Posts Tagged ‘Essex County’

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lake Placid: Wet and Wild Wednesdays Start July 8

The first Sprite Wet and Wild Wednesday, the weekly freestyle show featuring aerialists, debuts for the summer at the freestyle pool at the Olympic Jumping Complex tomorrow July 8 at 1 p.m. These weekly shows features freestyle and aerial athletes launching up to 60-feet into the air off of the kickers, where they execute a series of spins, twists and flips before splashing down in the 750,000-gallon pool.

Athletes of all levels – from the beginner to World and Olympic champions – train at this site, which has one of only two pools in the U.S. where freestylers are able to perfect their moves. Current athletes training in Lake Placid include U.S. and World Champion Ryan St. Onge, and 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Vladimir Lebedev from Russia – both of whom have their eyes on the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. U.S. Ski Team members Matt DePeters and Ashley Caldwell as well as Russian Anton Sannikov are all spending the summer at the freestyle training center hoping to make their respective Olympic teams as well.

During Wet and Wild Wednesday, visitors have a chance to win some great prizes and learn more about the sport of freestyle. Spectators can come early or stay late to ride the chairlift from the Base Lodge to the bottom of the 120-meter ski jump tower. From there, guests may take the enclosed elevator up 26-stories to the Sky Deck and experience a ski jumper’s view of the Adirondack High Peaks and surrounding area.

Admission to the venue is $14 for adults and $8 for juniors and seniors. The price includes entry to the competition as well as the chairlift and elevator ride to the Sky Deck. In addition, with the purchase of a $29 Olympic Sites Passport, your one-time entry into the jumping site is included. The passports can be acquired at any ORDA venue, as well as the ORDA Store on Main Street in Lake Placid.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In and Around Essex, Architecture at History Center

The Adirondack History Center Museum will host two events in July that look at the landscape and built environment in Essex County. A reception, slide show and gallery tour by photographer Betsy Tisdale featuring the exhibition, In and Around Essex will be held on July 8th, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. The slide show highlights photographs not included in the exhibition and focuses on changes that have taken place in Essex, NY over the last 30 years. Light refreshments will be served including an array of pies contributed by Essex community members for a taste of hometown Essex. Donations accepted. Please call for reservations.

Celebrating a Landscape of Culture and Ideas: 1609-2009, is the focus of this season at the History Center which is offering its next event on Sunday, July 12 at 4:00pm. A lecture by Ellen Ryan, Community Outreach Director at Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), features “What can we learn about people and their environment by looking at architecture?” The presentation corresponds with the exhibition currently on display at the museum: Race, Gender, and Class: Architecture and Society in Essex County. Please call for reservations. $10/non-members, $5/members, $2/students.

The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown (corner of Hand Avenue and Court Street). For more information please contact the museum at 873-6466 or [email protected]


Monday, July 6, 2009

Adirondack Park Agency July Meeting Agenda

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, July 9 and Friday July 10 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The July meeting will be webcast live on the Agency’s homepage. The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report. Here is the full APA agenda:

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider a proposal from the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency and Graymont Materials (NY) Inc. to undertake a two-lot subdivision and relocate Graymont’s existing ready-mix concrete batch plant from the Village of Tupper Lake to an existing 135+/- acre business park located on the westerly side of Pitchfork Pond Road in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County.

The new facility would be located on a 5.07+/- lot and include a ready-mix concrete batch plant, a boiler room, an office/lab, a stockpile area of crushed stone and sand, and parking areas. A self contained/recycling truck washout pit which would contain all material washed off/out of the trucks would also be located on project site.

Key issues include revisions to business park covenants, potential impacts to adjoining land uses, visual impacts and local approvals.

Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a single- family dwelling and temporary two-lot subdivision into sites in the town of Webb, Herkimer County.

The committee will also determine approvability for a Verizon proposed 74-foot telecommunications tower and 10-foot lightning rod for an overall height of 84-feet. The proposed tower would be installed east of the Northway in the Town of North Hudson, Essex County adjacent to the northbound High Peaks Rest Stop, which is located between exits 29 and 30, on Interstate 87.

Key issues include Agency Towers Policy compliance and co-location potential.

At 11:30, 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 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will consider a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and authorization for staff to conduct a public hearing for proposed map amendments to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan. The Town of Inlet, Hamilton County is requesting the reclassification of approximately 1,913 acres of private land. The proposals are located in four areas throughout the town and would result in the reclassification of:

• Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 203.4+/- acres • Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 23.6+/- acres • Rural Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 1043.7+/- acres • Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 642.6+/- ac

Following this discussion the committee will hear a presentation from Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages President Brain Towers and Jim Martin from the LA Group on the recently completed Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project. The discussion will focus on the community infrastructure inventory that was conducted as part of the regional assessment.

At 2:30, the Administration Committee will hear a final reading and possibly adopt revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System. In addition, Acting Executive Director James Connolly will inform the committee about ongoing landscaping efforts at the APA facility in Ray Brook.

At 3:30, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for administrative enforcement proceedings related to alleged permit violations resulting from non compliant signage on commercial businesses in the Town of Ticonderoga, Essex County and an alleged wetland fill/disturbance violation on a private property in the Town of Hopkinton, St Lawrence County.

On Friday morning at 9:00, the Interpretive Programs Committee will convene for a presentation on regional events planned for the Quadricentennial celebration and events planned for September 19th at the Crown Point Historic Site.

The Full Agency will convene at 10:00 to take action 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/0907/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is August 13-14, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

September Agency Meeting September 10-11, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Emily Hughes, Jason Wong Headline Saturday Night Ice Show

The Citizens Bank Summer Skating Series resumes this weekend with Freaky Friday and the Saturday Night Ice Show, presented by North Country Community College, this Friday and Saturday, July 3-4 at the Olympic Center. Olympian Emily Hughes, the younger sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, placed seventh in Torino during the 2006 Olympic Games. She won the silver medal during the 2007 U.S. National Championships and has skated in many national and international events, including Grand Prix events.

Jason Wong is the 2008 U.S. Collegiate National Champion and recently competed in the 2009 World University Games in China. Wong has won the New England Regionals in the junior, intermediate, novice and senior divisions and also earned the silver medal at the U.S. Junior National Championships in 2004. Wong skates for the Skating Club of Boston.

Joining Hughes and Wong on the famed 1932 Rink Jack Shea Arena ice will be skaters participating in the 77th Annual Miracles of Gold summer skating program. The skaters will perform their individual and group numbers during this entertaining event. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the show is $9 for adults, $7 for juniors and seniors. Children six and under may enter for free.

The ever-popular Freaky Friday show is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the 1932 Rink Jack Shea Arena. Students in the Miracle of Gold summer skating program create their own unique routines for this event. The skaters have come up with wonderful costumes and ideas, such as baseball players playing in Fenway Park, girls dressed in Poodle skirts, hula hoops and much more. This free event is a great way to support the figure skaters.

To learn more about the Lake Placid Summer Skating programs visit www.lakeplacidskating.com.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Adirondack Iron Ore Program in Wilmington

The Wilmington Historical Society will sponsor the program “Adirondack-Champlain Iron: Creator of Boom Towns & Ghost Towns, 1750s-1970s” with guest speaker John Moravek, Associate Professor of Geography, SUNY Plattsburgh. The program will be held at the Wilmington Community Center on Springfield Road in Wilmington, Essex County, on Friday, July 17, at 7 pm. The public is encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Karen Peters at 946-7586 or Merri Peck at 946- 7627.

About the speaker: John Moravek has been on the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh since arriving in fall semester of 1969. Now an Associate Professor of Geography, he teaches a variety of courses, including Physical Geography, Historical and Cultural Geography of the United States; as well as the History and Cultural Geography of Russia. He has also offered a popular and intensive two-week workshop (a 3-credit course) on the Historical Geography of the Adirondack Region every July for the past 26 years consecutively which he considers a genuine labor of love as an incorrigible “Adirondackophile”. John is also an official Forty-Sixer, having climbed the first 45 mountains solo. His doctoral dissertation, completed in 1976, investigated a number of facets of the history and geography of the Adirondack-Champlain Iron Industry. He has also presented several papers on the topic at professional meetings, with aspirations of writing a book on the topic at some future date. Currently, his publications include a number of Review Essays/Book Critiques on various topics, primarily related to the Adirondack Region.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Opinion: DEC’s Low-keyed Response to Aquatic Invasives

First appeared in the June 28, 2009 Sunday Gazette

Summer has come to the Adirondacks, and with it the anticipated flotilla of recreational boaters and fishing fleet, accessing our waterways through a dense network of public and private boat launches.

Joining this annual cavalcade, a horde of invading plants and marine animals: organisms with a proven record of destroying the lakes, ponds and streams they infest. Lake associations and other private organizations across the park are once again gearing up for another season of defense against the introduction of these dangerous pests. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Whiteface to Debut Disc Golf Course July 11th

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) announced Tuesday the addition of a nine-hole disc golf course at Whiteface set to open July 11. The new course features nine distinct “holes” around the lower part of Whiteface that incorporate Mixing Bowl, Wolf, Boreen, Round-a-Bout, Lower Valley and other trails into the layout, with the start and finish area located at the base of the Facelift.

Disc golf consists of players using flying discs instead of clubs and balls to go from the tee box to the hole, usually a metal chain basket of some sort. Players normally have three discs – a driver for teeing off, a mid-range one, and the putter for using around the hole. The object of the game is to complete each hole with the fewest number of throws.

“We are excited about becoming involved in a sport that is growing across the nation,” said Whiteface General Manager Jay Rand. “We have consulted with Dave Messner – the principle of the Lake Placid Middle School – who has played on courses throughout the country.”

Disc golf at Whiteface begins will run daily from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. through September 7. Cost is $5 per person per nine holes, and includes one disc rental. Additional discs may be rented for $2 per disc. For more information contact Whiteface at (518) 946-2223. Information on disc golf can be found at the Professional Disc Golf Association.

For more information on ORDA venues and events and for web cams from five locations, please log on to .


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Milfoil Discovered in Lake Placid

The Board of Trustees of the Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association (LPSOA) today reported that a strain or strains of milfoil have been discovered at three sites on Lake Placid. Over the past week, two separate samples were removed from Paradox Bay and one from East Lake. Biologists working with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) have tentatively identified two of the samples as Variable Leaf Milfoil (VLM).

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension describes Variable Leaf Milfoil as “an aggressive aquatic plant that can form dense mats that congest waterways and crowd out native aquatic plants. Thick growth of this plant can impair recreational uses of waterways including boating, swimming and fishing. Dense growth of variable-leaf milfoil degrades the native habitat of fish and other wildlife, and may also provide breeding areas for mosquitoes. The main method of dispersal of this plant appears to be fragmentation. Plant fragments are moved around by people, animals and water currents.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

NYT Middle East Correspondent to Speak on Iran


New York Times Middle East correspondent Robert F. Worth, recently returned home from Tehran, will provide his perspective on the unfolding events in Iran that have captured the people’s attention around the world as thousands have taken to the streets to protest the Iranian election as a fraud.

Worth will provide his insights tonight, Thursday evening, June 25 at 7:30 PM at the Keene Valley Library on how Mir Hussein Moussavi, a political insider became the leader of a popular upwelling that has resulted in a harsh crackdown, the reported death of 17 protesters, a harsh clampdown and beating of Iranian citizens, and a flood video clips reaching the international media through the efforts of people defying the orders of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Guardian Counsel and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader in the largest anti- government demonstration in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Son of Bob and Blaikie Worth of Keene Valley, Worth joined the Times in 2000, began reporting from Baghdad in 2003 and became their Middle East correspondent in 2007.

For more information contact Naj Wikoff at [email protected] or 576-2063.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Santa’s Workshop Turns Back the Clocks

Santa‘s Workshop opens for their 60th season this Saturday (June 27th) with some prices from the past. Between the hours of 11am-1pm on opening day Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard will be serving up 25 cent cokes and 25 cent hot dogs (admission to the park is additional). Santa’s Workshop is open 5 days per week June 27th-September 7th from 10am-4pm with additional hours during the fall and winter months. Check their website for dates and times at www.northpoleny.com.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

ORDA Celebrates Olympic Day June 20th

The United States Olympic Committee’s Lake Placid Olympic Training Center, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), are cosponsoring Olympic Day on June 20 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Olympic Jumping Complex.

Olympic Day is an international event celebrating and promoting the participation in sport by men, women and children from around the world. It is a worldwide commemoration of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s June 23, 1894, convening of the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the founding of the Modern Olympic Games. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) throughout the world will also participate in the international celebration, with each Olympic Committee sending Olympic Day greetings to participating nations and to further the Olympic spirit and movement.

Local sports club and organizations will be on hand to promote their sports with informational displays, exhibits and interactive activities. The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, the U.S. Luge Association, NYSEF Ski Jumping, Lake Placid Figure Skating, Lake Placid Speed Skating, U.S. Biathlon, and the Lake Placid Horse Show Association are among the groups that are participating in Olympic Day.

This free event features fun for the whole family. The first 1,000 people to enter the venue will receive a commemorative 2016 Chicago Olympic Bid bracelet that also provides free entry to the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. as well as free admission to the Citizens Bank Saturday Night Ice Show at 7:30 p.m. at the Olympic Center.

The activities begin at 1 p.m. with wheeled luge, hockey shot, biathlon, volleyball, and more. Freestyle athletes will be launching off the kickers in hopes of perfecting their twists, turns and flips before splashing down in the 750,000-gallon pool. Nordic athletes take to the ski jumps to see who can fly off the 90-meter jump and land the longest jump of the day. Visitors may take a chairlift and elevator ride to the Sky Deck high atop the 120-meter ski jump tower, listen to live music by 2006 Olympic biathlete Lowell Bailey, and get autographs from U.S. athletes. Athletes expected to be on hand include 2009 FIL World Luge Champion Erin Hamlin, three-time Olympians and 2009 FIL World Championship doubles bronze medalists Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin, 2009 FIS Freestyle Aerial World Champion and Olympian Ryan St. Onge, Olympic biathlete Tim Burke, and others, such as Olympic hopefuls John Napier (bobsled) and Haley Johnson (biathlon).

Guests will also get a chance to win great raffle prizes, including tickets for the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience, VIP dinner at the I Love BBQ Festival, Olympic clothing and much more from famed Whiteface Prize Cube.

The official ceremony is at 1:30 p.m. Village of Lake Placid mayor Craig Randall will read a proclamation supporting Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, followed by a presentation of a ceremonial Chicago flag to Lake Placid. Olympic athletes from the area, as well as those currently in town training at the OTC, will also be recognized.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Adirondack Bloggers, Twitterers, & Friends Event

Adirondack Bloggers, Twitterers, and Friends are welcome to join Small Pines, Adirondack Base Camp, and at least some of the staff of Adirondack Almanack at what’s being called “The Great Adirondack Meet-up/Tweet-up” on Thursday, July 16, 5 to 7 pm at High Peaks Resort, 2384 Saranac Ave (at the corner of Main Street) in Lake Placid.

We’ll be meeting on the deck at Reflections overlooking Mirror Lake. The bar will be available and food can be ordered from the menu.

Hope to see you there!


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.


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.