media will cover all the candidates equally. It’s not likely, but it would be nice. Let me offer some advice – right now there are no candidates – when one announces, begin covering them, as each new candidate emerges, cover them equally until such time THEY say they are no longer a candidate. That’s called fairness, it’s a major tenet of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

So far, the Albany Project been the best provider of news and information about the potential upcoming 23rd Special Election. Here is a round-up of the reporting so far to show some of what’s already happening. First the old style media:

The Times Union’s Capital Confidential blog provides a list of Republican and Democratic potential challengers (let the bias begin).

Cap Con on what their 20th CD corporate candidate Democrat Scott Murphy thinks.

NCPR’s Brian Mann on how the race will be a repeat of the Republican-Democrat bruiser (there’s your first sports metaphor from me Brian) in the 20th CD.

Brian Mann on whether the Republican is really a pawn of the Democratic party.

Brian Mann on whether Republican DeeDee Scozzafava has a chance.

The Zach Subar and Nathan Brown of the Leader-Herald let us know that McHugh’s Republican Chief of Staff won’t run – thanks guys – are their any other Republicans who won’t run that we should know about?

Now for the local independent blogs:

The Albany Project lets us know through actual reporting that their are 103,847 voters enrolled (out of 392,006 total) who are not designated as Republicans or Democrats (including three Socialists!).

The Albany Project provides a detailed and well researched history of the district going back to 1830.

And a few others:

The Politicker’s (a mainstream media darling blog) reports on the Democrat and Republican chances twice.

Herkimer County Progressive on Why the Democrats can Win.

Jefferson Democrat on the Democratic opportunity.

Jefferson Leaning Left on the confusion among Republicans.

Conservative blogger Political IV on Republican chances.

It’s amazing how much the partisan blog reports look like the old media reports – isn’t it?

You can follow the 23rd CD race here at Adirondack Almanack; we also cover politics more generally here.


Monday, June 8, 2009

DEC to Track Emerald Ash Borer with Traps

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is setting baited traps in ash trees across upstate New York in an effort to search for possible infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a tree-killing beetle. You will soon be seeing the purple prism traps deployed in treelines throughout New York, with a concentration in areas adjacent to neighboring states and Canadian provinces that have already detected this potentially devastating invasive species, including several Adirondack counties. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cornell Offers Green Jobs Forum in Warrensburg

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County is working with Cornell University and the Workforce Development Institute of New York to host a Green Jobs forum on Thursday, June 25, 10:00am to Noon. The forum will be broadcast to Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations located in 14 counties across New York State via Cornell’s distance learning network. The forum is free and open to the public. Information on the following topics and issues will be addressed:

* what is meant by the term “green jobs”
* where and in what sectors of the economy do they exist
* information on available training programs
* what does the future look like for the “green jobs sector”

General information about the workforce development institute and information about what services are available to the public will also be discussed.

The Green Jobs Forum will also provide information on starting a home performance / home energy audit business. New York State currently has training programs in place and some financial incentives available to entrepreneurs and home improvement contracting firms that want to expand into the home energy audit field.

Seating for the Green Jobs Forum is limited so if you are interested in attending, please phone Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 668-4881 or 623-3291 to reserve a seat.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gardening for Butterflies and Moths

Most of us are familiar with monarch butterflies, those stunning Hallowe’en-colored insects that make phenomenal migration flights from the northern parts of North American to the hidden forests in Mexico. But if you mention painted ladies, people are more likely to think of old Victorian houses with bright new paint jobs, or women with questionable reputations, than they are butterflies. Likewise, thanks to ads for a popular sleeping remedy, luna moths are easily recognized by much of the American population, while Isabella moths remain mostly unknown (woolly bear caterpillars turn into Isabella moths). » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

80-House Brandreth Park Project on Adirondack Park Agency Agenda

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, June 11 and Friday June 12 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook. The June meeting will be webcast live via a link on the Agency’s homepage at www.apa.state.ny.us. Here is the meeting agenda:

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report.

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider Brandreth Park Association’s large scale residential development project proposed for an 8,670 acre tract of land surrounding Brandreth Lake in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. The applicant requests authorization, over a 100 year period, for new residential sites to accommodate up to 80 single family dwellings, a caretaker’s residence, a “gathering house”, five commonly owned guesthouses and up to four boathouses on portions of the tract. The creation of building sites is considered a subdivision under the APA Act.

At this time the committee will consider just the first proposed section which includes the subdivision into sites for construction of up to 44 single family dwellings and one or more of five planned guesthouses. Building footprints for these structures will not exceed 2,500 square feet or 35 feet in height.

Any future proposed land use and development will require separate Agency approval. All proposed development will be clustered within a 442 acre development area at the northern end of Brandreth Lake. No new land use or development is planned for the remaining 8,230 acres (95%) which will remain as open space forestland.

Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a convenience store, deli and gas station in the town of Greig, Lewis County.

Following this discussion the committee will consider approval for two general permit applications, one for structural stabilization of shorelines as watershed management projects or involving wetlands and a second for residential subdivisions involving regulated wetlands.

The committee meeting will conclude with a staff presentation summarizing cellular projects constructed along the Adirondack Northway.

At 11:30, the State Land Committee will consider a proposed classification and reclassification of certain State lands under the jurisdiction of the NYS Department of Transportation to State Administration.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will hear a presentation on the Agency’s map amendment process. Planning staff will explain the criteria used in approving map amendment requests, review Ticonderoga’s recent amendment which resulted in expansion to their Hamlet area and provide an example of a possible future Hamlet expansion in the Town of Westport, Essex County.

At 1:45, planning staff will demonstrate to the Local Government Services Committee a land use mapping tool developed internally to assist local governments with community planning and zoning efforts. This application takes advantage of a commonly used digital file format and will allow local communities to tap into the Agency’s computer mapping capabilities without incurring extensive software and training costs.

At 2:15, the “Community Spotlight” segment will feature Town of Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell. Supervisor Russell will provide an overview of his community and highlight important issues facing this northern Franklin County town.

At 3:00, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for an administrative enforcement proceeding related to alleged violations resulting from the operation of a junkyard without an Agency permit. These violations are alleged to have occurred along State Route 73 in the Town of Keene, Essex County.
On Friday morning at 9:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will convene for a follow-up to its April 2009 presentation on three successful manufacturing businesses in Essex County. This month’s focus is on small business development assistance that is available through the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and the North Country Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Plattsburgh State. The committee will be briefed by Mike Conway, Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, and Rick Leibowitz, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Centeron on small business assistance programs.

At 10:00, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.

At 10:30, the Administration Committee will review proposed revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System.

The Full Agency will convene at 11:00 to take actions as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.

Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0906/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is July 9-10, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

August Agency Meeting August 13-14, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Wilmington: New Multi-use Flume Trail System Opens

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has officially opened the Flume Trail System as the first trail system on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks designed to allow mountain biking. Representatives and staff from DEC, the Town of Wilmington, the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Whiteface Mountain Ski Area and the members of the public attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the trailhead in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Earlier that morning volunteers spent time working on the trails. Afterward the Town of Wilmington and the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers hosted a barbecue.

The Flume Trail System includes approximately eight miles of trails for four season recreational activities including mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The trails were designed to meet the specifications of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and include trails rated as easy, moderate and hard. The system includes a trail along the West Branch of the Ausable River and a hiking only trail to Flume Knob.

The majority of the trails lie within the Wilmington Wild Forest unit of the forest preserve, however, approximately two miles of trail are located on the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area, which is operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

The Town of Wilmington strongly advocated for mountain bike trails during DEC’s development of the management plan for the Wilmington Wild Forest. In addition to the Flume Trail System, the management plan, which was approved in October 2005, also proposes a seven mile multi-use trail system in the Beaver Brook Tract, off of Hardy Road, designed to include mountain biking. The Town also appropriated funds to pay for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s professional trail crew to construct new trail segments at the Flume in 2007.

The Wilmington Mountain Peddlers have been involved from the early days of trail development at the Flume, and have also been strong advocates for mountain bike trails. The group has volunteered countless hours to construct and maintain the trails. They will continue to maintain the Flume Trail System under DEC’s Adopt-A- Natural-Resource program.

In addition to work by their professional crew, the Adirondack Mountain Club has organized numerous volunteer work projects to upgrade existing trails and construct new trail segments at the Flume. An ADK volunteer trail crew will be constructing a new trail to connect the Flume Trail System with the Whiteface Trail from the Wilmington reservoir this summer.

The Whiteface Mountain Ski Area has allowed some of their trails to be included in the Flume Trail network for the free use of the public. These include a scenic trail along the West Branch of the Ausable River, utilized by bikers, hikers, and anglers. Mountain bikers can pay a fee to access the ski areas other 25 trails and the gondola to the top of Little Whiteface. Crews from Whiteface also assisted in the construction of some of the initial trails in the trail system. A proposed hiking only trail to Bear Den Cliffs, will be constructed in the future on the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area lands, and will be open to the public as part of the Flume Trail system.

The Flume Trail System can be accessed from trailhead on Route 86, approximately 2 miles west of the hamlet of Wilmington or from the Kid’s Campus parking lot at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Adirondack Weekly Blogging Round-Up


Friday, June 5, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, June 4, 2009

ADK Music Scene: A Mix of Pros and Amateurs

This weekend boasts an interesting mixture of professionals and amateurs. From an All-Star Open Mic to an African drumming and dance troupe, both incorporate experienced and inexperienced performers. Often jams and sessions have that kind of mix too – in this way everyone learns something. Amateurs learn to improve their skills and pros learn to improve their patience.

But first . . . there is nothing amateur about the band Atlantic Crossing, which will be at The Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay on Friday at 7 pm. They play a mixture of traditional songs and instrumentals from New England, the Celtic British Isles and French Maritime Canada. Music to get your feet tapping and spirits soaring.

On Saturday June 6 you have a choice:

The All-Star Open Mic Night, at BluSeed in Saranac Lake; all the winners and some of the hosts of the past season will be performing, the Dust Bunnies and the Starlights among them. What fun – you get to hear an eclectic mix of poetry and songs. Performers travel from all around the region for these democratic events. Some of the newer performers have a chance to let go of some of their first time stage-fright jitters because this will be their second time in front of an audience – they’re pros now, right? Since this is also a chance to support BluSeed the cover charge will be $6 instead of the usual $3. The performances start at 7:30 pm and will be well worth it.

At the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay there will be a performance by Wulaba Drumming and Soma Beats Dancing. Show starts at 6:30 pm. I saw these folks doing their thing at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Rotary Show this year and it was great – very energetic and uplifting, made me want to join the class. Admission is $5.

Sunday June 7:

There is a recital to be given by the students of the accomplished Saranac Lake multi-instrumentalist Sue Grimm – obviously it’s not professional but so cute! It’s being held at BluSeed at 2 pm. You never know, you might see a future star just starting to shine.

In Long Lake at The Quakenbush Long View Lodge on Deerland Road there will be an open jam held from 4 – 6 pm. Call (518) 624-3879 for details.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

DEC Reminder: ‘A Fed Bear is A Dead Bear’

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding campers, hikers and homeowners to take precautions against unwanted encounters with black bears. There are approximately 4,000 – 5,000 bears in New York’s northern bear range, primarily in the Adirondacks. Bear populations have been increasing in number and expanding in distribution over the past decade.

Black bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbecue grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses. When bears learn to obtain food from human sources, their natural foraging habits and behavior are changed. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Adirondack Literary Awards Ceremony June 7th

The 4th Annual Adirondack Center For Writing (ACW) Literary Awards Ceremony will be held this Sunday, June 7, in Blue Mountain Lake, 3-5 pm at the Blue Mountain Center. The Adirondack Literary Awards is a juried awards program that honors books published in or about the Adirondacks in the previous year. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to ACW (phone or email) if you plan to attend.

Juried awards will be given in fiction, poetry, children’s literature, and nonfiction, plus a People’s Choice Award. ACW members are encouraged to send in their votes for their favorite book of the year via email, phone, or mail. A complete list of submissions by category is below. Voting is also permitted at the awards ceremony itself. Most of the books considered for awards are made available for purchase at the ceremony by the authors, and they are happy to sign their books. Questions may be directed to ACW at 518-327-6278, acwevents@gmail.com.

Entries of Books Published in 2008

:

Fiction –
The Wettest County in the World
, Matt Bondurant,
 Scribner


Orebed Lake, Russell Hall
, Lighthall Books
Chant
, Rick Henry, 
BlazeVOX Books


Brio, Mary Randall
, Mary Randall


Christmas in Port Davis, (Stories by multiple authors)
, RA Press


Wilder Ponds
, Kirby White, 
Fox Creek Press

;

Poetry –


Reasons to Hate the Sky, Stuart Bartow
, WordTech Editions


Threat of Pleasure
, Philip Memmer, 
Word Press



Lemon Peeled the Moment Before: New and Selected Poems 1967-2008, 
Roger Mitchell
, Ausable Press;
The Long Fault: Poems, Jay Rogoff
, Louisiana State University;



Children’s Literature

 –
Butternuts for Rexford, Tom Adessa
, SassyKat Books
March Toward the Thunder, 
Joseph Bruchac
, Dial Books


Skylar, Mary Cuffe-Perez
, Philomel Books


Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers, 
Persis Granger
, Beaver Meadow Publishing
Champlain and the Silent One, Kate Messner, 
North Country Books


Catch the Wind and Spin, Spin, Spin
, Thomas M. Schneeberger, 
PublishAmerica
When Thunder Rolls: The Underground Railroad and The Civil War
, Irene Uttendorfsky
, Spruce Gulch Press


The Adirondack Kids 8: Escape from Black Bear Mountain
, Justin and Gary VanRiper, 
Adirondack Kids Press

Photography –
In Stoddard’s Footsteps: The Adirondacks Then & Now, 
Mark Bowie and Timothy Weidner, Stories, Food, Life, Editor, Ellen Rocco
, North Country Public Radio
Historic Images of the Adirondacks, 
Compiled by Victoria Verner Sandiford
Adirondack Hotels and Inns
, Donald Williams
, Arcadia Publishing

Nonfiction

 –
Stepping Out; A Tenderfoot’s Guide to the Principles, Practices, and Pleasures of Countryside Walking, 
Eleanor Garrell Berger
, Tenderfoot Press


Forest Enterprises of the Adirondacks, 
Steven Bick
, Forest Enterprise Institute

, North Country Books


At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks
, Peter Bronski
, The Lyons Press
Adirondack Attic #5
, Andy Flynn, 
Hungry Bear Publishing
One Foot Forward; Walks in Upstate New York
, Richard B. Frost, Bloated Toe Publishing
Breaking Out of Prison: a guide to consciousness, compassion, and freedom, Bernice Mennis, 
iUniverse
Log Marks on the Hudson, Richard Merrill
, Nicholas K. Burns
Echoes In These Mountains, Glenn Pearsall
, Pyramid Publishing


Adirondack Birding, John M.C. Peterson, Gary Lee, 
Adirondack Mountain Club, Lost Pond Press


Stories, Food, Life, Editor, Ellen Rocco
, North Country Public Radio


, Adirondack Museum, North Country Books


Freedom in the Wilds: An Artist in the Adirondacks, about Harold Weston, 
Syracuse University Press




Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Current 10 Best Selling Books About The Adirondacks

In time for planning those summer reads and outdoor activities, here is a list of the current ten best-selling Adirondack books according to Amazon.com.

1 – 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks Throughout the Park, Fourth Edition by Barbara McMartin (May 2003).

2 – At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks by Peter Bronski (Feb 26, 2008).

3 – Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region (Forest Preserve Series, V. 1) by Tony Goodwin and Neil S. Burdick (April 13, 2004).

4 – The Adirondack Book: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide, Including Saratoga Springs, Sixth Edition by Annie Stoltie and Elizabeth Folwell (April 21, 2008).

5 – The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park by Jerry C. Jenkins and Andy Keal (Jun 30, 2004).

6 – Adirondack Home by Ralph Kylloe (Oct 19, 2005).

7 – The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness by Paul Schneider (Sep 15, 1998).

8 – Adirondack Wildlife: A Field Guide by James M. Ryan (April 30, 2009).

9 – Adirondacks (Hardcover – April 25, 2006).

10 – Adirondack: Wilderness by Nathan Farb (Jun 16, 2009).


Monday, June 1, 2009

Announcing The Adk Almanack / Twitter Contest Winner

Jamie Deapo has won our Twitter contest and the copy of the new edition of The Adirondack Reader.

Congrats Jamie! And thanks to everyone (nearly 100 of you) who entered the contest and to the Adirondack Mountain Club who provided the copy we gave away.

The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the New York State Forest Preserve and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.

You can read Mary Thill’s review of the new edition of The Adirondack Reader here.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lake George FUND & Waterkeeper Want Phosphorus Law

For your Sunday afternoon reading pleasure comes this delightful press release from Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky. The FUND for Lake George and the Waterkeeper are working together to support state legislation to ban the sale of high phosphorus household cleaners and fertilizers. According to Navitsky, studies find 50 percent of phosphorus in stormwater runoff comes from lawn fertilizers and nine to 34 percent of phosphorus in municipal sewage treatment plants is from household cleaning products. New York law would follow laws in Minnesota, Maine and Wisconsin and a law just enacted in Westchester County. You’ve got a lot of science and policy reading ahead of you, so enjoy!

Lake George – The FUND for Lake George and Lake George Waterkeeper support new state legislation to ban the sale of high phosphorus products used for household (and commercial) cleaning supplies and in lawn fertilizers. The impact of the widespread use of these products is that they contribute to water pollution across New York. In this action, New York follows successful legislative efforts of the state of Minnesota, which passed similar legislation in 2005, and Maine, which started its law on January 1, 2008, and Wisconsin, which just passed similar legislation in April 2009. Local laws banning phosphorus in household cleaning products and lawn fertilizers have passed a number of counties in Michigan, Florida, and Illinois, among other states such as Maryland and Vermont. In New York, Westchester County recently passed a phosphorus product sale ban in order to protect the water quality of its public drinking water supply reservoirs and the Long Island Sound. Studies of the Minnesota law found 97% compliance in retail establishments, no higher costs for consumers, and found an overall decrease in phosphorus loading to state waters.

“One pound of phosphorus can make 50-60 pounds of algae in a lake or pond” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director of the FUND for Lake George. “This state legislation would have a positive impact on Lake George where overall phosphorus levels have continued to rise due to poor lawn management, lack of stream buffers, poorly designed and managed septic systems, and high volumes of stormwater runoff. Limiting the amount of phosphorus used in fertilizers and in household cleaning products used primarily for dishwashing, is an important tool to help protect the water quality of Lake George.”

This legislation prohibits the sale or distribution of household/commercial cleaning products used in dishwashers that contain 0.5% by weight of a phosphorus compound, reduced from 8.7%, and to prohibit the use of such products in commercial establishments as of July 1, 2010. High phosphorus household cleaning detergents often include as much as 9% phosphorus and are often responsible for between 9 – 34% of the total phosphorus in municipal water treatment plants. The legislation bans the sale of fertilizers that contains 0.67% by weight of phosphorus. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that fertilizers can be responsible for 50% of the total phosphorus in stormwater runoff. Phosphorus loading continues to negatively impact Lake George.

“It’s important to limit the amount of phosphorus that is being loaded into Lake George” said Chris Navitsky, the Lake George Waterkeeper. “Each time it rains, improperly managed stormwater loads phosphorus into the lake. Phosphorus in fertilizers is being washed into Lake George, is not being absorbed into the soils and becoming absorbed into soils and is failing its intended use.”

The issue of phosphorus loading into Lake George has long been identified as a major long-term problem facing the lake. The 2001, the Lake George Park Commission published a report “Total Phosphorus Budget Analysis for the Lake George Watershed” by Sterns & Wheler, which concluded that “The majority of phosphorus loading is from surface water runoff, with a disproportionate amount of runoff derived from developed area round the lake as compared to undeveloped (forested and agricultural) areas. Although developed areas only account for 5 percent of the land area in the watershed, they produce 43 percent of all the phosphorus that enters the lake as surface runoff.” The report also calculated that Lake George is receiving 300% of the amount of phosphorus that it can naturally process.

Lake George is buffered somewhat as compared with other lakes across New York as its watershed is 95% forested. The undeveloped natural forest systems around Lake George load phosphorus to the lake. This happens as leaves and twigs that fall into the lake decay and as sediment is carried to the lake as part of the natural stream bed load, among other ways. A healthy Lake George needs phosphorus to function. Excess phosphorus causes water pollution and the natural aging processes are accelerated.

The Sterns & Wheler report stated that undeveloped areas around Lake George, which includes 95% of the entire watershed (some 141,500 acres), produces as much phosphorus as the developed 5% of the watershed (some 7,500 acres). Just 5% of the watershed around Lake George is developed with houses, roads, parking lots, barns, stores, parks, sewers, yards, and a whole lot more, whereas. 95% is still relatively wild, either in private forest lands, a backyard forest, or as part of the state’s Forest Preserve. From this 2001 study the developed areas deliver phosphorus to the Lake George at a ratio of 15-1 when compared with natural forest areas. This is consistent with research around the U.S. that compares developed areas with non-developed areas. Use of household cleaning detergents and fertilizers are part of the overall phosphorus loading problem.

As mentioned above, Lake George receives 300% more phosphorus than it can process naturally. What happens to phosphorus-rich waters? They steadily lose water clarity as transparency in the water is lost as microscopic algal life is stimulated. They stimulate greater plant growth, which is turns creates more decayed matter on the lake bottom thus changing the aquatic system as this matter accumulates. Phosphorus rich waters are also very hospitable to invasive aquatic species, such as Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM), which require high levels of nutrients. High phosphorus rates are also a human health issue as this can make water not safe to drink. High levels of phosphorus also contribute to creation each summer of a “dead zone” on Lake George where oxygen levels are depleted due to high nutrient levels making large parts of the lake unable to support fish life. Lake George has been experiencing a slow, steady decline in water quality. Land use changes and poor land use practices on just 5% of the land areas around the lake have changed the lake’s water quality.

“Legislation to control phosphorus pollution from household cleaning products and lawn fertilizers is critical to help manage and reduce water pollution across New York. Lake George is enormously important to the local economy. In many ways, Lake George is the engine of the Warren County economy. The high property values, robust tourism season, sport fishing and boating industries, among others, all require clean water” said Peter Bauer.

“If this legislation is unsuccessful at the state level, we would explore whether or not it’s feasible for the Lake George Park Commission to undertake a similar effort within the Lake George watershed” said Chris Navitsky.



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