This fall the Lake George Association (LGA) has been at work along waters that flow into Lake George, including Foster Brook in the hamlet of Huletts Landing, and English Brook in Lake George Village. The LGA also partnered with the Warren County Conservation District (WCSWCD), and the towns of Hague and Bolton to remove over 1300 cubic yards of material from eight sediment basins in the two towns, the equivalent of about 110 dump truck loads.
At Huletts, Foster Brook was severely eroded during last year’s Tropical Storm Irene. Lots of unwanted material was deposited along the banks and within the stream, interrupting the natural flow of the water. This material was removed, and some was used, along with new stone, to stabilize the streambanks. In October, dozens of native plants and shrubs were planted along English Brook near its mouth at Lake George. » Continue Reading.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the Invasive Species Prevention Act, legislation designed to help prevent the spread of destructive invasive plants and animals by making it illegal to sell and transport invasive species in the state, amid calls to close the Champlain Canal immediately to prevent the spread of the latest invasive threat .
The new law, said by advocates to have been a collaborative effort by state agencies and stakeholders, including conservation organizations, lake associations, agriculture and forestry organizations, scientists and academia, was unanimously passed in June by the New York State Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) and Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury), creates a statewide regulatory system to prohibit or limit the sale and transport of known invasive plants and animals that impact natural areas and industries that depend on natural resources. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Association will offer a Lake-friendly Living Open House on Saturday, June 2, 2012 from 10 am – 2 pm at the Lake George Association office at 2392 State Rt. 9N in Lake George. The open house is free.
Product representatives and installers will be available to share ideas for living green, including: permeable patios and driveways, alternative septic systems for tough spaces, rain gardens, shoreline buffers, native plants, wooden deck stains, green motorboat oil, environmentally friendly cleaning products, stormwater solutions, geo-thermal heating and cooling, and lake-friendly landscaping. » Continue Reading.
Please join us in welcoming the Almanack‘s newest contributor, Emily DeBolt. Emily is committed to promoting native plants and landscapes. She and her husband Chris own Fiddlehead Creek Farm and Native Plant Nursery in Hartford, NY (just outside the blue line in Washington County) where they grow a wide variety of plants native to New York and the Adirondacks for sustainable landscapes.
Emily graduated from Cornell University and received a Masters Degree at SUNY-ESF, falling in love with the Adirondacks during her time in Newcomb at the Huntington Wildlife Forest. Readers may recognize Emily’s name from her work as Director of Education at the Lake George Association. Emily is a member of the New York Nursery and Landscape Association, the New York Flora Association and a member of the newly formed Adirondack Botanical Society.
The Lake George Association (LGA) is supporting a bill on invasive species recently introduced in the New York State Legislature by Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst). The bill would authorize the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to establish a list of invasive species that will be prohibited from being sold, transported, and introduced in New York State. Similar laws have already been passed in Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
“Invasive species can present devastating threats to the ecology of New York, and to its recreational and economic health,” local Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, the co-prime sponsor of the bill, said. “We need to do all we can to control existing invasives from spreading, and new invasives from being introduced,” she added. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Association has released a report detailing findings from the 2011 Lake Steward program on Lake George. The program seeks to protect the Lake from the introduction and spread of invasive species that could negatively alter the Lake’s ecosystem, shoreline property values, and the region’s tourism-driven economy.
In 2011, Lake Stewards were posted at six launches around Lake George: Norowal Marina, Mossy Point, Hague Town Beach, Rogers Rock, Dunham’s Bay, and Million Dollar Beach; they interacted with about 8,600 boats. » Continue Reading.
Beach Road at the south end of the Lake is about to become the first heavily traveled roadway in New York State (and one of the only roads in all of the Northeast) to be paved with porous asphalt. This technology allows stormwater to drain through and be filtered naturally by the earth below. The silt, salt and pollutants the stormwater carries are expected to be filtered naturally and not go into the Lake.
The $6 million-plus reconstruction project is expected to begin in mid-April, and be completed in about 18 months. The pavement will be installed between Canada Street and Fort George Road. Warren County Director of Public Works, Jeff Tennyson, and the state Department of Transportation, have helped move the project forward, one expected to get national recognition, and set a precedent for other lakeside communities. Beach Road has been in need of reconstruction for several years. In 2010, Warren County was planning to use traditional asphalt on the road. After attending the North County Stormwater Conference & Trade Show, and seeing several presentations on porous asphalt applications, Randy Rath, project manager at the LGA, and Dave Wick, director of Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, encouraged the county to consider porous asphalt as an alternative to traditional asphalt.
Together, Randy and Dave quickly conducted research on the possibilities and made a presentation. In 2011, the LGA provided just over $8,000 in funding for a feasibility study with project engineer Tom Baird (Barton & Loguidice), to provide the information the county and state needed to move forward. At the same time, Dave Wick helped draft an application for additional monies to offset any higher cost from using porous asphalt.
Because this technology is still relatively new in the U.S., the county plans to install the infrastructure and storm drain system that would be needed with traditional asphalt, while the road is under construction. This traditional drainage system will be capped off and is expected to be brought online only in the event that the permeable pavement fails and has to be replaced by traditional asphalt at some point in the future.
Stormwater runoff is considered the number one source of pollutants entering Lake George. The dense development at the south end of the Lake, and the many impervious surfaces created by it, increases the volume and rate of flow of stormwater. Along with the stormwater, many contaminants, such as silt, salt and harmful nutrients, are carried directly into the Lake.
According to the Lake George Association (LGA), research studies and previous projects have shown that porous pavement is highly effective in draining stormwater, and as a result, it increases traction, reduces the build up of ice, and requires much less de-icing material in the winter. The amount of salt detected in the south end of the lake has doubled in just over 20 years according to the LGA.
Photos: Above, the Beach Road in Lake George Village; Middle, a cross-section of porous pavement technology; Below, porous pavement in use at an Albany parking lot. Courtesy LGA.
Lake George received the best reading on a measurement for clarity among 98 New York lakes in 2011, the Lake George Association (LGA) has announced. “If you want clear water in New York State, Gull Bay on Lake George is the place to be” said Nancy Mueller, the manager of the NYS Federation of Lake Associations, Inc., the organization sponsoring New York’s Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP), in conjunction with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. On Lake George, the program has been coordinated by the Lake George Association for the past eight years. » Continue Reading.
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 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.
A multi-year project to protect the upstream waters of Indian Brook has been completed by the Lake George Association (LGA). The project is located at the intersection of Federal Hill and Sawmill roads in the town of Bolton.
Over a number of years, a small section of Indian Brook started to collect sediment in an area that was once a swimming hole. Eventually the swimming hole completely filled in, and non-wetland vegetation became established. Without the swimming hole to slow the velocity of the water, the brook started to carry more sediment downstream and into Lake George, contributing to a delta at the mouth of the brook. In 2009, the LGA cleaned out the swimming hole. Approximately 500 cubic yards of material were removed. In the spring of 2010, native shrubs were planted along the bank to filter storm runoff. The former swimming hole is now functioning as a sediment basin, allowing sediment that is carried during high flow periods to swirl around and drop out of the stream. The sediment remains in the basin and does not flow down to the Lake.
This summer the LGA completed construction of a second sediment basin, a little further upstream from the original. “Our goal with this second project was two-fold,” said Randy Rath, LGA project manager. “One, create an offline basin that will capture and settle out suspended material during storm events. Two, enhance an existing wetland area and use the natural process of wetland formation to remove some nutrients present in the water column.”
“The wetland area is actually more like a sand bar,” Rath said. “It was originally formed during the 2005 storm event that brought about 7” of rain and washed out many roads in the Bolton area. During the storm, some finer material was deposited on the back end of the sandbar, and the area was eventually able to support wetland vegetation.”
LGA Education Director Emily DeBolt selected plants to match wetland species already present in the area. After installation by LGA staff, the wetland plants were given over a month to grow. With frequent watering from LGA staff and some timely rain, all of the plants and grasses survived a hot summer. Initially the wetlands were separated from the flow of the stream by sand bags and a straw bale dike. Fortunately the dike was not opened until after Tropical Storm Irene, and even though water overflowed the dike during the storm, the basin and wetlands remained intact, and continue to function as designed.
A third component of this Indian Brook project included roadside drainage improvements. A roadside ditch was stabilized and several check dams were put in place to slow the stormwater flow running down the shoulder of Federal Hill Road. A small basin installed at the end of the ditch captures the flow and allows sediment and debris to fall out. Additional road shoulder work allows for some stormwater sheet flow to occur over a vegetated area. The remaining shoulder work reinforced and directed the flow around a bend in the road to another small basin that captures the stormwater.
“Now with these essential upstream projects complete,” Walt Lender, LGA Executive Director, said. “We expect to see a dramatic reduction in the growth of the delta at the mouth of Indian Brook. The size of the delta that exists there now we know is not healthy for the Lake, and we are moving forward with our effort to remove this delta, as well as deltas located at the mouth of Finkle and Hague brooks,” he added.
Photos: Above, an area of Indian Brook earlier this year filled in with sediment; below, the same area of Indian Brook after a sediment basin and wetlands enhancement area was created.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors has voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law, which took effect immediately, makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal.
It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only supervisor to oppose the measure saying the penalties were too harsh. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Association (LGA) and the Southern Adirondack Audubon Society (SAAS) are sponsoring a volunteer event at West Brook tomorrow Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 9 am to 1 pm. Volunteers are needed to remove invasive shrubby honeysuckle and to replace it by planting native species.
The LGA is working on a management plan to maintain the banks of West Brook, which is centered between the north and south parcels of the West Brook Conservation Initiative, a stormwater treatment complex and environmental park currently being designed and constructed. » Continue Reading.
The environmental impacts of dredging the deltas that develop at the mouths of Lake George’s tributaries will receive a second look from conservation agencies and advocacy groups.
New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to conduct the new review, which will include a study of methods to be used to dredge deltas around the lake, including those at the outlets of Hague, Finkle and Indian Brooks.
The review will constitute an update of the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the “Lake George Delta Sediment Management/ Shoreline Restoration Project,” approved by the Lake George Park Commission in 2002. The Lake George Association has formally requested the new review, said Walt Lender, the LGA’s executive director.
“We were very involved in drafting the original Environmental Impact Statement, and we felt it was necessary to supplement the original by investigating new methods of dredging so they’ll be fully vetted,” said Lender.
The review should be completed by autumn, 2011, said Lender.
The decision to conduct a new review apparently resolves a deadlock over whether to dredge a delta at the mouth of Finkle Brook, in Bolton Landing.
The proposed method of dredging the delta, called mechanical dredging, was not one authorized when the original Environmental Impact Statement was approved, the Lake George Park Commission said in a resolution adopted in September.
The project as designed might have unintended environmental impacts, the Commission stated.
According to Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who also objected to the plan to employ mechanical dredging, “While that method – using a steam shovel and scraping the lake bottom – may be the least expensive, it’s one that’s most damaging to the lake.” Walt Lender said he hoped mechanical dredging would be approved during the supplemental review so that it could be used at Finkle Brook and other sites around the lake.
According to Lender, an excavator builds its own “access pads” of dredged material as it moves out from shore. The excavator is then reversed, removing the sediment as it returns to shore. The sediment is then transported by truck to a nearby landfill.
Chris Navitsky, however, says the access pads are roads constructed in the lake which, even after they have been removed, will damage the lake and shoreline.
Navitsky also claims the dredging will allow nutrients to escape, creating algae blooms.
Photo: A large Lake George delta, this one at the mouth of English Brook in Lake George Village. Courtesy of Lake George Association.
For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror or visit Lake George Mirror Magazine.
Learn how to keep an eye out for newts, frogs, toads and other amphibians at a free workshop at the Lake George Association on Thursday, April 14, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. David Patrick, director of the Center for Biodiversity at Paul Smith’s College will be the presenter. Workshop attendees, ages 10 and older, will learn how to assist in amphibian conservation efforts.
Amphibians in the Adirondacks face a wide range of challenges. Habitat destruction, invasive species, diseases, climate change, and deaths caused by vehicles have led to declines in many of the 32 species of amphibians — 14 frogs and toads and 18 salamanders — found in New York State. The Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) designed this hour-long, family-friendly workshop to show people how to monitor amphibians and their habitats. The data collected by observers will help researchers with amphibian conservation efforts.
“One of the best ways to help conserve these animals is to learn more about where they are currently found, and the types of habitats they are using,” said David Patrick. “This workshop will show where you can learn more about these animals, how to identify them, where to find them, and the information that can be collected to aid in their conservation.”
For more information, contact David Patrick, (518) 327-6174, [email protected], or visit www.paulsmiths.edu/ATBI, or contact Emily DeBolt, LGA director of education, (518) 668-3558, [email protected], or visit www.lakegeorgeassociation.org.
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