The village of Lake George is days away from turning on its new wastewater treatment plant – a major overhaul years in the making.
I visited the new facility (located in the same place as the old plant) last week and got a tour from plant operator Tim Shudt, who is nearing 10 years in the position. Construction is basically complete, but they are still working out some final details before the new plant can be switched on.
Harmful algal blooms – or HABs – are formations of cyanobacteria, which can rise to the water’s surface under the right conditions. While HABs have the potential to turn toxic, toxins have not been detected in the Lake George HABs. The HABs on Lake George continued in the Harris Bay area and in November the confirmed blooms included some around Cotton near Bolton Landing, according to the DEC map.
Municipalities, businesses and not-for-profit organizations interested in learning how to keep roads, driveways and parking areas safe this winter while reducing the cost and environmental consequences of road salt use are invited to attend the 2021 Adirondack Champlain Regional Salt Summit, Thursday, Oct. 14, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center in Lake George. Online attendance will also be available for those unable to travel to the Summit. Registration is free for all attendees.
This year’s Summit will be the 6th annual gathering focused on best practices for reducing road salt use, and will feature progress on road salt reduction in the Lake George region. It is presented by the Lake George Association, which spearheads the Lake George Road Salt Reduction Initiative, and Lake Champlain Sea Grant. The agenda will include:
Lake George, NY – Many thanks to all 40-50 participants, in our first Asian Clam Day July 15. In-the-water volunteers, 20-25 of us, were successful at collecting many thousands of Asian clams, 9.1% alive, while noting the changed distribution of clams from last year. Our scooping and sifting coincided with the arrival of the Lake George Association Floating Classroom filled with participants enjoying a morning of science and scenery on Lake George. The Floating Classroom was co-sponsored by The Sans Souci Restaurant, the Cleverdale Country Store, and Love Is On Lake George. The morning’s activities were intended to raise awareness about the increasing infestation of Asian clams in Sandy Bay and the concerns of residents. The morning was a success!
Our next Asian clam Day will be August 19, also 9:30-11:30. We ask volunteers to meet in the shallows of Sandy Bay. Please bring sifters, colanders, or spades and shovels, if you can. We will have equipment to lend, and we will have collection containers. For access to Sandy Bay shallows, please email [email protected].
Getting information about it was messy. The Lake George Association first reported the suspicious bloom, found during a routine Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program survey, to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC staff confirmed it was a harmful algal bloom and posted that information on its notifications page. I saw that report and requested information from both LGA staff and the DEC. What then ensued was a back-and-forth between DEC and LGA, via email and phone. It was clear that though the bloom was documented a couple of days before, no one was on the same page about how to get information out about it. There was even discrepancy over whether to call it a harmful algal bloom.
The Lake George Association’s Floating Classroom will be in Sandy Bay to support the Lake Stewardship Group of Cleverdale Asian Clam Day on Thursday, July 15. Asian Clam Day is a hands-on educational and awareness event for residents and visitors.
Pilot Program to Run April 15 to Dec. 15 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin closing the gates at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock boat launches on Lake George on April 15, as part of an ongoing pilot program to increase protections from aquatic invasive species, DEC Regional Director Joseph Zalewski announced today. The overnight closure will continue through Dec. 15.
“Lake George is one of the most beautiful and heavily recreated lakes in the Northeast. We believe the Commission’s mandatory boat inspection program provides a great balance in protecting Lake George from invasive species without impacting boating activities on the lake,” said Dave Wick, Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission. “The state and local partnership that created this invasive species prevention initiative has been tremendously successful over its seven years of existence, and it continues to have strong public support.”
The afternoon of Valentine’s Day, we received a report of 3 loons iced-in a small puddle near the west shore of Lake George, with an eagle sitting on the edge of the ice. Apparently a 4th loon had already met its demise, so it was important to rescue these trapped birds as soon as possible. Being late in the day, it was decided to attempt the rescue the following morning.
That area of the lake had just frozen in the previous week with a couple of days of below-zero temps, so the loons were trapped by quickly forming ice. We’ve had a relatively mild winter, thus some loons had wintered over on Lakes Champlain and George.
At this time of year, loons are molting out of their winter plumage and into their black and white breeding plumage. They also completely lose their flight feathers, so they are flightless for about a month until the new ones grow in. Thus, they can easily become trapped in a small pool of water if the ice forms quickly.
DEC is conducting a survey to elicit public feedback on the overnight gate closure program for Lake George at Mossy Point and Roger’s Rock boat launches. The information gathered will inform a more permanent program for future boating seasons and support the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Lake George from invasive pests.
We encourage boaters that have used either access sites to take a brief survey. The survey and comment period will remain open until March 12, 2021. Comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected].
The LGA, in consultation with our members — and our friends at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute — have determined that “Ice-In” for Lake George was Thursday morning, Feb. 11, 2021.
We expect there were a few areas without ice on Feb. 11, as occurs every year, but the conditions met the definition of “ice-in” we have always used: when someone could walk from one end of the Lake to the other solely on the ice – though it is NOT SAFE TO WALK ON YET in some areas!
Much of the Lake had already frozen by that time, but the stubborn area in Hague had open water across the Lake through Tuesday, Feb. 9. The wind stopped after the snow on Tuesday night and the rest froze.
The Lake did not fully freeze last year, so it is the first time it is fully covered in ice since 2019. (Ice-out in 2019 was April 13, Ice-in in 2019 was January 22.)
In fact, according to LGA records that date back to 1908, the Lake has stayed “open” (not fully frozen over) seven of the last 21 years.
This topic holds a special place in my journalist heart. When I worked in Auburn, Owasco Lake, which is the drinking water source for a large part of Cayuga County, had harmful algal blooms (more accurately called cyanobacteria) near the City of Auburn’s drinking water intake pipe. Nearly every day in the summer and fall I was writing a story about whether the water was safe to drink and safe to swim in, not just for people, but for pets, too. I wrote about dogs that had died from ingesting the scum. Some cyanobacteria blooms have liver and neurotoxins that are fast-acting and kill pets, waterfowl and other animals.
In an unfortunate coincidence that may be no coincidence at all given the warm temperatures, two of the region’s famed lakes have been partly covered by harmful algal blooms in the past several days.
The first is Lake George, which hadn’t had a confirmed algal bloom on its surface.
The second is Mirror Lake, the lake at the center of the Village of Lake Placid. This algal bloom could also be a first for that lake.
I’ve been writing about the potential for harmful algal blooms to strike Adirondack lakes over the past year, starting with a look at the worst case scenario, which is what years of runoff have done to Lake Champlain. That story include a quick primer on what we’re talking about:
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