For immediate release: January 13, 2015
For more information: Eric Siy 668-9700 x304 or Jessica Rubin x302
(Lake George) Today, The FUND for Lake George released the State of the Lake: Chief Concerns as Revealed by Science and the Fate of the Lake: A Blueprint for Protection. This two-volume set focuses on the fundamental threats now facing Lake George—invasive species, rising salt levels, and declining water quality and clarity. Applying latest science, the publication calls for “an unprecedented commitment to reversing present trends and preventing Lake George from slipping into a state of irreversible decline.” The State of the Lake/Fate of the Lake can be viewed and downloaded at fundforlakegeorge.org.
As summarized in the12-page State of the Lake, 30 years of water quality monitoring (conducted by Rensselaer’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute and underwritten by The FUND) has revealed a complex, yet solvable, set of problems. These include: invasive and introduced species stressing the lake’s native species and food web; an alarming threefold increase in salt concentrations from road de-icing favoring blue green algae that can be toxic; measurable declines in water clarity with ensuing impacts on key species including the lake’s Nitella meadows, considered vital to maintaining clarity; increased nutrient loading from stormwater runoff, wastewater, fertilizer use, and land disturbance; and a significant rise in chlorophyll concentrations reflecting increases in algal growth.
“Scientific knowledge of the past generation provides an historic opportunity to protect Lake George for the next,” said FUND Executive Director Eric Siy. “Central to success are concerted actions that unite all those with a stake in the fate of the lake,” Siy said.
The 12-page Fate of the Lake Blueprint for Protection, illustrated with a series of infographics, takes on each of the primary problems threatening lake health. Specific measures feature partnerships, innovation, and investment as the three pillars for lasting success. These measures form the core of The FUND’s Legacy Strategy adopted in early 2013 with the goal of stopping the present decline of water quality and achieving sustained protection of Lake George for the next generation.
In laying out the actions underway, the Fate of the Lake describes how the Legacy Strategy builds upon itself, starting from a strong scientific foundation. Broad resolve and shared investment produced the first mandatory invasive species inspection and decontamination program east of the Mississippi. Catalyzed by The FUND, The S.A.V.E. (Stop Aquatic inVasives from Entering) Lake George Partnership demonstrated the fresh approach needed—diverse public and private interests acting in common purpose on behalf of the lake’s ecological and economic importance, recognizing that the two go hand-in-hand.
As detailed in the Blueprint, leveraging its success and guided by latest science, S.A.V.E. will focus on the need to put the lake on a low salt diet. In this pursuit, S.A.V.E.’s purpose expands to mean: Salt Abatement is Vital to the Ecology of Lake George. Moreover, S.A.V.E.’s geographic reach also expands to advance invasives prevention as urgently needed throughout the Adirondack region, using the same playbook developed and implemented at Lake George. Given the mounting invasives threat, region-wide prevention will be key to long-term success of the Lake George program.
Following suit are groundbreaking measures addressing water quality and clarity concerns, as well as an annotated list of investment priorities, totaling nearly $2 million for 2015 (see fundforlakegeorge.org/invest). As highlighted, “Direct investment in tangible solutions, and the science that will ensure their effectiveness, provides the single-best method for achieving results at the pace and scale now required.”
“Lake George remains one of the nation’s most loved natural treasures,” concluded Jeff Killeen, Chairman of The FUND’s Board of Trustees. “Despite mounting pressures, lasting protection of the lake can be largely achieved through preventive measures, such as the invasive species program. Together, with clear vision and commitment, we will leave a living legacy, for which future generations will surely thank us,” Killeen said.
The FUND for Lake George is a privately funded not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Lake George. Formed in 1980, The FUND applies a science-based approach to protection focused on Lake George water quality and the overall health of the Lake George watershed. The FUND pursues this mission through support of long-term scientific research, direct advocacy, and strategic partnerships with diverse public and private interests. Mounting threats to the water quality and natural character of Lake George, as revealed by latest research, compelled The FUND to launch its Legacy Strategy in 2013, with one driving goal: stopping the present decline of water quality and achieving sustained protection of Lake George for the next generation. The Legacy Strategy embraces environmental and economic imperatives as required to fulfill this goal. The FUND sponsors the Lake George Waterkeeper among other programs on Lake George. For more on the FUND’s work, visit fundforlakegeorge.org.