The Lake George Association (LGA) has announced the completion of a project to build a new sediment basin at the mouth of English Brook, one of the eight major streams entering Lake George. Tropical Storm Irene changed the route of the brook near its mouth, returning the stream to the path it took 50 years ago, prior to the construction of the Adirodnack Northway.
English Brook has been of high concern for over a decade. Land development in the watershed has increased the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff, leading to increased pollution entering the brook and creating one of the largest deltas on the Lake. English Brook has high levels of total phosphorus, chlorides, total suspended sediments, lead and nitrate-nitrogen. The new basin is expected to slow the flow of water and allow sediment to fall out prior to entering the Lake. The basin is expected to be cleaned out every one to two years, when it reaches about 50-75% capacity. Each time it is cleaned out, roughly 300-400 cubic yards of material is expected to be removed.
The 150-foot long sediment basin was designed by the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District (WCSWCD) with financial assistance from the LGA.
English Brook is located just north of Lake George Village at the Lochlea Estate. Earlier this summer, the LGA installed a $49,500 Aqua-Swirl stormwater separator on the property, as part of a $100,000 stormwater project. This system is collecting previously untreated stormwater runoff from both the east and west sides of Rt. 9N, as well as the bridge between the two exits at Exit 22 on Interstate 87. The majority of the runoff in a 48-acre subwatershed is now being captured and treated.
Now that much of the upland work is complete, lake advocates believe the final step should be the removal of the sediment that has built up in the delta over the course of generations. The nutrient-rich sediment in deltas supports invasive plant growth, hampers fish spawning, harbors nuisance waterfowl, impedes navigation and property values have been reduced.
Photo: The new sediment pond at English Brook. Courtesy LGA.
The Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force (Task Force) has conducted a lake wide survey to identify any additional sites of infestation since the discovery of Asian clam in Lake George waters in late summer of 2010.
The Lake George Association (LGA) has released preliminary results from the 2011 Lake Steward program. The LGA has managed training, hiring, supervision and reporting for the Lake Steward Program since 2008.
During the summer of 2011, LGA Lake stewards were posted at six different boat launches: Norowal Marina, Mossy Point, Hague Town Beach, Rogers Rock, Dunham’s Bay, and Million Dollar Beach. The stewards inspected 8,584 boats for invasive species, removed suspicious specimens from 52 boats prior to launch, and educated over 19,000 people about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. » Continue Reading.
Variable-leaf watermilfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum), an aquatic invasive plant, has been found in the South Bay of Lake Champlain, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.
Variable-leaf watermilfoil is difficult to control once a population is established in a waterbody. It is able to grow in a wide variety of environmental conditions, is aggressive and grows rapidly. Dense growth of variable-leaf watermilfoil crowds out beneficial native aquatic plants and can impair recreational uses including boating, fishing and swimming. » Continue Reading.
A year ago Sacandaga Lake was added to a growing list of New York State waterbodies infested with a new invader, the Spiny Water Flea. The Spiny Water Flea hitchhiked from Eurasia to Lake Huron in 1984 in ship ballast water, and since then, has spread to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Great Sacandaga Lake, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir, threatening aquatic ecosystems, fishing, and tourism. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking action to combat this tiny critter that could mean big changes for our lakes. » Continue Reading.
Lampreys (petromyzontidae) are native to parts of the Adirondacks. They are among the most primitive fish in the world and can be distinguished from eels by their lack of jaws and paired fins. Most species of Lamprey have a parasitic life stage, where they will attach themselves to other fish like Lake Trout and “rasp” through the skin using their teeth and tongue. Within the Adirondacks three species can be found within Lake Champlain and some of its tributaries, these include: Silver lamprey, Sea lamprey, and the non-parasitic American Brook lamprey. Lampreys have an elongate shape with seven pairs of round gill openings. They have a single nostril that is located in front of the eyes. All species have similar life histories; in the spring, they move into streams to spawn. Adults build nests by moving pebbles on the substrate to form a depression in which to lay their eggs. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy:
While fishing a fairly remote brook trout pond, a man in an official looking green uniform approaches and asks to see your fishing license.
While camping on a lake, a woman in a green uniform – a little different from the uniform you had seen before – comes into camp and makes some inquiries about your plans and practices for storing food and waste. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by longtime local guide Joe Hackett:
The Adirondack Park has a long and storied history of outdoor sporting adventures.
For centuries, the region was a favored hunting ground for the Iroquois and Algonquin nations. Indeed, the area provided the first commodities of trade in the New World as Adirondack beaver pelts became crucial to early commerce. » Continue Reading.
The mysterious, unique, native populations of the American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) have drastically declined in the Adirondacks from historic populations. Surprisingly, individuals can still be found in tiny creeks buried in gravel and mud or under rocks. It has been recommended that the American eel be placed on the Endangered Species list due to alterations to migration routes and loss of habitat, mainly caused by dams along the migration routes.
American eel’s are elongate and very flexible. They have no pelvic fin and their anal and dorsal fins are joined forming one fin that runs around their body. The mouth is terminal, with a projecting lower jaw.
Eels are catadromous, meaning they live most of their adult life in freshwater and return to the sea to spawn and die. American eels are among the longest-lived fish species in North America. A female American eel held in captivity was recorded to be 88 years old prior to her death. The females are larger than the males, averaging three feet long while the males generally reach 1.5 feet long. The females, which have not yet reproduced, are generally what are caught in freshwater systems. The largest eel taken in New York State was seven pounds and 14 ounces, from Cayuga Lake in 1984. At maturity a female can lay between 10-20 million eggs.
The migratory nature of eels means that they can travel thousands of miles upstream, lakes, up and around waterfalls and small dams. They can even travel overland during rainy nights, creating the myth that they come out of the water and crawl across the land. Larval eels that are located out at sea are called leptocephali, they are transparent, ribbon-shaped and are poor swimmers. At age one, the leptocephali swim to shore along the coast of the United States and transform into elvers or glass eels. During this process, they gain their coloring and shrink in size. At this time females will migrate great distances upstream to mature, while males will stay closer to the coast.
After 20-50 years in freshwater the eels transform again into silver eels and move back out to the spawning area, the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean to spawn and then die. The mating behavior of the American eel has never been witnessed. The diet of eels varies by size; the smaller eels eat insects such as mayflies and caddisflies, the larger eels will eat fish and crustaceans, They are most active at night, spending their days hiding under rocks and in the mud.
Eels are considered commercially important in New York and are frequently caught by anglers. American Eels were historically caught for their skins, which were used to bind books or for their oils which were used for medicinal purposes. Today Eels may contain high levels of PCB’s and cannot be commercially sold. Throughout New York State, except the Hudson River, St. Lawrence River, Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and tributaries to these waters, you can fish for American Eel all year. The minimum length is 6 inches with a daily limit of 50.
Corrina Parnapy is a Lake George native and a naturalist who writes about the environment and Adirondack natural history for the Adirondack Almanack.
Photo: An American Eel caught by US Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Steven Smith holding an eel caught while night electrofishing for salmon in Whallon Bay, Lake Champlain. Photo courtesy USFWS.
A new infestation of the invasive species Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) has been discovered in Lake George in Boon Bay in the Town of Bolton. The new infestation was discovered as part of the FUND for Lake George’s Eurasian watermilfoil management and control program in cooperation with the Lake George Park Commission. Initial survey work by the RPI Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Boon Bay estimates the population to be 3.75 acres – 5 acres in size.
This is the second infestation discovered in Lake George. Last fall a 5-acre infestation in the Village of Lake George was discovered. The Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force organized to combat this infestation and a treatment effort has been underway in the Village since late April under permits from the Adirondack Park Agency and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Over 725 benthic barriers have been installed to suffocate the clams. » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension will be working in cooperation with Sportsmen Education Instructors and the Warren County Conservation Council to host various sportsmen education classes on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th.
Three classes are being offered each day; Sportsman Education, Bow Hunter Education, or Trapper Education (you may choose ONLY ONE class per day). These Sportsman and Bowhunter Education classes are being offered as home study course and all materials need to be picked up at Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center. All classes are FREE and will be held from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at PACK FOREST in Warrensburg. Lunch will be available at the site for a fee of $6 and will include hamburgers or hotdogs; a drink; and a chips. The proceeds of the lunch are going to support the Warren County Conservation Council’s efforts in education and advocacy. This fee can be paid when you pick up the course materials; PLEASE BRING EXACT CHANGE.
Registration is required and classes will fill quickly. For more information, please contact the CCE Education Center at (518) 623-3291 or 668-4881 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Family Fishing at Cascade Lake (1973, Anne LaBastille-EPA Photo).
Have you ever wondered what that slimy green/ brown stuff covering rocks or floating in the water was? What you were looking at was algae. Algae, like plants, use the sun to make energy (photosynthetic organisms), and are food for a variety of animals including fish, bugs, and birds. Algae differ from plants by not having true roots and leaves.
Also like plants, algae need light and a food source to grow. Algae loves phosphorus and nitrogen that enter the water. If these nutrients enter the water excessively, algae can bloom and become a nuisance and potential health hazard. When algae blooms it can become toxic, clog intake pipes and discourage swimming and other recreational activities. Algal blooms have been found in bodies of water throughout the Adirondacks, some of the most noted in Lake Champlain where blue/green algae or cyanobacteria can be found. These algae can form toxic blooms that can harm humans, pets and wildlife. Not all algae produces toxins, in fact most algae does not.
Lake George has been also been experiencing algal blooms. Algae there is found in the littoral zone, or near shore and is mostly green algae with very little blue/green. Generally algal blooms within Lake George are caused by lawn fertilizers washing into the lake, faulty septic systems, and storm water.
Excessive amounts of algae can also cause a dead-zone within a lake, an area of the water that has no oxygen and thus no fish. If you see an algal bloom in Lake Champlain contact the Lake Champlain Committee at (802) 658-1414 and report time of day, location and a description. Algal bloom in Lake George should be reported to the Lake George Waterkeeper.
While excessive amounts of algae are bad, it is a natural part of the aquatic environment. Algae can also be used by a trained scientist to determine if a body of water is healthy.
There are a variety of types of algae that can be seen in almost any body of water, including your fish tank. One of the more interesting types, looks like a ribbon twisting in a glass bottle. This form is often found in Lake George.
Advocates of combating invasive species in the Adirondacks are hoping local residents and visitors will become familiar with invasive species at activities planned for the 6th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 10-16.
Invasives Awareness Week provides an opportunity for communities to highlight the threats of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Interpretive walks and paddles, identification support, invasive species talks, workshops for all ages and more are planned throughout the Adirondacks. The schedule of events is posted online. Events are free, but preregistration may be requested for certain events. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Hilary Smith of the Adirondack Invasive Plant Program a founding member organization of the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).
Some of the latest regional invasive species news has chronicled the detection of a new population of didymo, also known as “rocksnot.” Now in five rivers in NY, the closest of which is Kayaderosseras Creek with headwaters that lie in the southern Adirondacks, didymo is literally one step away from invading renowned trout streams such as the Ausable. A single celled alga that blankets riverbeds, didymo is easily spread on the felt soles of waders. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a story of some young men from Albany learning to fly fish on the West Branch of the Ausable River, and who for the first time experience the pull of the river, its rocks and pools, a trout on the line, and in their hands. I start with some background.
When Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve organized one year ago, we decided to seek out non-traditional allies and educational partners in our efforts to broaden aware, informed support for wild nature. One of those partners is Brother Yusuf Burgess of Albany. For many years, Brother Yusuf has been helping young urban youth to discover discipline, teamwork, self-awareness and self-worth in the great outdoors. As often as time and funds allow, Yusuf brings youth from Albany to the Adirondacks, Catskills, Hudson Valley and beyond to learn outdoor skills such as boat-building, fishing, skiing, camping. He understands young people and the streets. He has walked their walk.
A former counselor at the Albany Boys and Girls Clubs, Yusuf is employed as Family Intervention Specialist with Green Tech Charter High School. He is an experienced kayaker and fisherman, founder of the Environmental Awareness Network for Diversity in Conservation, and is also New York’s representative on the Children and Nature Network. For several years, Yusuf worked for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to recruit more children and families of color into DEC’s Summer Campership program. His successful efforts to create teen “eco-clubs” in urban America have been noticed at home and internationally, and he is widely sought as a speaker. Some of the young men and women whom Yusuf influenced have gone on to professional careers, and some have returned to help Yusuf mentor today’s teens.
Yusuf and his students are featured in the acclaimed 2010 documentary film, Mother Nature’s Child (Fuzzy Slippers Productions, Burlington, VT), which explores nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development. To quote from the film’s promotional materials, “The film marks a moment in time when a living generation can still recall childhoods of free play outdoors; this will not be true for most children growing up today.” For more, go to www.mothernaturesmovie.com.
Recently, Yusuf brought six young men from Albany’s Green Tech Charter High School to learn fly fishing from Adirondack Wild’s Dan Plumley, to apply what they learn on the West Branch of the Ausable River, and to camp out at Dan’s oak grove in Keene. Yusuf had each boy equipped with fly rod, poncho, and camping gear. Dan worked tirelessly to improve their casting technique, where the thumb and tip of the rod work together to drop the fly where it wants to be – right where the hatch is rising and the fish biting. Few other sports require the wrist and shoulder to be so still. Slowly, with Dan’s careful guidance some of them got the feel for it.
On the river, Dan explained about the Forest Preserve and its significance, and taught the boys that this particular section of the West Branch was a “no kill” conservation area, where fish are “catch and release” only. He showed them how to tie a fly, how to hold the hook to avoid being punctured, and how to read the river for the best places to fish.
One boy got in the waders, took Dan’s favorite rod, and immersed himself in the life of the West Branch. Completely absorbed, he moved upriver to an unoccupied pool, casting by himself. About 2 pm, we heard him. He had a trout on his line! His friends joined him as he unhooked a nice brown trout, proudly held it for the cameras, and released it. This was one of many special moments where these young men exchanged self-consciousness for independence as they explored a completely new and challenging outdoor world.
As other fishers left a pool unoccupied, Dan moved the group to that very spot and found that within minutes the trout were rising to a hatch, perhaps the black flies which were beginning to harass us on the bank. Dan positioned the young men for success, but their casts were just falling short of the constantly rising fish. Finally, Dan took his rod and practice-cast upstream, and then dropped the fly perfectly. After several attempts, he had a trout on the line. He called for one the boys to bring it in slowly and very soon in their hands was a handsome, small brook trout which tolerated a photo-shoot, and then shot from their hands back into the river: a magical conclusion to the afternoon’s “edventure,” a term Yusuf uses frequently.
Back at their camp in Dan’s oak grove, the boys settled in to tend and watch their camp fire, joke and laugh, and also to think on the day and what they had accomplished. “I am thinking about how far I am from home right now,” said one young man very quietly as he stared into the fire’s light. I knew he was not merely referring to road miles, but to inner miles. Next morning, Dan asked another about his overnight experience. “It was my first time camping, and it was extremely fun!”
It is remarkable to see how Yusuf works with these young men who, without the guidance and opportunities for growth he provides, might easily fall under many negative influences close to their homes. Yusuf participates in their camaraderie, knows these young men, and knows how to bring out their best qualities, put them to work, and to earn their respect. I am pleased we are playing a small role in Yusuf’s determined campaign to transform the lives of several generations of urban youth through exposure to nature in the wild Adirondacks.
Photos: Brother Yusuf Burgess with the young men he brought with him to the Ausable; Brother Yusuf; Dan Plumley coaches from mid-stream; Trout in the hand.
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