General News

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Skaneateles Lake gets help in fighting toxic algae — from a robot                         Glenn Coin

Vince Moriarty, a research scientist at IBM, works on a vertical profiler floating in about 60 feet of water in Skaneateles Lake. The profiler, installed in July, monitors conditions in the lake, including harmful algae blooms. Glenn Coin | gcoin@syracuse.com (Glenn Coin | gcoin@syracuse.com)

Skaneateles, N.Y. — A robotic buoy bristling with scientific instruments has joined the fight against toxic algae in Skaneateles Lake.

Scientists from IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute installed the buoy, called a vertical profiler, on July 30. The algae quickly cooperated: A bloom that closed beaches and infiltrated water intake pipes started Aug. 4.

That wasn’t necessarily what researchers wanted, said Harry Kolar, an IBM researcher on the project.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of baseline data to work with,” he said.

The $170,000 profiler, built at RPI, is collecting plenty of data. It records everything from air and water temperature to water clarity to pigments produced by toxic algae, and it does it every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day. It’s called a vertical profiler because it measures all the way through the water column, from surface to bottom. It sits above about 60 feet of water just off the Skaneateles Country Club dock.

Scientists hope that by collecting enough data, and running it through complex modeling programs, they can predict when toxic algae blooms will appear.

“That’s the Holy Grail science and the community want to know: when and where is the next one,” said Rick Relyea, an RPI biology professor.

It’s an important question for Skaneateles Lake, the unfiltered drinking water source for about 200,000 residents of Central New York, including the city of Syracuse. Last year, a major algae bloom infiltrated the lake’s two intake pipes, and the city scrambled to add more chlorine to keep the algae toxins from getting into drinking water.

This year, Syracuse is conducting more tests. The brief, early August algae bloom showed low levels of the algae toxins, called microcystins, in the intake pipes for a couple of days. More recent tests have shown no microcystins, liver toxins that can sicken humans and kill dogs. (While algae is the common term, the blooms are actually a kind of bacteria known as cyanobacteria.)

The Skaneateles Lake pilot project is a spinoff from the much larger Jefferson Project on Lake George. That project, in its fifth year, deploys 51 sensor platforms with more than 500 individual sensors in the Lake George watershed. Eric Siy, director of The Fund for Lake George, one of the partners in the Jefferson Project, calls Lake George “the world’s smartest lake.”

Siy said the Lake George data has been used to study road salt infiltration, invasive species, and nutrients, including those that can fuel algae blooms.

Lake George has never had a reported harmful algae bloom – but then, Skaneateles Lake hadn’t either before last year.

“It’s clear it can happen anywhere,” said Relyea, who directs the Jefferson Project.

Relyea calls Skaneateles Lake and Lake George “sister lakes.” Both are long, narrow, deep, lakes with low levels of the nutrients that spur algae blooms, he said. The two are also among 12 selected as high priority water bodies in New York state’s $65 million toxic algae control program.

Skaneateles Lake is half as long as, and 128 feet deeper than, Lake George, but Skaneateles will be simpler lake to study and model, Relyea said. Lake George’s surface area is larger than Skaneateles’s, and it has a more varied lake bottom and numerous islands in the middle that alter wind and currents.

Skaneateles Lake, by contrast, “is like a long, skinny bathtub in a valley,” he said.

The Skaneateles Lake Association supports the new data collection program, said Executive Director Rachael DeWitt.

“We have a lot we can learn from them,” said DeWitt, who started Aug. 1, just in time for this year’s algae bloom. “The more data we obtain, the better.”

 

Source: Syracuse.com

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

 

Our Team of Many Members Has Been Busy                                       Fran Rotunno Fish

 

Earlier this year when we were sending out membership renewal notices to our 2017 members, the letter started out with the following sentence: “The Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) of this past fall was the most “in your face” threat that Skaneateles Lake has ever experienced.”  Sadly, here we are in August 2018 dealing with another Algal Bloom.  And like last year, the SLA has been out front dealing with the Algal Bloom.  Our Skaneateles Lake Association Shoreline HAB Monitoring Volunteers, organized by SLA’s project coordinator, Mary Menapace, responded to many calls from community members and collecting samples for possible testing and taking photos for examining suspicious elements on the shore line or in the lake.  Our Executive Director, Rachael DeWitt, has been getting email blasts out to the 900 plus families in our SLA member database and using social media to advise a wider audience of test results, beach closings and actions to take.  Rachael DeWitt, SLA President, Paul Torrisi, and many other SLA Board members have been fielding questions to get the correct information to those who email or phone in with their observations, concerns and questions.

 HOWEVER, WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT IS ALL THAT THE SLA HAS BEEN DOING SINCE LAST YEAR’S ALGAL BLOOM TO PUT INTO ACTION A PLAN TO DETERMINE THE SOURCE FACTORS RESULTING IN THE BLOOM AND DETERMINING WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT.  We cannot control most of the major factors that contribute to the bloom including:  warm days and water, sunny days and calm waters.  We can determine the significant sources of the nutrient load that is the last essential ingredient for an Algal Bloom.  We are a significant part of the team working on that and this is what we our doing.

Our Nutrient Management Committee, which is one of the 4 parts of the SLA’s HAB Action Plan has been working extensively to get the proposal submitted by the Town of Skaneateles with the CNY Community Planning and Development Board to the Department of State for a $300,000 grant to develop a 9E Plan.  The submission and approval of this plan is essential to be eligible for millions of dollars in grants for further monitoring and major remediation projects to reduce the nutrient loading of the lake.

It is important to note that award of this $300,000 grant requires a 25% match from the organization submitting the request.  The Skaneateles Lake Association has already funded the significant portion of this required match.  Most importantly, we have funded it in a way that puts us ahead of the game in determining possible major sources of nutrient loading.  This has been accomplished because we have contracted with the Upstate Fresh Water Institute to conduct extensive ongoing monitoring of 3 additional tributaries – Grout Brook, Bear Swamp Creek and Harold Brook.  Each stream will be visited on a bi‐weekly basis to maintain the equipment and to collect water samples for laboratory analyses and also during two storm event surveys intended to capture high flow conditions.  The following parameters will be measured:  total phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, total nitrogen, nitrate+nitriate, total ammonia, particulate organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, total dissolved solids, turbidity, and silica will be essential in making determinations of possible remediation projects for state funding.

This monitoring has been supported by a few generous donations from community members and the Town of Niles has also provided support.  With funding from the Town of Skaneateles this same monitoring has been conducted for several years on Shotwell Brook.  With the addition of the monitoring of 3 additional tributaries by the SLA we are developing a significant database for future decisions on actions to take.

And there is more.  Charles Driscoll, SLA Board Member and Professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is conducting additional monitoring of 6 more intermediate tributaries including 5 and 10 mile creeks, Hardscrabble, Glen Cove, Bentley Brook, and Fisher Creek.  He has collected two rounds of samples from those tributaries already and will be providing Mary Menapace with sampling bottles to give to SLA volunteers who will be trained to continue the sample collection.  Dr. Driscoll has equipment to do additional monitoring in 4 of the 6 of the streams and the SLA is anticipating the ability to fund the equipment for monitoring the other 2 streams.

Finally, as previously reported, the SLA and the Jefferson Project partnership has established a cooperative relationship and the vertical profiler, Atlantis II was installed in Skaneateles Lake on July 30th.  We have received our first data report from the profiler, which is extensive, and that data and continuing data from it will be a further component of the data used in helping us to determine potential actions to take including further monitoring and remediation projects to help protect the lake.

The SLA is planning watershed wide community education programs and projects and will be supporting efforts by the DEC and the Cornell Cooperative Extension in their programs and efforts.  All of the SLA efforts are focused on working cooperatively with government and private agencies for the protection and remediation of the lake.  The SLA’s efforts are focused on promoting participation by every member of the Skaneateles Lake watershed community in the programs that will be offered and/or actions that reflect the lake protective practices offered by those programs.

Today, you can join in those efforts by supporting us with your SLA membership or SLA membership renewal for 2018 and by encouraging your friends and neighbors to join the SLA.

You can join the SLA u at SkaneatelesLake.org or you can call 315-6850916 and request a Member Registration Form to be mailed.

The past 2 weeks our membership efforts have been supported by the extensive efforts of Anne Salzhauer and Meredith Torrisi and the assistance of Jean Sardino, Pam Ryan and Eileen Murphy in preparing membership materials and maintaining the member database.

Please thank the following for co-supporting the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Jennie & Stephan Bersani, Elet & John Callahan, Robert Congel, Jen & Bill Mayo, Molly Elliott, Goffe Cottage (Carla & David Goffe), Bob Honold, Dr. Robert Vitkus, Elaine & Mathew Medwid, Noreen & Michael Falcone, Barbara & Kenneth Hearst, Marcia & Robert Hunt, Jolie & Scott Johnston, Mary Marshall, Cynthia & William McCauley, Cate & Sally, Kelly & Gregory Weaver, Louise & Robert Ganley, Celeste Gudas

Please thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  Molly & Todd Phillips, Anne Marie & Carl Gerst, Lindsay Groves, Sherill & Dave Ketchum, Helga & Henry Beck, Barbara & Craig Froelich, Joseph, Lynne, Michael, Elena, David & Tracy Romano, Amelia Kaymen & Eric Yopes, and Anonymous Donor.

Please thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward for a day:  Sandra Loli & Richard Boni, Dorothy Krause, Liz & Bill Sharp, Renee & Joseph Lane, Patti & Marvin Langley, Sieglinde Wikstrom, Melissa & John Henry, Betsy & Bob Madden.

Please thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which supports our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards:  Jen & Bill Mayo, Renee & Joseph Lane, Lucia EcklesSource

Source:  Skaneateles Press

 

 

HAB Update: Toxin Levels

The Skaneateles Lake Association has confirmed the following information in conversation with the Onondaga County Department of Health.  8/9/18

 

The toxin level in “finished” (post treatment) drinking water provided by the City of Syracuse and the Village of Skaneateles to city, village and town residents and some towns outside the city of Syracuse was NON-DETECTABLE at the most recent testing.  

  • This means that the water sourced from the city and the village is SAFE for drinking by all.
  • The “finished” water will continue to be tested every day until the toxin level is NON-DETECTABLE for three (3) consecutive days.

 

The toxin level in the raw (pre-treatment) water from Skaneateles Lake was 0.3μg/liter at the most recent testing.

  • Toxin level of 0.3μg/liter or above is deemed unsafe for drinking by sensitive populations (infants and immunocompromised individuals).  
  • Toxin level of less than 4μg/liter is deemed safe for recreational use of the water (swimming, etc.). As a result, the Clift Park and Skaneateles Country Club waterfronts were permitted to be reopened on Thursday at the direction of the Onondaga County Department of Health.

 

Attention lakefront owners who draw their water directly from Skaneateles Lake: According to the New York State Department of Health, it is never advisable to drink water from a surface source unless it has been treated by a public drinking water system, regardless of the presence of HABs. 

 

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

 A Large Team, but More Players Needed                              Fran Rotunno Fish  

The Skaneateles Lake Association is comprised of a large team of players.  Our 21 SLA Board Members are currently joined by 900 members (those who have joined the SLA within the past 12 months).  That current membership list (as of 7/21/18) is on our website at SkaneatelesLake.org.

The strength of the SLA Team is enhanced by a number of factors.   The first factor is that 195 of the 900 current members donated funds in excess of the annual membership.  The names of those members are published in the Skaneateles Press at the end of a “News from the SLA” column (including this one.)

The strength of the SLA Team is also enhanced by the work of many beyond their membership or official capacity.

This additional strength comes from the members of our Nutrient Management Committee who have spent countless hours delineating the elements and specifics of the 9 Element Plan that will be submitted to NYS and is a requirement for consideration of award(s) from Gov. Cuomo’s funding designated to fight harmful algal blooms.  The members of that Committee include:  Bob Werner, Bill Dean, Mark Burger, Aimee Clinkhammer, Mary Sennett, Neil Murphy, Richard Wiles, Zack Odell and Brian Madigan.

We are also strengthened by the Shoreline Survey Volunteers for the DEC Harmful Algal Bloom

Surveillance Program including Annette Becker, Deb Hole, John McAllister, Nigel Moll, Susan Wulff, Catherine King, Julie Bourke, Lindsay Groves, Anthony Rusniak, Alfred Coons, Robert Warfield, George Thomas, Patty Orr, Paul and Mary Torrisi, Holden Fenner, Terri Dewitt, Barb Poole, Carolyn Widas, Carrie Scholz, Lori Klock, Claire Howard, Diane Chu, Kathy Gorr, Julie Scuderi, Mary and Scott Case, Joan Callaway, and John and Mayr Menapace.  These volunteers will be observing their assigned area of the lake shoreline for any appearances of a HAB and following through with the defined protocol for picture submission and sampling in order to ensure we have early recognition and can specify location should a HAB develop.

The SLA Team is strengthened by Rachael DeWitt who has maintained and enhanced our presence on social media.  Her efforts have drawn in thousands to twitter, Facebook and Instagram as followers.  These efforts strengthen us with a volume of response and recognition that is the only possible through these platforms.   As of August 1, Rachael is joining the SLA as its Executive Director.  Rachael is a B. S. graduate of the University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.  She has been involved with the SLA from her early high school years and was our first Invasive Species Monitoring Steward.  The SLA Board is thrilled to have her join us and the entire Skaneateles Lake watershed community in our efforts to protect the treasure that is Skaneateles Lake.

The strength of the SLA Team is enhanced by all those whose efforts made the 2018 Annual Meeting a success including Salli Tuozzolo, Dessa Bergen, Kim Driscoll, Mary Torrisi, Mary Ellen Hennigan, Patty Weisse, Ann Fairbanks, Terry DeWitt, Janet Stinson, Kathryn Coughlin, Claire Howard, Mary Marshall, Jen Warning, Betsy Madden, Bob Madden, Carolyn Cramer, Stan Cramer, Bev White, Steve White, Martha Kendrick, Janet Stinson, Bill Stinson, Dan Fisher, Charlie Driscoll, Brian Harkins, Don Plath, Steve Mott, Joe Paduda, Dave Ketchum, Charlie McElroy, Ron Dippold, Ham Fish, Mike Kelly,  Carol-Stokes Cawley, Ham Fish, Patty Orr, Ron & Janet Dippold, Dave Ketchum, Tom Adessa, John Menapace, Mary Torrisi, Claire Howard, Chris Legg, Kathryn Coughlin, Lois Exner, Bill Warning, Rob Howard, Chris Legg, Ella Bobbett, Kathryn Morrissey, Collin Morrisey and Nora Curtis.   Special members of the SLA Meeting Team included Mike Preston Director of Lourdes Camp; Tom the Lourdes Camp cook who grilled on an incredibly hot day, Ken Harms who provided our music and the Skaneateles American Legion who prepared the salt potatoes.  The Annual Meeting Committee:  Paul Torrisi, Deb Tifft, Debbie Bobbett, Mary Sennett, Gretchen Roberts, Buzz Roberts and I would never have been able to do it without the strength of these great team members.

Our strength is enhanced by the Skaneateles Marina which provides us with dockage for the Milfoil Boats.  This is a great time saver for the Milfoil Team and also serves to provide the boats with safe “housing.”

Our strength is enhanced by community members who have stepped up and offered to help with membership efforts including Annette Becker, Fran McCormack and Barb Poole.  It is also enhanced by Dave and Lois Laxton’s Lakeside Food and Flowers Program that provides a donation to the SLA for each membership in the Program.

So, you might ask with this large team why do we need more players and what players do we need.  The why is fairly simple.  The work of protecting Skaneateles Lake from future threats is and is going to be a growing and never-ending job.  With what we understand the threats to be today, we have a big job.  But, given the questions about future threats and the causes and preventive actions needed to mitigate those threats the job will only become bigger and more expensive and we need MORE PLAYERS,             that is more clearly defined as, MORE SLA MEMBERS on the team.  Right now, far too many are missing from the team line up.  There are 693 properties in the Skaneateles Lake community with lake frontage or lake rights whose owners are not current members of the SLA and many of those 693 have never been members in the history of the SLA or its predecessor organizations.

You can join the SLA team online at SkaneatelesLake.org or by calling 315-685-9106 and requesting a member registration form and return envelope.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are sponsoring the milfoil boats for a day or multiple days:  Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough, Suzanne & Sidney Devorsetz, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, James & Salli Tuozzolo, William & Barbara Dean, Lorraine Rapp & Jeffrey Kirshner, Maggie & Ed Dienst, Julie & Jim Moore, Janet & Donald Frank, Christine Larsen & Vincent Dopulos, Kimball & James Kraus, Mary & Joseph Gaffney, Mid-Lakes Navigation, Jackie & Steve Miron, VanOrder Family Partnership, Chancea & Donald Sundman, Deborah & Gary Hind and Joan Christy & Tom Bersani.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are co-sponsoring the milfoil boats:  Katherine Cogswell & Walter Benson, Gerard & Virginia Shanley, Pamela & Michael Odlum, Michelle & John Mashia, Jean & John Vincent, Barbara Benedict & Duncan Wormer, Nancy Thomas & Chris Legg, Linda & Randel Brink, Jill & Todd Marshall, Suzanne & Bill Burch, Rose Ann & Ron Gay, Dena Weber, Francine Devitt, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Carlyn Helmer (in memory of Jack Helmer), Margaret Tourville, Linda Lavery, Kathryn & Robert Fagliarone, Deborah & Richard Hole, Joanne Dusel & Scott Sayles, Karen & Chris Kriedler, Judy Robertson, Kati & Larry Weiss, Helen & Keith Simonelli, Elet & John Callahan, Maureen & Don Plath, Robert Congel, Jaime Tuozzolo, Deborah & James Tifft and Sara Collins & Robert Parsons, Karen Yuhas & Jack Riley, Kathryn Pasqua & James Helmer, Barbara & Jed Delmonico, Christine & Robert Pierce, Jacqueline & Charles Giancola, Susan & James Solomon, Ellie & Chet Benoit, Lynn & ,David Curtin, Tracy & David Romano, Beth & David Conley, Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Kristopher Scholl and Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCaffrey.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are sponsoring our Stewards for a day:  Dessa & William Bergen, Shadow Lawn Lakeshore Association, Joan & Gene Tarolli, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Deborah & James Tifft, Carol Lynn Krumhansl & Jeff Roberts, Lorraine Gudas, Sharon & John Paddock, Kuni & Patrick Riccardi, Judd Seales, Gary Dower, Patty & Jim Hertz, Sue & Joe Spalding, Kristopher Scholl, Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCaffrey.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are supporting the David Lee Hardy Fund which helps to support our Steward program:  Virginia & Gerard Shanley, Sandra Attleson, Anne Buehler, Janice Hardy, Mary Beth & Jeff Carlberg, Frances & John McNerny, Linda Lavery, Sharon & John Paddock, Shadow Lawn Lakeshore Association, Gazella Training Instructors & Students, Gary Dower and Virginia Calvert & Robert Dean.

Watch for our column next week when we will be telling you more about the Vertical Profiler, Atlantis II, deployed and anchored in the North end of the lake.  You will not want to miss the story.

 

Harmful Algal Bloom Update

Confirmed HABs: Multiple locations, Skaneateles Lake: 8/4-8/6

NYSDEC

 

Below are the results from samples collected by trained volunteers on Skaneateles Lake and City of Syracuse staff. The sampling confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria HABs on 8/4 and 8/5. The bloom was reported to have dissipated today. The bloom status is compared to the DEC Confirmed Bloom threshold of 25 µg/L Bluegreen Chlorophyll.

With apologies, DEC does not have detailed information on the sampling locations at this time. Several reports received over the weekend indicated that accumulations were present at the north end of the lake near the pier.

 

Exposure to any cyanobacteria HABs can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. This is true regardless of toxin levels; some blue-green algae produce toxins, while others do not. Exposure to blooms and toxins can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. People and pets should avoid contact with blooms, and should rinse off with clean water if contact occurs.  For more information go to www.health.ny.gov/harmfulalgae.

Location Date HABs Status BG Chl a (µg/l) Visual Analysis
Skaneateles Lake 8/4/2018 Confirmed 723 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake 8/5/2018 Confirmed 87 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake 8/5/2018 Confirmed 54 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake 8/6/2018 No Bloom 10 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake Zone 4 8/6/2018 No Bloom 4 Microcystis

Source: NYSDEC

News from the SLA

Lake George’s Jefferson Project is Coming to Skaneateles Lake

Fran Fish & Rick Relyea, Ph.D.

 

In early June, a delegation from the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) Board and the New York State Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Action Plan Committee traveled to Lake George to visit with the staff from The Jefferson Project at Lake George. The Jefferson Project is an unprecedented collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), IBM Research, and The Fund for Lake George that combines cutting-edge technology with science and advocacy to understand and reduce the impacts of human activity on water quality.  We anticipated learning a great deal about their science, technology, and problem-solving solutions and coming back to Skaneateles with our heads swimming with ideas of how we could incorporate some of their program components into the SLA program.

The three directors of The Jefferson Project (Dr. Rick Relyea, Director of Rensselaer’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute; Dr. Harry Kolar, IBM Research; and Eric Siy, Executive Director of the FUND) were magnanimous with the information and materials they provided and the onsite tour of their efforts in action.  They shared with us their three-pronged approach to studying Lake George. To understand how the lake changes over space and time, they use traditional monitoring as well as a network of “smart sensors” that comprise the most advanced lake monitoring system in the world. To understand which human activities drive changes in water quality, they conduct leading-edge experiments that examine various human impacts alone and in combinations. Using data from the monitoring and experiments, they use highly sophisticated computer models–including weather, runoff, lake-circulation, and food-web–to forecast and hindcast changes in lake conditions. Equally impressive was their track record of translating the scientific insights regarding human impacts on the overall water quality into real-world solutions to ensure the enduring protection of the lake.

We came back inspired to enhance our own efforts to protect Skaneateles Lake.  The Jefferson Project, The FUND for Lake George, and the SLA are out in front protecting two “sister lakes” that have the highest quality drinking water in the state (AA-rated).  Both lakes are sources of drinking water for large numbers of people, important economic drivers in their respective communities, and major recreational centers for their local and regional residents.  As a result, sharing information and learning from each other made perfect sense.  Last week, the SLA Board was pleased to receive an even more generous offer from The Jefferson Project.

We are delighted to report that The Jefferson Project is coming to Skaneateles Lake this summer in a pilot program to partner with local researchers (from agencies and academia) and the SLA to help monitor and protect our critical resource. This effort includes bringing their highly advanced lake-sensor technology and computer modeling efforts as a first step toward better understanding how Skaneateles Lake functions and the conditions that cause harmful algal blooms. Following this pilot program, their hope is that they can bring a full network of advanced sensors to the lake to provide us with the ability to better understand how natural processes and human activities impact the quality of our water and, in turn, how we can most effectively mitigate human impacts, including the threat of harmful algal blooms. The SLA is indebted to The Jefferson Project for this generous sharing of technology, modeling, and personnel.

Source: Skaneateles Press

News from the SLA

The 2018 Annual Meeting                                                                                                                       Fran Rotunno Fish

(Note:  This article contains a summary of the “STATE of the LAKE” address made by Paul Torrisi, SLA President, at the 2018 Annual Meeting.  If you would like a copy of the complete presentation, please click on the “contact us” tab on this website and request it and it will be emailed to you.)

On Saturday, June 30th, about 300 people came to Lourdes Camp for the first time or came back to the Camp of their own or their children’s or grandchildren’s childhood for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Skaneateles Lake Association.  Most came by car, some came by boat and a few, from close by, came by foot.  Despite what was a brutally hot day, they came.  The came because they care about and love the treasure that is Skaneateles Lake.

The meeting was enhanced by music provided by Ken Harms as a donation for the lake he loves, a picnic supper provided with great grilling by the Lourdes Chef, Tom; salt potatoes prepared by the American Legion; salads provided by Gilda’s, the Lake House Pub, Johnny Angel’s, the Skaneateles Bakery, Joelle’s, the Skaneateles Country Club, the Blue Water Grill, Krebs, and the Mandana Inn; Cole Slaw provided by Doug’s Fish Fry;  appetizers provided by Valentines, Moros, the Colonial Lodge and Mezza Grande; watermelon provided by TOPS and wine provided by Anyela’s.

The meeting offered the opportunity for many to catch up with long-time friends, meet some new people enjoy the music and have a traditional picnic supper, but the highlight of the meeting was the “State of the Lake” presentation by SLA President, Paul Torrisi.  A summary of his presentation follows.  (The full presentation is on our website, SkaneatelesLake.org)

Dr. Torrisi noted that at last year’s annual meeting he remembered “bragging” how Skaneateles Lake was one of the only, if not THE only Finger Lake never to have had a HAB.   He noted that while we had every right to feel “smug” about our relative “immunity” to such an event- with our deep lake, large volume of clear water and a relatively small watershed, along with historically low levels of nutrients, particularly phosphorous there are significant threats to Skaneateles Lake.    He explained that Invasive Species continue to be a threat to the purity and clarity of the water, and with more organic material in the lake leading to increased foam affecting recreational enjoyment and the quality of the drinking water.  He noted that Eurasian watermilfoil can be found throughout the lake and that for 12 years now through the efforts of the SLA, the milfoil biomass has been substantially reduced at a cost of well over $2 million still costs over $150k annually for the maintenance program to keep it under control.  The lake is also infested with zebra and quagga mussels, and threatened by hydrilla, Asian clams, and others present in neighboring waterbodies.  The SLA’s Lake Stewardship Program, the SLA has been attempting to mitigate the threat of the introduction of these invasive species, particularly hydrilla which could have devastating consequences as it nearly impossible unless toxic chemicals (herbicides) are used.  The Stewardship Program established by the SLA in 2012 has been becoming more and more robust each year, the cost of which is rapidly approaching $50k/year. Thanks primarily to the efforts of Buzz Roberts it has been held up as a model program in the Finger Lakes region!  But, it remains a voluntary participant program.  Both of these important and essential SLA programs (Milfoil Control and Stewardship) are supported by the SLA annual membership dues and donations.

The lake has also been plagued by soil erosion along its banks and heavy storm water runoff into the lake from its 153 tributaries following ever increasing severe, episodic, storm events, like we experienced in July 2017- contributing to harmful nutrient loading, and along with the negative impact of invasive species have helped to promote the continuous degradation of the lake.

The lake remained in relatively good shape until the late summer of 2017 when for the first time in anyone’s memory it suffered a bloom of Microcystis aeruginosa, a toxic cyanobacteria commonly known as a harmful algal bloom (HAB).  It captured the attention of the entire region because Skaneateles Lake was thought to be “immune” from a HAB. That is no longer the case.  The degradation of Skaneateles Lake, if not slowed, will have an enormous impact on the entire region.

For the SLA Board, the HAB was a clarion call for action- and much has been done since last summer. The SLA hosted community forums to discuss and analyze the problem, and in October, 2017 quickly came up with its own HAB Action Plan consisting of 4 major initiatives aimed at substantially lessening the chances of HABs recurring by “control of the controllable”, i.e., the food (nutrients)- not the weather or the presence of the cyanobacteria (which have existed in every body of water on the planet for over 3 billion years).

The first element was the Formation of the Watershed Nutrient Management Work Group co-chaired by SLA Board Members Bob Werner, Ph.D. (Limnologist & retired Prof. SUNY ESF. and Bill Dean, Ph.D. (retired biochemist/Genentech).  This stellar group met almost weekly starting right after the HAB last fall.  They decided that a Nine Element Watershed Management Plan (9E Plan) through NY State was the next step. This plan will identify the sources and causes of nonpoint pollution, involve the key stakeholders in the planning process, and insure that restoration and protection strategies are implemented.  It’s really boiling down to preparing ourselves for the increasingly more frequent “100 year” storms (like last July’s) with bigger better, buffer zones on farms and

basins, and retention landowners’ properties bordering lakefront and the extreme flow of water with increasing watershed wetlands, settling streams, holding back ponds, and re-engineering targeted tributaries and gorges that feed the lake.  This group is working with Kathy Bertuch from the CNY Regional Planning and Development Board to process the 9E Plan application and the Town of Skaneateles has agreed to be the sponsoring lakefront municipality.  He noted that 9E Plan application process will take years, but once completed and certified by NY State, will help the Skaneateles lake and watershed with sources of public funding to help with the modeling and mitigation required to change things in the watershed. It will also take lots of dollars since the recipients of any grants need to come up with 25% matching funds for any funds awarded.

Following the start of our 9E Plan application, Gov. Cuomo in Dec.,2017 announced at SUNY ESF a $65 million proposal to study and plan for HAB prevention in NYS. 12 selected lakes were earmarked for this money (Skaneateles Lake included). Summits were held in March, local steering committees were formed, and the individual HAB Action Plans for each of the 12 selected lakes were released to the public 2 weeks ago- with a deadline date for grant submission of July 27, 2018!   We’re not going to be handed a check for $5 million. This money will need to be applied for in the form of individual grants through the CFA (Consolidated Funding Application) of NY State on a competitive basis, and anyone and everyone can submit requests (in addition to the original 12 selected lakes). So, at this point we are not sure when and how many dollars will come our way.

The second element of the SLA HAB Action Plan is the Watershed Citizen’s Work Group Chaired by Mary Menapace (nurse and community organizer par excellence).  It is focusing on community education, public outreach, and the individual citizen’s efforts to lessen nutrient loading into the lake.  Forums, education, task groups will give everyone in the watershed an opportunity to be a part of the plan to protect and restore the lake.

The third element of the SLA HAB Action Plan is the formation of the Watershed Governance Work Group Co-Chaired by Rich Hole, current SLA Board Treasurer (retired attorney/former managing partner @ BS&K) and Bob Liegel (former President of SLA, Skaneateles Village attorney).  This group has been working on creating the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Management Council, Inc. to include all the municipalities on the lake, City of Syracuse, and 3 counties.  It would serve as the central hub for collaboration among all the vital stakeholders in the watershed, existing in perpetuity.  It would bring together water resource management professionals from all the municipalities and related agencies to work together and help make uniform Low Impact Development (LID) in all the municipalities the standard and work together to minimize the impact of and further introduction of invasive program similar to the one I described in Lake George.

The fourth element of the SLA HAB Action Plan is Funding the restoration of the lakes.  Governor Cuomo proposed $65 million on 12/22/17 to combat the HAB crisis is not coming to us quickly and the time for action is NOW!  The SLA’s annual expense of well over $200k for controlling invasives through its milfoil and lake stewardship programs has been funded through its annual and we cannot emphasize enough how dependent we are on annually renewed membership dues and additional donations directed at both milfoil control and the stewardship programs- please encourage those you know who have not stepped up (friends, neighbors, & businesses) to help us with this endeavor-it’s so important that we get everyone with a stake in this lake on board to help “spread the pain”!!  Thankfully, these efforts have been augmented by a $25k annual grant from Onondaga Cty. these past several years through the thoughtful leadership of County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  

With this loyal support, and continued growth of the SLA membership, we are confident of maintaining these critical invasive species programs; however, fighting HABs will require another and even greater level of financial support.  The SLA is establishing The Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake Co-Chaired by Jessica Millman (Environmental watershed planner, former Town Planning Board andTown Comprehensive Plan Committee) and Dave Birchenough (Finger Lakes Land Trust Board).  The goal is to raise at least $1 million and the campaign is quietly underway to expedite the work that needs to get done to prevent HABs from recurring.  Dr. Torissi reported that through the early success and generosity of a handful of donors over the past 6 weeks the SLA has been able to contract with Upstate Freshwater Institute (UFI) to begin the critical monitoring of 3 additional major tributaries this season; Grout Brook, Bear Swamp Creek, and Harold Brook in addition to the 3rd season of monitoring Shotwell Brook which has been sponsored by the Town of Skaneateles.   Capturing this data in 2018 will definitely provide a jump start to targeting sources of pollutant nutrients for remediation, going forward. 

 Source:  Skaneateles Press

 

 

 

 

 

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Working on Three Fronts

Fran Rotunno Fish

The efforts of the Skaneateles Lake Association are actively focusing on three fronts to protect the treasure that is Skaneateles Lake.

Our Milfoil Team of divers, Victoria Vanicky, Joseph Bergan, Miranda Raughly and John VanSlyke under the supervision of John Menapace have been out on the lake putting down matting on the largest patches of milfoil that were identified via the survey of the lake bottom done by Bob Werner last fall.  They will, again, be putting down 6 acres of matting.  We all need to be aware that the amount of silt and soil that entered our lake from the massive rain storms and resulting runoff last July is, in all probability, going to increase the amount of milfoil that we will see in the lake this year.  If you are fortunate enough to own lakefront property,  you can help with preventing further runoff, please make use of the information in the “Landscaping for Water Quality in the Finger Lakes”.  It is available electronically.  Just request it via the “contact us” tab at Skaneateles Lake.org.

Our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards have been in place at the DEC Launch and the launch sites in the Towns of Skaneateles (Mandana) and Scott.  This year, we were able to start them earlier and plan to increase the hours of the day that the sites are covered.  The delegation of SLA Board and Committee members that visited Lake George this month learned about their program that provides 100% inspection of every boat that entered the lake.  We know that the Lake George program is the gold standard for protecting our lake from invasive species and that we have to continue our efforts to work with local municipalities and the state to achieve that gold standard.  We also have to have the funding to pay the Stewards for those extended hours.

As part of the SLA’s HAB Action Plan, the SLA Watershed Community Citizens Task Force has been very busy in the month of June.  Chairperson, Mary Menapace worked with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, of Onondaga County and the Town of Skaneateles to present an Informational Public Forum on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS) and Water Quality on Skaneateles Lake.  Over 270 people were in attendance with another 30 participating via the online broadcast.  The meeting was informational in itself, but it also offered an opportunity for a number of community citizens to offer their assistance with volunteer efforts.  Via that meeting, email communications and citizens contacting the SLA via our website we now have 15 trained volunteers and 6 more ready to be trained to conduct HAB Shoreline Surveillance in order to provide localized public notification in the event a HAB is confirmed.  The current volunteers are able to cover a large part of the entire shoreline, but more are need to cover the west side of the lake.  Please use the “contact us” tab on SkaneatelesLake.org if you would like more information on this program or would be interested in participating in this program.  Starting on Monday, June 25th at 6:30pm at the Skaneateles Town Hall and continuing on the 4th Monday of every month, Mary Menapace will be convening a meeting of the SLA Watershed Community Citizens Task Force.  All Skaneateles Lake community residents are invited to attend and participate in working together to plan and implement citizen projects to restore, preserve and protect Skaneateles Lake.  The voice and unique talents of many our needed.

The SLA 2018 Annual Meeting is set to go this Saturday, June 30th, 5 – 7 pm at Lourdes Camp.  If you have not yet sent in your RSVP please do so TODAY.  Use the “contact us” tab at SkaneatelesLake.org or call 315-685-9106.  If you have photos of your own days at Lourdes Camp or your children’s, bring a paper copy for the collage we will make to help Lourdes Camp celebrate their 75th Anniversary.

Please thank the following for Sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  The Kaufman Foundation

Please thank the following co-sponsors of the Milfoil Boat:  Carolyn & John Tierney, Rhonda & Craig Richards, Donna & Raymond Kurlak, Joan & Michael Niswender, Lynn Boles & John Priest, Elizabeth Downes & Patrick Doyle, Sharon & Ed Barno, Deb & Joe Paduda, Molly & Bill Spalding, Katherine & Walter Sullivan, Maureen & Joseph Wilson, Barbara Egtvedt, Jill & Kurt Roswell, Anne & Elan Salzhauer, Amanda & Jonathan Lee, Margaret & Michael Kelly, Ann Hinchcliff, Julie & Joe Scuderi, Patricia & David Stone, Jane & Peter Hueber, Shelly & Richard Kraetz, Susan & Dana Hall, Kimberly & John Mezzalingua, Jane & Mason Howard, Jean Shook & Chris Johnson, Claire & Robert Howard, Ursula & David Hutton, Lisa & Michael Wetzel, Ann & David Lee, Beverly & David Jones, Margaret & Charles O’Neil, Mary & Paul Torrisi, Vanessa & Michael Yates, Bartlett Tree Experts, Eleanor & Ben Ware, Kate & Mont Pooley, Paula White, Maureen & Brian Harkins

Please thank the following sponsors of our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards for a day:  Carolyn Kaye & Donald Babcock, Virginia Calvert & Robert Dean, Jen & Bill Warning, Rhonda & Craig Richards, Mary and Paul Torrisi, Michele Jenkins, Lisa Letizia & Paul Floreck, Jo & Bob Werner, Martha & William Cole, Thomas & Brenda Parkes, Jean Shook & Chris Johnson,

Please thank the following individuals whose contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund also support our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards:  Katherine & Dan Mezzalingua, Margaret Sennett, Pat & Paul Fallon, Mildred & Daniel Schultz, Christine & Edward Szemis, Nancy Murray.

 

Source:  Skaneateles Press

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association…Jump in and Join

Fran Rotunno Fish

Skaneateles Lake is open and people are jumping in…docks are being put in, the fishing and recreational boats are out there, kayakers and paddlers are enjoying the beauty of the early season on the lake, and soon, I am sure, we will see water-skiers in wet suits showing off their skills.

Do not let this peaceful early season scene erase from your memory the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) of the fall of 2017 that defied the community’s long held belief that our lake was safe from such an event.  The ingredients for another HAB remain the same:  warm water, a stable water column, sun and nutrients in the lake.  The only ingredient we can control is the nutrients.

Responding to the HAB, the Skaneateles Lake Association develop a draft 4-part Action Plan in October 2017 and several community members with specific expertise to share jumped in and joined, spending many days and long hours with our board members community to get the specifics of the plan outlined and the cost estimated for Nutrient Management component of the SLA Plan.  With the announcement from the Governor that there would be state funding in the future for HAB Action Plans, our SLA effort became even more important as the data collection portion of our Nutrient Management Plan would provide significant support for state grant funding applications.  There will be more detail about all of this in our Newsletter which will be mailed out at the end of May and our 2018 Annual Meeting on June 30th.

Our Watershed Community Citizens Task Force has already held the first of its planned forums to educate the watershed community.  A forum on using Native Plantings to Improve Water Quality was held in April and on June 6th at 7 pm at the Skaneateles Hight School Auditorium you can jump in and join the forum on Harmful Algal Blooms & Water Quality with guest speaker and HAB expert Dr. Tim Davis.

Right now, every resident of the Skaneateles Lake watershed has the opportunity to jump in and join the effort to control the nutrient level of the lake water:  reduce lawn areas, plant native plants especially on the lake front, set your lawn mower at 2.5 – 3 inches (or have your lawn service do the same), leave lawn clippings in place to enrich the soil and encourage root growth which promotes soil retention and filtration (clippings DO NOT create thatch), protect your trees (do not tunnel mulch) as they are terrific filters of water, test your soil as most soil in the watershed does not need fertilization (testing kits available at the Skaneateles Town Office), avoid or limit the use of chemical pesticides, check with your septic service provider re an appropriate schedule for septic tank service depending on the size of your tank and your household, check out the grants available for septic system replacement or upgrade, and if you have waterfront, rake the leaves off your shoreline so that the higher summer water does not take them into the lake.

We are going to have other volunteer positions available for community members to conduct tributary and stream monitoring.  Information about these positions will be on our website and you could jump in and join in this active role to collect the data we need to plan for effective preventive interventions.

Plan to jump in and join Mid-Lakes Navigation’s celebration of their 50th Anniversary on June 2nd.  The event is not only a celebration of Mid-Lakes, but also a benefit for the SLA.

Please plan to jump in and join us at the SLA’s 2018 Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 30th from 5 – 7 pm at Lourdes Camp.  Details are on our website (SkaneatelesLake.org) under the News/Events tab

Finally, if you live on the lake; if you boat, swim, kayak, sail or paddle the lake; if you fish the lake; if you drink the lake water; if the lake draws customers to your business; or if you just love the lake, shouldn’t you be a member of the Skaneateles Lake Association?  Jump in and join today.  You can join on line at SkaneatelesLake.org or call 315-685-9106 for a registration form.

Please thank the following for Sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Amy & Christopher Neumann, Sally & Robert Neumann, Victoria & Richard Meyer, Tacie & Roland Anderson, Jennifer Sutherland, Gretchen & Buzz Roberts, Marjorie & Kenneth Blanchard, Louisa & John Cohlan, Deborah & Edward Brennan, Libby & Arnold Rubenstein, Laurel Moranz & John MacAllister, Donna & William Davis, Dawn & Lew Allyn, Mary Ellen & Joseph Hennigan, Elsa & Peter Soderberg, Jeannie & Henry Slauson, Janet & Bill Allyn, Candace & John Marsellus, Maclaren & Rochelle Cummings, Elmer Richards & Sons, Jane & Peter Hueber, Nancy & Douglas McDowell.

We have many who have co-sponsored our Milfoil Boar, sponsored a Steward and contributed the Hardy Fund and we will be listing them in our next news article.          

Source:  Skaneateles Press

News from the SLA…We are Going Seriously Social

           Rachael DeWitt

During the winter months when the temperature drops to bone chilling, it can be hard to remember the warmth of the summer and the fun times had on the lake. Some of us spend our time inside bundled beneath a Snuggie, others brave the elements limiting as much exposure of skin as possible, and even others flee the snow entirely and move to a warmer state. Those of us who decided to stay in Central New York to embrace the cold, are now beginning to question our decisions and dream of tropical climates. It’s difficult to imagine that Skaneateles Lake, with a thick layer of ice out to the Country Club, will ever warm up to the point when we can swim in it again. During these frigid times, the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) is still operating under full swing thinking about the months ahead when once again we will be relaxing by the lake.

In order to continue to reach our audience during the months when we lose more than half of our lake’s population, we are beginning to take our message to new platforms. Keep an eye out for our presence on social media. We have accounts on Facebook (@Skaneateles Lake Association), Instagram (@skaneateleslakeassociation), and Twitter (@SkanLakeAssoc). On these accounts we will keep our audience informed of SLA events, the current status of the quality of our lake, important New York State policy actions, introduce you to our amazing team, and much more! Through these accounts we welcome our followers to send us a message sharing their concerns about the lake, share pictures of potential threats to the lake, beautiful pictures of the lake, and questions about the status of our work. Please give us a follow, share us with your Skaneateles and local friends, and invite those friends to like our social media pages. The more people we reach, the more effective our mission becomes. If you want to feature us in your posts tag us or use the hashtags: #SLA #skaneateleslakeassociation #clearlakepurewater.

Since the beginning of February, we have been taking measures to increase our following. In this short amount of time we have made some great progress. As of February 12th, our following has increased on Facebook from 186 to 264, on Instagram from 580 to 663, and we recently created a Twitter account.

Each platform has a link to our website (skaneateleslake.org) where our followers can learn more about our mission, become a member, and see what we are currently doing to protect our lake. If you are not yet a member of this incredible lake association, head straight to our website to sign up. Membership dues and donations are tax deductible. This is an important year to become a member with the Harmful Algal Bloom that was found in the lake last summer.

We are hoping these platforms will help us spread our message with more individuals, increase our member base, and engage a younger generation while informing them about the importance of keeping our lake clean. Help do your part by giving us a follow, sharing with your friends, and becoming a member. Thank you for your support.

Thinking ahead to the summer, please save Saturday, June 30th from 5 – 7 pm for the 2018 SLA annual meeting at Lourdes Camp.

The 2018 memberships and additional donations of the following will be sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day in the coming season:  Margaret & Angelo Scopelianos, Susan & Curt Andersson, Lynn Cleary & David Duggan, Johanna & Gianfranco Frittelli, Pam & Dug Hamlin.   The Milfoil Boat will be co-sponsored in the coming season by the 2018 memberships and additional donations from Mark Congel, Deborah & William Delaney, Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCarthy, Kathleen & David Zappata, George Ann & Edwin Bock, Linda & Paul Cohen, Patty Orr.  We have also received Invasive Species Monitoring Steward sponsorships for the coming season from Ashley & Dennis Longwell, Anne & William Lynn, Meredith & Paul Torrisi, Elizabeth & Joseph Wood and Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCaffrey.

Source:  Skaneateles Press