The State of the Lake: Trend Analysis and Tipping Points for Lake George

Dr. Jeff Short
Special to the Lake George Mirror
September 19, 2014
 

Few other lakes of comparable size and latitude have been so little altered by humans as Lake George, a result of geography and ongoing efforts to protect one of the world’s natural treasures.

Situated within the Adirondack Park and surrounded by forestlands, Lake George has been largely insulated from environmental threats that have seriously degraded lakes elsewhere. Preservation of outstanding drinking water and recreational opportunities has also made the lake uniquely valuable as a scientific resource. Gven its special status, Lake George served as the reference “clean” lake for the National Science Foundation’s International Biological Program during the 1960s and 1970s for studying effects of pollution in lakes elsewhere.

But Lake George is not entirely insulated from threats, with clear signs of stress on the lake’s ecological health and natural resilience. The State of the Lake: Thirty Years of Water Quality Monitoring on Lake George, released jointly by the Darrin Fresh Water Institute and The FUND for Lake George, explains why greater vigilance is now warranted-see fundforlakegeorge.org/StateoftheLake. The report summarizes water quality trends in Lake George since 1980, providing an extremely detailed and unique long-term record of physical and chemical changes.

As explained in the report’s conclusions, primary concerns stem from excessive loadings of salt and of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen that stimulate plant and algae growth and can degrade water quality if left unchecked. Moreover, the report documents a steadily warming lake in response to climate change…

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