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.
The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District closes out 2021 with the release of their Annual Report. The document details the District’s 2021 programs, projects, and events.
“The accomplishments listed in our 2021 Annual Report would not be possible without the steadfast support from our Board of Directors, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hamilton County, and local organizations and agencies” said District Manager Caitlin Stewart. “Technicians Lenny Croote and Jaime Parslow, and Clerk Marj Remias provided expert and excellent service to landowners and municipalities year round.”
Highlights from the District’s Annual Report include:
WILMINGTON — The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will distribute a salt use survey this winter to residents, businesses, and independent contractors in Lake Placid. Developed with our partners at the Adirondack Watershed Institute, the survey is essential to determining the amount of salt entering Mirror Lake and the Chubb River. Funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program through a multi-year technical grant, it’s another piece of our ongoing science-based effort to find a solution to road salt contamination in these waterways.
The salt survey is specific to residents and business in the Chubb River watershed. The watershed encompasses the area surrounding Lake Placid and includes the Village of Lake Placid. Completing the survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the area that you care for in your winter maintenance.
Overdue panel charged with preventing further pollution
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday named the members of a promised state task force charged with studying road salt use in the Adirondacks.
The 10 overdue appointees announced by the governor will join representatives from the state Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health and Adirondack Park Agency as they set out to review current salt use practices and make recommendations to minimize future use.
The governor’s direct nominees include former DEC Commissioner Joe Martens; Adirondack Watershed Institute Executive Director Dan Kelting; Megan Phillips, vice president of conservation at the Adirondack Council; and Kristine Stepeneck, a professor at the University of Vermont.
Nonexistent task forces have a 100 percent track record of not issuing reports by deadline. So in that sense, the state’s road salt panel is doing exactly what New Yorkers expected of it.
Under the 2020 legislation establishing it, the task force was supposed to study the impact of road salt in the Adirondacks and come up with a pilot plan for reducing it, reporting to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2021 – as in, weeks ago.
The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) recently announced that it has been awarded a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to expand the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) and further safeguard waterbodies across the Adirondack region.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced nearly $14 million has been awarded to protect clean water across the state. This funding will support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting 91 farms, and is provided through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program, which supports projects that address water quality challenges in priority watersheds and protect the environment.
“New York continues to take decisive action to protect access to clean water across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “This money will go towards fulfilling both those goals by encouraging the implementation of cost-effective waterway protection and reducing our carbon footprint.”
The projects have been awarded to 25 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, on behalf of the farms, who will support on-farm environmental planning and the implementation of best management practice (BMP) systems to keep nutrients and other potential pollutants from entering waterways. BMPs include a variety of measures, including vegetative buffers along streams, cover crops, nutrient management through manure storage, and other conservation measures.
2nd and Final Public Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 2, 2021 to be held via Zoom
RAQUETTE LAKE, NY – The Raquette Lake Preservation Foundation (RLPF) and Northeast Aquatic Research (NEAR) have been working with governmental, NGO, academic and community partners to develop a Lake Management Plan (LMP) for over two years.The study has inventoried the current environmental conditions and aquatic plant life in the lake. NEAR is recommending management priorities for protecting the water quality of the lake, including aquatic invasive species prevention and management; the expansion of research partnerships; and increased public education and awareness of water science.
RLPF would like to encourage anyone interested to come learn more about NEAR’s findings and recommendations from this in-depth process. Please come and join us from the comfort of your home or office as we discuss the Lake Management Plan that is being developed for Raquette Lake to combat Invasive Species. Public input has been critical to the final plan which will be completed in December 2021. Ask questions, and hear about the work completed so far. Let your voice be heard!
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.
Last week, I visited the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College. After talking with the institute’s staff about a litany of water-related issues the organization works on, I walked around the lakefront campus with AWI’s leaders.
The college, which unsurprisingly is well-regarded for its environmental science, forestry and hotel management programs, has less than 1,000 students, what must be some of the best views of any campus in the country and 14,000 acres of Adirondack land.
Saint Albans Vermont based author, artist and aquatic biologist, Corrina Parnapy has released a new book compiled from over a decade of scientific research within the Adirondacks and Vermont, and articles she’s had published regionally and nationally, all focused on the connection between water quality and algae. From road salt, acid rain, invasive species, sewage waste, fertilizers, to lawn care practices; all have a connection and impact on algae populations.
Sometimes it’s not enough to let nature take its course. At least, when humans have intervened and altered a wild river, it can take humans to help restore the river’s health.
That’s what’s happening now on the East Branch of the Ausable River, as Explorer correspondent Tim Rowland reports. It’s one of the most revered watersheds in the East, and its health, water quality and ability to shelter cool, deep pools could prove critical to the persistence of native brook trout as the climate warms.
Ausable River Association stream restoration associate Gary Henry, left, and executive director Kelley Tucker go over restoration plans on the shore of the East Branch of the Ausable River in Upper Jay. Photo by Mike Lynch
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Adirondack Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.
Sometimes in the environmental protection field there’s a celebration of achievements before they’re fully realized. Case in point: We recently reported that a state road salt task force that was celebrated as a potential win for Adirondack water quality was not actually a done deal, as the governor has yet to appoint its members.
Environmental groups are hopeful that incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul will finish the job. The Adirondack Council’s Willie Janeway said this about it in a news release: “Many of the state’s functions inside the Adirondack Park have ground to a halt as the executive branch of government succumbed to administrative paralysis while the current Governor attempted to defend his actions. As Kathy Hochul becomes governor, the entire state will have an opportunity to heal and make progress again.”
It’s important work, as is the road salt study, septic and sewage management and proposed new surveys of park lakes’ changing ecology. We’ll see how the new governor approaches these problems.
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