Lake George Association Presents Progress Reports on Lake Protection Efforts

Buzz Lamb
The Lake George Mirror

The Lake George Association focused on projects, both on-going and completed, at its annual meeting, held this year in the Silver Bay boathouse on August 18. Detailed reports were given by staff and board members.

The meeting began with opening remarks from Executive Director Walt Lender. Lender said Board President Mike Dier was unable to attend but sent a letter to Lender to be read to the audience in attendance. Dier wrote that he wished to extend his gratitude for the dedication and commitment of LGA members. “I hope you will see at the conclusion of this meeting that our hard-working staff and dedicated board have accomplished so much for Lake George,” he wrote.

Lender then called upon LGA Treasurer Bob du Buys for a financial summary for fiscal year 2016. “Basically we had an increase (of total net assets) of about $300,000 over 2015. Most of that came from generous gifts and donations from folks and an increase in our Second Century Fund. We are solvent … we’ve got cash in the bank … we had a good year” he said.

Jim Casaccio, nominating committee chair, presented a slate of new directors whose term will expire in 2020. The list included current members Carla Burhoe (Diamond Point), Charlie Crew (Assembly Point) and Bill Dutcher (Pilot Knob) as well as a new nominee, Bolton resident Bob Case. A motion was made to accept all nominees, seconded and carried with a unanimous vote.

Lender said the most important part of the meeting was next on the agenda. “It is an overview of our Annual Report.  It is a representation of what your donations have done to preserve the lake,” he said. “What it does not show is what occurs when we have to shift gears to deal with emergencies. Our position, as a non-governmental organization that advocates for water-quality protection, puts us in a unique position and our focus on the lake allows us to re-allocate our resources when an emergency happens,” he said. 

Lender referenced the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene and the LGA’s response efforts repairing damage to streams around the lake. “We sprang into action when Asian Clams were discovered in the lake and when the Lake George Park Commission needed help with safety materials for rental boat operations, we jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “And this year we committed a significant amount of resources to hunt down the source of E-coli (Escherichia coli) contamination that contributed to the closing of Million Dollar Beach.” Project Manager Randy Rath said dye and smoke testing of sewer lines and stormwater lines in conjunction with New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the area of Million Dollar Beach began in February of 2017.  “DEC even used ground-penetrating radar to try to find the problem,” he said.

Water Quality Specialist, Dr. Jeremy Farrell said 535 samples have been taken thus far this year and only three closures have occurred.  “The threshold for E-coli contamination is 235 colony forming units (CFU) in 100 mL of water (about half a cup).  The average results have been in the 21 to 23 CFU … that’s ten percent of maximum allowable,” he said.  “None of you are shocked by this because Lake George is a beautiful lake.  At several testing locations there is not even detectible levels of E-coli around the lake.” Director of Education Kristen Wilde said the public needs to be reminded that anything on the land in the basin can end up in the lake.  “What can you do to help?  If you see a clogged storm drain … clean it out.  Even your property is playing a role … dog waste from your yard and other contaminants will end up in the lake,” she said.

Dr. Farrell said E-coli is ubiquitous in the environment “mostly due to the fact that most warm-blooded animals have it in their gut. So, we are going to find some throughout the waters.” Lender said the investigation is on-going because of the recent spikes. “It’s all-hands-on-deck because of this.  There is a concerted effort to find the cause.”

Reports were also given on the LGA Floating Classroom and the related Westbrook Stream Component, in-school educational programs, the WAVE stream assessment program, aquatic invasive species update, and CSLAP (Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program).
In conclusion Lender told the audience, “You can rest assured that your LGA is in the classroom, in the field and on the lake whenever and wherever we are needed.”

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