This article originally appear in the Lake George Mirror.
Over the past five years, The Fund for Lake George has invested more than $6 million in scientific research and science-based approaches to the challenges facing Lake George, Jeff Killeen, the chairman of the board of trustees, said at the organization’s annual meeting, held July 7 at the Sagamore.
“A dollar contributed to The Fund, on average, catalyzes six additional dollars of support in the form of additional partner contributions and grant support for lake protection projects,” said Killeen.
Killeen announced at the July 7 meeting that $443,000 will be distributed in 2018 to a variety of projects designed to advance scientific research, combat invasive species, reduce the use of salt on winter roads and curb water pollution.
“The Fund’s direct investments in science and solutions will ensure the enduring protection of Lake George,” said Eric Siy, The Fund’s executive director.
This year’s grants include: $250,000 to the Jefferson Project for research; $90,000 to the Lake George Park Commission for invasive species prevention and management; $8,500 to the Town of Lake George for the reduction of road salt; and almost $300,000 to the Towns of Bolton, Hague and Queensbury to improve municipal and private wastewater treatment systems.
“An important part of The Fund’s strategy has been our ability to be a fund not only in name but in practice, underwriting high-impact lake protection projects throughout the basin,” said Killeen.
The $443,000 in grants announced on July 7 is a portion of the $1.2 million The Fund for Lake George will spend in lake protection efforts in 2018, said Killeen. According to Eric Siy, The Fund’s so-called “model for the enduring protection of Lake George,” which he defines as “partnerships, innovations and direct investments,” is already “delivering results and meeting hard target milestones in the areas of invasive species prevention, road salt reduction and water quality and clarity protection.”
At the July 7 meeting, Siy said that over the past year, his organization has helped: Lake George Village win $7 to $9 million in state funds for its wastewater treatment plant; persuade New York State to build a boat washing station at a new I-87 rest area south of Lake George to intercept invasive species; replace 16% of the septic systems around Dunham’s Bay, creating a model for wastewater treatment improvements that can be adopted throughout the Lake George watershed; and win the New York State Department of Transportation’s support for reduced salt use in the Lake George basin.
Among The Fund’s 2018 grants: $50,000 to finance the construction of “wood chip bioreactors” - underground trenches filled with high-grade woodchips – at Bolton’s wastewater treatment plant.
According to Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, filtering effluent through wood chips can “significantly” decrease its levels of nitrogen – a nutrient that contributes to the growth of algae.
At the July 7 meeting, another measure recommended by The Fund, that of discontinuing the treatment of wastewater through defective sand beds, “has already reduced the flow of nutrients three fold,” Navitsky said.
“Our targeted investments are delivering measureable returns,” said Siy. “Our ultimate success will benefit future generations and fresh waters everywhere.”