Algae & Water Quality
As described in the State of the Lake document, Lake George is now facing fundamental threats; including declining water quality and decreasing clarity. These threats are complex and connected. As presented in the Fate of the Lake document, The FUND for Lake George is leading the way to lasting protection with one goal: stopping the present decline of water quality and achieving sustained protection of Lake George for the next generation.
This goal is being accomplished through partnerships, program initiatives and direct investments. One of The FUNDs program initiatives focused on identifying point source problems and assisting property owners with halting runoff and tracking impacts, The Algae Awareness and Analysis program, couples routine monitoring efforts with samples submitted by the public to determine point source problems and identifying solutions.
While Lake George has been historically clean and clear, with very limited near-shore algae growth, limited deep water phytoplankton and an expansive Nitella meadow. Point source problems including; fertilizers, wastewater, detergents, and stormwater, have contributed to excessive nuisance near-shore algal growth and an increase in phytoplankton deep-water.
Near-shore algae (periphyton), is commonly used to identify changes in water quality world-wide, however, the use of near-shore algae within lakes, is new to the United States. Lake George is one of the few lakes within the United States to utilize this groundbreaking method and establish metrics for analysis.
Near-shore algae growth will indicate impacts to water quality and clarity before offshore chemical monitoring efforts. The near-shore algae will still indicate an impact, even after the source has diluted. Near-shore algae can be utilized to detect impacts from: salt, pollution, silt, sewage, and heavy metals.
The trends in increasing near-shore algae and deep-water phytoplankton growth stimulated by nutrient loading should be taken as warning signs. These signs require prompt attention and trend changing action to secure the natural beauty and wonder that make Lake George, Lake George.
Public submission of algal samples
To participate in the Algae Awareness and Analysis Initiative by submitting a sample for analysis, please contact: The FUND for Lake George at (518) 668 9700.
• Collect algae by scraping off of rocks, docks and any hard substrate.
• Any free floating algae can be picked up in the collection container (bag/ bottle etc.)
• If algae are attached to a plant, break off a piece and include in sample.
• Store sample in fridge or cool area until dropped off for analysis.
• All samples must be accompanied by the Chain of Custody Form.
• Drop samples off to: The FUND for Lake George office: 2199A Route 9, Lake George NY.
• Please allow up to 2 weeks for sample to be processed.
Review of 2014 public samples submitted for analysis
• 15% of the samples indicated organic pollution present, ranging from moderate to severe. The metrics used, key in on forms of algae that indicate sewage.
• 73% of the samples indicated trophic impaction, indicating excessive nutrients present from fertilizers or stormwater runoff.
• 83% of the samples contained forms of Cyanobacteria. Forms that could potentially cause a toxic condition. 6% of samples were dominated by forms of Cyanobacteria.