General News

News From the SLA…Looking Back and Looking Forward

Fran Rotunno Fish

The Board of Directors of the SLA, SLA members and the entire lake community know that 2017 will be a year to remember ….for many reasons.

The year begin with the Board of Directors making the decision to purchase another acre of matting to be prepared by John Menapace with cable/rebar to hold it in place so that during the season we could increase matting of milfoil patches from 5 to 6 acres.  This was a $10,000 decision that could only be made with the confidence that our ANNUAL membership dues and additional donations would grow to support the decision and still fund our total Milfoil Control Program and the Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program.  With intensive membership promotion efforts, the lake community responded.

The Board determined that it needed to enhance its efforts to protect the lake from additional invasive plants and animals by expanding the Steward Program season into the Fall and beginning it earlier in the Spring (when our student stewards are generally not available) AND to develop written materials and audio-visual programs that we could use on our website, at community meetings and via social media. To accomplish this effort the SLA would need seed funding and it was decided to apply for a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation.  A group of SLA Board members worked together to complete the grant application and in June 2017 the Board was advised that the grant had been approved.

As a result, we were able to hire 4 adult Stewards to be on site at the DEC, the Town of Skaneateles and the Town of Scott boat launches during the Fall season and over 400 boats were inspected to ensure no potentially invasive plants or animals were transported from other bodies of water into Skaneateles Lake.  Continuing an expanded season for our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards can only continue with an increasing ANNUAL SLA membership as grant seed money is provided to get something started not maintain long term programs.

The SLA has also started working with Carrie Lazarus, who is volunteering her services, to produce a video about Skaneateles Lake emphasizing what makes it special, how invasive species will continue to be a threat and what everyone needs to do to help prevent the introduction of new or additional invasive species into the lake.  We look forward to the completion of this video for widespread use.

In July, we held our 7th annual SLA meeting on the property of Bill and Janet Stinson in the Highlands of Skaneateles.  Over 250 people joined together in their commitment to the continued beauty of Skaneateles Lake and its clear, pure water.  At that meeting, perhaps prophetically, Bill Stinson spoke of his hope we would all work together and that the landscape would remain green and the lake water blue.

AND THEN IN SEPTEMBER THE HARMFUL BLUE GREEN ALGAL BLOOM APPEARED and the Skaneateles Lake Association was the first responder, collecting the sample, getting it initially tested and alerting all the government agencies.

The SLA Board immediately went into action and consulting with community experts to develop an action plan and the workgroups described in that action plan have been hard at work and gathering participation from committed community members.

The Watershed Nutrient Management Workgroup chaired by SLA board members, Bob Werner and Bill Dean, tasked to study and control nutrient management and runoff, has been meeting regularly to develop a plan to control input of nutrients into Skaneateles Lake at levels that would greatly reduce the probability of a harmful algal bloom (HAB).

The Watershed Community Involvement Workgroup, chaired by Mary Menapace, is developing plans for community forums, literature and programs.  The plans will offer every member of the lake community the information needed and the opportunity to do the right thing to care for the watershed and the lake and step up to the plate to help conduct these programs and practices on an ongoing basis.

The Watershed Governance Workgroup headed up by Bob Liegel, Esq. and Rich Hole, Esq. is working to establish a Watershed Council of all the watershed municipalities to speak with one voice regarding watershed rules and regulations, and enforcement.  This would help unify the entire watershed and expedite much of the work that needs to be accomplished.

The opportunity to discuss the seriousness of the Harmful Algal Bloom and the SLA’s commitment to respond to it was provided at a community meeting hosted by the Falcone Family and organized by the SLA on October 18th.  Community representatives from across the Lake Community and village, town, county and state representatives from every level gathered and gave insight to the issues and potential for action.  With the presence of the Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation it was a powerful meeting and a powerful vehicle for gaining the close attention of the Governor.

This Action Plan and its 3 Workgroups have become all the more important with the announcement by the Governor of significant funding for the protection of 12 NYS Lakes, including Skaneateles Lake, from Harmful Algal Blooms.  While we anticipate that this funding and the actions taken will be implemented under the State DEC we know that Aimee Clinkhammer from the Finger Lake Watershed Hub, who has already been working with the SLA Watershed Nutrient Management Workgroup will be the DEC coordinator for Skaneateles Lake.  As such we expect our Watershed Nutrient Management Workgroup will continue to be a key member of the team.

The Board of Directors of the SLA reminds the entire Skaneateles Lake community that we need their continued ANNUAL membership and the memberships of many more, especially lakefront property owners who have not previously joined the SLA, to continue to carry out all of our ongoing plans to protect the treasure that is Skaneateles Lake.

You can join the Skaneateles Lake Association online at or call 315-685-9106 and ask that a registration form and return envelope be mailed to you.

Source:  Skaneateles Press


From the SLA: Addressing harmful algae blooms

SLA News Update on HABs by Paul Torrisi

Following the detection and reporting of the recent Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) on Skaneateles Lake in September, the SLA continued to take the lead in organizing a plan of action to “control the controllables”. We all quickly learned that the “toxic bloom” we experienced was not an “algae” bloom but a response from a tiny bacteria that has existed in every body of freshwater on the planet for billions of years, i.e., cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae).

The nutrient loading that occurred with the unprecedented 25 inches of rain in the spring and early summer creating a turbid, debris strewn lake for most of July, was a set up for what occurred in September-an almost unheard of 12 day period of perfect calm, higher water temperatures, and nothing but sunlight! These tiny organisms flourished in a nutrient rich lake in a “perfect storm” scenario and released their toxins, resulting in an un-drinkable, un-swimmable lake for months.

The “dagger in the heart” was a restaurant in Syracuse with its window sign “bragging” that they don’t get their drinking water from Skaneateles Lake!!!

This Four Point Action Plan from the SLA was activated in October, a few weeks into the toxic bloom:

1) Nutrient Management Committee to study and implement control of runoff/nutrient loading into the lake – a daunting and long term task! A group of experts was recruited by SLA’s Bob Werner and Bill Dean and have already met twice, and are continuing to study on a daily basis what needs to be done to reach their goal: “develop and ensure the implementation of a plan to reduce the input of nutrients into Skaneateles Lake to levels that will greatly reduce the probability of a harmful algal bloom.

This is a very complex issue with perhaps a multitude of contributing factors to the HAB, especially on a “low phosphorous” lake. Do invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian milfoil play a role? Stay tuned for lots more information from this group!

In addition to Bob Werner (SLA) and Bill Dean (SLA), this task force includes Rich Abbott(City of Syr.), Mark Burger(Onon. Cty SWCD), Aimee Clinkhammer (DEC), Mary Sennett (SLA), Neil Murphy (SLA/ESF), Richard Wiles (SLA), Zack Odell (FLLT), and Brian Madigan (SLA).

2) Community Involvement Committee headed up by SLA’s Mary Menapace.

This group is focusing on what we can do as individual stakeholders and as a community, immediately and long term, to have a lasting impact on the health of Skaneateles Lake.

Mary is already working with Annette Becker writing a “best practices” booklet on how each individual can positively and negatively affect the Lake’s health with our daily routine and management of our own properties.

Carol Stokes-Cawley (Sustainable Skaneateles) along with Deb Hole and Jim Huber are helping with the editing of this booklet which will be in both hard copy and Email versions for widespread distribution.

Holly Gregg (CPCS), Debbie Bobbett (school curricula), along with Janice Wiles, Julie Scuderi, Claire Howard, Neil Murphy, Rick Garrett (H.S. Environmental Club), David LoPiccolo (adopt a stream), and Deirdre Aureden have all volunteered to help Mary coordinate community involvement.

Mary’s plan for citizen stakeholder’s involvement:

One-education and outreach in the form not only of printed material, but starting this winter with community forums on Best Management Practices (BMPs) on and near the watershed.

Two-serve as a resource for implementing these BMPs-such as septic maintenance, lawncare, gardening, design with natives, without using potentially toxic pesticides and fertilizers-offering guidance on direction, funding, and even use of volunteer experts.

Three-this SLA Committee to help coordinate other local Agencies (Cornell Coop. Extension, CPCS, Sustainable Skaneateles, local schools and municipalities, the City and all 3 counties, farmers, DEC) to expand and amplify their good programming, and to all work in concert toward the common goal of keeping the lake healthy.

3) Watershed Governance Committee. This committee is headed up by Bob Liegel and Rich Hole, working with Jim Lanning, Joe Hennigan, and Patty Orr.

Their goal is to study and develop a governance structure for implementing a watershed management plan to protect Skaneateles Lake. The governance structure would be designed to facilitate collaboration among the counties, towns, and the village in the watershed and the City of Syracuse to develop and implement a watershed management plan (using the work product of our other two committees) and to speak with one voice regarding rules, regulations, and their enforcement!

To date this SLA Committee has reviewed governance structures used to manage and protect other lake watersheds, spoken with representatives of these governance structures, spoken with State officials involved with protecting water supplies, and met twice in committee to review and discuss their findings.

This SLA Watershed Governance Committee’s success is critical since implementation of both the Nutrient Management and Community Involvement initiatives will be difficult, if not impossible, without the cooperation of all these stakeholders.

4) SLA Fundraising to establish a reserve fund in the SLA to address specific HAB related (and invasive species) issues as they come up, and support a full time SLA Executive Director (ED), helping to coordinate all these activities in the watershed, promoting education, and serving as a constant SLA liaison among all the stakeholders.

The ED could also be instrumental in helping with other critical SLA programs such as the robust and ever-growing Stewardship Program in the lake watershed, and the Eurasian milfoil control program which will be on-going in its 12th season.

The growing scientific evidence suggesting a correlation between zebra mussels and HABs in low nutrient lakes such as ours helps to point out how these or any invasive species can have a negative impact on the health of a lake (and regional economy) years after their introduction. The fight must go on !!

Source:  Skaneateles Press



News from the SLA: Next Steps after the Algal Bloom

Paul Torrisi

Following SLA’s very informative HAB Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn, October 18th, much is in the works. That luncheon conference hosted by the Michael Falcone Family brought together over 100 folks from scientific experts on toxic algal blooms, representatives from local, City, County governments, Congressman Katko’s, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s, and Governor Cuomo’s offices.

 The NYS DEC was also well represented by Commissioner Seggos and many of his local and state colleagues. Concerned citizens were also in attendance.

 The agricultural community was represented well by Jim Greenfield, who gave an excellent presentation of Best Management Practices by farmers working closely with the County Soil and Water Districts.

 Much lively discussion with Qs & As from the audience and distinguished panel assembled by the SLA, followed. When all was said and done, however, the lingering question remains: FLUKE or NEW NORMAL?

 This toxic blue-green algal bloom was a shocker to us all! It falls under the “perfect storm” scenario with the unprecedented 25 inches of rainfall in spring/summer followed by the also rare prolonged calm, sunshine, and increased water temperatures, lasting almost two weeks in September. The cyanobacteria loved it! They had all the food from the increased sediment they could possibly wish for.  Presto- a green, unswimmable, undrinkable lake with lingering toxins.

 SLA decided to jump into action and not wait to see if this reoccurs next year or again in 5 years. The fact remains that our climate patterns are changing with temperatures trending up and more precipitation in CNY as rainfall rather than a more deliberate, slow melting spring snowpack, thus creating a recipe for repetitive severe runoff into the lake with its nutrient loading.

 So, SLA, hoping to function as a catalyst in this equation, came up with a 4 POINT ACTION PLAN as an attempt to try and “control the controllables”:

 1)  A Task Force Committee to study and control Nutrient Management and runoff into the lake, especially during the more frequent monster storms. Their goal is to develop a plan to control input of nutrients into Skaneateles Lake at levels that would greatly reduce the probability of a harmful algal bloom (HAB). Working with Bob Werner and Bill Dean are Rich Abbott (City of Syr. Water Dept.), Mark Burger (Onon.County Soil&Water Consv.District), Aimee Clinkhammer (DEC), Neil Murphy (ESF), Richard Wiles(Senior VP for Program Strategy & Integration at Climate Central,Inc.), Brian Madigan (Environmental Consultant), Zack O’Dell (FingerLakesLandTrust).

 2)  A Task Force Committee for Community Involvement. This is headed up by Mary Menapace .  Many have offered to help and as projects develop many more will be needed to assist with such things as publications, seminars and the like, to show citizens what they can do with their own properties on promoting a healthy watershed. Additionally, community “cove keepers “ and “adopt a stream” programs will be promoted. Also, many innovative policies regarding attitudes to lawn care, use of pesticides/fertilizers in the watershed, school programs, developing “watershed wise” logos and awards for homeowners and contractors- all to help keep unwanted nutrients and sediments from entering the lake.

 3)  Fund raising to establish a reserve fund in the SLA to address specific issues and/or projects as they come up, assist in work necessary to apply for larger governmental grants, and also to support a full time watershed management coordinator to help expedite ALL of the above.

 4)  Finally, a special SLA committee headed up by Bob Liegel,Esq. and Rich Hole,Esq. to look into establishing a Watershed Council or Intermunicipal Organization of all the watershed municipalities to speak with one voice regarding watershed rules and regulations, and enforcement ! This would help unify the entire watershed and expedite much of the work that needs to be accomplished.

 Needless to say, we, as a CNY and Skaneateles Lake community have a daunting task ahead of us but the resources may become available from government and private sources to help pull this all together. All we can do as individual stakeholders is take a “personal pledge” to do everything possible to keep the lake blue, not green.

 To be continued….




News from the SLA -What Now? and What Next?

The SLA has received many inquiries via our website and our board members have been asked directly “now that we have had this harmful algal bloom what do we do now and what do we do next?”.  Our board along with other stakeholders have spent considerable time since the harmful bloom was first identified consulting with and getting information from government agencies and science experts.  At the invitation of the Falcone Family the SLA organized a forum of governmental agency representatives and scientists to develop a 3 phase action plan with the intent to also work closely with the city and county to develop the watershed plan for Skaneateles Lake.

For the future, the SLA is collaborating with ESF and helping to support ESF’s testing of a commercial in-home testing strip that could be used to test for the presence of toxin in a home’s water supply.  But right now, citizens should be contacting their county health department for advice on usage of water from private water lines in Skaneateles Lake.  This could pressure those health departments to conduct their own lake-wide testing.

The literature we have reviewed and the water experts we have consulted recommend that:

  1. In-home systems include intakes that are as far from the shoreline and a deep as possible;
  2. In-home filtration systems consist of a 20 micron filter followed by a 5 micron filter followed by an ultraviolet or chlorinating system.
  3. Filters should be changed regularly. This will provide a sanitizing system, but it is not a system that removes toxins unless a chlorinating system was in place that used 10X the level of chlorine used in a sanitizing system. This would create strong chlorine tastes to the water.

Please note that there is no good data that shows that residential granulated carbon filters are of value in removing toxin.  There are reverse osmosis systems that may be helpful in removing toxin but they are expensive, require high maintenance and must be set up to ensure that the rejected effluent with the toxins does not go back into the lake.

Right now, every citizen of the lake community can support the effort to reduce nutrient loading of the lake, which along with sun, warmer water and no wind comprise the recipe for algal blooms. Two simple steps we can take right now are

  1. avoid the use of lawn fertilizers and,
  2. if you are a lake front owner collect shoreline and beachfront leaves and compost or mulch them away from the lake front or bring them to the transfer station.

Lake front owners can also begin to plan a buffer zone of plantings for the shoreline to plant in the spring.  There are many resources for these plantings and if you need information on them just send us a message on our website,, via the “contact us” tab.


Please thank the following individuals whose generous donations, in addition to their annual membership fees, supported the Milfoil Boats and our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewward Program.  We simply could not have done what we are doing this year and plan to do next year without them.

Sponsors of the Milfoil Boat for a Day or multiple days:  The Allyn Family Foundation, Chancea & Donald Sundman, Gretchen & William Roberts,

Co-sponsors of the Milfoil Boar for multiple days:  Mark Congel, Nancy & Douglas McDowell, Skaneateles Winding Way Association, Margaret Tourville, Deborah & Gary Hind, Cookie & Jack Helmer, Mary & Joe Gaffney, David Graham, Ten Mile Point South Cottage Homeowners Association.

Co-sponsors of the Milfoil Boat for a day: Mary Marshall, Leah & Thomas Valenti, Anonymous 19, Eileen Murphy & Charles Ryan, Blue Water Grill & the Grey Goose (Dan & Lisa Riordan) Beth & David Conley, Lynn & Chris Kelly, Carol & Alex Protasiewicz, Paul Alexander, Anna Marie & Carl Gerst. Lorraine Gudas, Sharon & John Paddock, Raziur Rahman, Patricia Orr.

Sponsors of a Steward for a day:  Kathleen & Daniel Mezzalingua, Laura & Sean O’Keefe, Susan & Frederic Jakes, Daisy &  Michael Bongiovanni, Emily & Kristopher Konrad, Jessica & Toby Millman, Nancy & James Marquardt, Mary Anne & Don Winfield, Live-Lake-Love, Merrily & Gerhart Heyer, Patricia & Bruce Texeira, Sandra Loli & Richard Boni, Patricia Woodcock, Casmir Bobowski, Virginia & Jeffrey Stannard, Lorraine Gudas, Sharon & John Paddock, Raziur Rahman, Patricia Orr.

Contributors to the David Lee Hardy Fund:  Lorraine Gudas, Sharon & John Paddock, Raziur Rahman, Patricia Orr, Deborah & Joe Paduda, Paula White, Demetra Vounas, Mark & Lou Bitz, Nancy Peck, Mary & Ed Blum, Marianne Lont, Sharon & Steve Songer, MB & Jeffrey Bronk, Amy Wiles, Margaret Sennett, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Mary Lou & Michael Cooper, Frances & John McNerney, Tracey Davenport, William Kopp.

Source:  Skaneateles Press




Facts on Skaneateles Lake Blue Green Algal Bloom (HAB or Harmful Algal Bloom) September 2017

From the Town of Skaneateles       October 20, 2017

Skaneateles Lake  Algae Update  

 Those who use water from a private lake intake must be sure to read the section of this release that is pertinent to them.

JOINT STATEMENT FROM ONONDAGA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND CITY OF SYRACUSE DEPARTMENT OF WATER Following the reports of algal blooms on Skaneateles Lake, the New York State Department of Health, Onondaga County Health Department, and the City of Syracuse Department of Water continue to work collaboratively to collect samples to determine whether there were levels of algal toxin that could impact the municipalities that use Skaneateles Lake as a public drinking water supply.

Samples tested today at the state’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany found non-detectable results inside the City of Syracuse Gatehouse located in the Village of Skaneateles. This level is consistent with prior reported sampling at the Gatehouse and below the health advisory levels for both adults and sensitive populations. Results also showed non-detectable levels of toxin for all other samples of water that are representative of drinking water reaching customers of the system, including the City of Syracuse, the Town of Dewitt, the Village of Skaneateles, the Town of Skaneateles, the Town of Elbridge, the Village of Elbridge and the Village of Jordan. Residents in the Village of Skaneateles and the other municipalities which use this drinking water source can continue to drink the water.

The New York State Department of Health, Onondaga County Health Department and the City of Syracuse Department of Water will continue enhanced monitoring through daily testing across the system until all samples consistently return non-detectable results. State and local officials will remain vigilant on this issue and continue our efforts to update and inform communities in Onondaga County.

Onondaga County Health Department reminds residents who draw water directly from Skaneateles Lake through near-shore PRIVATE INTAKES to take the following precautions:

• DO NOT USE the water for potable purposes such as drinking, making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth, preparing food, washing dishes, or for pets.

• Do not use the water for bathing when algae blooms are present near your water intake

To be clear, these recommendations apply only to residents with private intakes; in-home treatments such as boiling, ultraviolet radiation (UV), and water filtration units do not remove the toxins associated with harmful algal blooms.

Justin Sayles County Executive Joanie Mahoney 315-435-3516 @OnondagaCounty


You can view the most recent Lake Water Service Illustration and report at


From the Town of Skaneateles       September 22, 2017

Blue Green Algae Update For Homes With Private Intakes on Skaneateles Lake

Onondaga County Health Department, Joanne M. Mahoney, County Executive 

Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health

John H. Mulroy Civic Center · 421 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY 13202

Phone 315.435.3155 · Fax 315.435.5720

Onondaga County Health Department reminds residents who draw water directly from Skaneateles Lake through near-shore PRIVATE INTAKES to take the following precautions:

  • DO NOT USE the water for potable purposes such as drinking, making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth, preparing food, washing dishes, or for pets.
  • Do not use the water for bathing when algae blooms are present near your water intake

To be clear, these recommendations apply only to residents with private intakes; in-home treatments such as boiling, ultraviolet radiation (UV), and water filtration units do not remove the toxins associated with harmful algal blooms.

The Health Department recommends taking the following additional precautions:

Learn more about blue-green algae:

  • Do not swim, wade, or fish near algae blooms or surface scums
  • Do not let dogs wade, drink the water, or walk on algae-contaminated shoreline debris
  • Rinse yourself and pets with clean water if exposed to algae
  • Anyone who experiences skin or eye irritation or gastrointestinal illness should contact their health care provider.

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* Blue-Green Algae and Health:


From the Town of Skaneateles       September 22, 2017

Blue-Green Algae

Some types of algae can produce toxins that can be harmful to people and animals. Algal blooms that produce toxins are known as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Environmental conditions that contribute to the formation of HABs in bodies of water include excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), abundant sunlight, calm water conditions, and warmer temperatures.

This summer, HABs have been identified in many New York State lakes including the recent findings on Skaneateles Lake. Skaneateles Lake is an unfiltered source of public drinking water for the Town and Village of Skaneateles, Town and Village of Elbridge, Village of Jordan, City of Syracuse and portions of the Towns of Onondaga and Dewitt.

Know It Surface water that is discolored with a paint-like or filmy appearance or floating scum should always be avoided as they are potentially harmful. Images of these types of blooms as well as non-harmful blooms can be viewed by clicking here. Weather influences where harmful algae blooms will occur. During extended periods of calm and sunny days, blooms can accumulate at the surface in any location. Wind and waves may cause them to form along shorelines or in protected areas. Shifts in wind direction can move a bloom from one location to another. Periods of cool rainy weather can often lead to the disappearance of a bloom

Avoid It Always stay away from blooms in surface waters. Never swim, fish, boat, wade or eat fish caught in areas with blooms. Bloom or no bloom, never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated or improperly treated individual surface water supplies. During a bloom, individual surface water supplies should not be used for showering, bathing, or washing dishes even if treatment is provided. Public water supplies that draw water from surface water are treated, disinfected and monitored. The public would be notified if public water supplies are impacted by algal blooms.

Report It If you think that a bloom may be harmful and is present on Skaneateles Lake, the Onondaga County Health Department asks that you report it to the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Inspection Program at (315) 685-6486. If the bloom is present on another water body in Onondaga County, please report it to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) at

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is the public drinking water being monitored?

  • The City of Syracuse, the Onondaga County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health are monitoring the public drinking water for the presence of toxins associated with harmful algal blooms. Samples of the public drinking water are collected and sent to the New York State Department of Health laboratory on a regular basis during the harmful algal bloom season to determine if toxins are present.

If toxins associated with harmful algal blooms are in the public drinking water, is the water safe to drink?

  • The Onondaga County Health Department will notify the public when alternative water should be used for drinking, making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth and preparing food.
  • The Onondaga County Health Department in consultation with the New York State Department of Health will issue necessary advisories for drinking water when levels exceed normal limits.

What could the effects on my health be if I drink public drinking water with toxins associated with harmful algal blooms above the levels set by the EPA?

  • Symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties may occur after drinking water with elevated levels of toxins associated with harmful algal blooms. These symptoms are very similar to symptoms from other gastrointestinal illnesses or allergic reactions. Stop drinking the water and seek medical attention if you or a family member experience these symptoms.
  • Gastroenteritis which may include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and liver and kidney damage have been reported in humans following short-term exposure to toxins associated with harmful algal blooms in drinking water. However, more research is needed to fully understand the health effects.

I’m pregnant (or planning to be). Will consuming the public drinking water toxins effect my unborn child?

  • There is limited information available in the scientific literature on the potential for health effects from ingesting microcystin, the primary toxin associated with Harmful Algal Blooms, during pregnancy.
  • The Onondaga County Health Department in consultation with the New York State Department of Health will advise pregnant women not to drink the water if levels exceed normal limits.

If I live near a lake experiencing a harmful algal bloom, is my private well water safe to drink, bathe, wash dishes, etc.?

  • If a private well is a properly installed drilled well, it is unlikely to be impacted by Harmful Algal Blooms present in the lake. If the well is a shallow well installed along the shore of a lake experiencing a harmful algal bloom, toxins associated with the bloom may be present in the well water. In-home treatments such as boiling, disinfecting water with chlorine or ultraviolet (UV), and water filtration units do not remove the toxins associated with harmful algal blooms. There are treatment units on the market that have been shown to reduce microcystin levels in water, but it is not known if the microcystins would be reduced to a level considered safe. Since individual water supplies are not regulated or monitored, it is not known if there is a health risk to drinking the water from your private well.

If I draw my water directly from the lake experiencing a bloom, is my water safe to drink, wash dishes, etc.?

  • Never drink untreated surface water, whether or not harmful algal blooms are present. At this time, even if the water is treated by in-home treatment units, DO NOT DRINK water drawn directly from the lake and DO NOT USE the water for making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth, preparing food, and washing dishes when blooms are present. In-home treatments such as boiling, ultraviolet radiation (UV), and water filtration units do not remove the toxins associated with harmful algal blooms. There are treatment units on the market that have been shown to reduce microcystin levels in water, but it is not known if the microcystins would be reduced to a level considered safe. Since individual water supplies are not regulated or monitored, it is not known if there is a health risk to drinking the water from your private water supply.
  • The Onondaga County Health Department in consultation with the New York State Department of Health will advise those drawing water directly from Skaneateles Lake when testing shows undetectable levels of toxin in the Lake.

Can my children and pets play in the lake water if it is experiencing a harmful algal bloom?

  • People, pets, and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has floating scum on the surface. If contact does occur, rinse the exposed skin thoroughly with clean water.
  • Exposure to harmful algal blooms can be deadly for pets, especially if they drink water with harmful algal blooms or when they lick their fur after swimming in waters with harmful algal blooms.

What health effects can I expect to see if I was recreating in lake water experiencing a bloom?

  • Recreational exposures can occur while swimming, wading, fishing, or boating in areas with harmful algal blooms if this water is touched or swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. Exposure to harmful algal blooms can cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting; skin, eye, or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. Seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms after exposure to harmful algal blooms.

Have any health problems been reported by people after recreating in water bodies experiencing harmful algal blooms?

  • According to the New York State Department of Health, generally there have been infrequent reports of illnesses associated with recreational exposure to harmful algal blooms, and most of illnesses reported were minor. Since the symptoms from harmful algal bloom exposure are very similar to symptoms from other gastrointestinal illnesses or allergic reactions, we expect that bloom-related illnesses are under-reported.

What health effects may my pet experience if they were exposed to harmful algal blooms?

  • Symptoms for animals include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive salivation or drooling, stumbling, seizures, convulsions, paralysis, disorientation, inactivity, excessive tiredness, fast heart rate and difficulty breathing. Seek veterinary care if your pet experiences these symptoms after exposure to harmful algal blooms.

What do harmful algal blooms look like? How will I be able to identify these blooms if I am on the lake?

  • Discolored water, often with a paint-like appearance, with or without floating scum or mats may be evidence of a Harmful Algal Bloom. Pictures of Harmful Algal Blooms can be found here:
  • It is hard to tell a Harmful Algal Bloom from other non-harmful algae blooms. Therefore the Onondaga County Health Department recommends that you avoid wading, swimming, boating, and fishing in waterbodies that are discolored or has scum or floating mats present.

What should I do if I see a Harmful Algal Bloom on a body of water?

  • If you think that a bloom may be harmful and is present on Skaneateles Lake, the Onondaga County Health Department asks that you report it to the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Inspection Program at (315) 685-6486. If the bloom is present on another water body in Onondaga County, please report it to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) at


From the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA)       September 19, 2017

 Facts on Skaneateles Lake Blue Green Algal Bloom  (HAB or Harmful Algal Bloom)

September 2017


1) Suspicious green algae were found suspended in water at the lakefront of a Skaneateles Lake Association( SLA )member at Widewaters, about 6 miles south on the East side of the lake on Tuesday, 9/12/17. This property owner notified the SLA by Email and a team of SLA Board members inspected the site.

This event did not appear very suspicious for a HAB as there was only a visible suspension of green particles in the water (this had been noticed before in recent years but usually was short lived ). However, this time a decision was made by Bob Werner and Buzz Roberts to go ahead and take samples just to be sure, since the SLA team had the equipment and expertise from participating in the statewide CSLAP lake monitoring program on a regular basis.

 2) The sample was sent to Greg Boyer’s Lab at ESF as directed by the DEC . Greg is a well known expert on HABs and runs one of the few labs capable of such analysis in the state. On Friday 9/15 the results revealed a positive indication of a HAB with elevated levels of blue-green algae (60 ug BGA-chl/liter), well above the DEC alert level of 10-20 ug BGA chl/liter. This was immediately reported to SLA Board  member, Dr. Bob Werner. Toxin testing available on Saturday, 9/16 showed an elevated microcystin level at 12 ug/L, at or slightly above the DEC alert threshold for recreational contact (swimming) and well above the level allowed in tap water.

 The same day there was widespread visible green scum along the lakeshore. This was quite worrisome since the original samples taken by the SLA appeared to be a dilute suspension of green particles in the water column which had not yet coalesced into a green scum or paint-like appearance on the surface of the water.

 Immediately, representatives from the SLA met with Rich Abbott at the City Water Dept. in Skaneateles and with the Skaneateles. Town Supervisor, Jim Lanning and  Town Clerk, Janet Aaron. Microcystis colonies were again confirmed in the City Lab with both Rich Abbott and Bob Werner examining another sample under the microscope brought in from Bob’s waterfront about 4-5 miles down on the West side.

 The County Health Dept. was notified along with the local media and Town and SLA websites to warn people not to swim or drink the lake water directly. Syracuse City residents and Skaneateles village residents that obtained their water through the City intakes were told it was OK to drink their tap water, as posted on, that same day.

Additional samples were taken at the village pier and steps to the village swim area on Sat, 9/16 by the NY Federation of Lake Associations as directed by the DEC and were hand delivered to SUNY-ESF for testing. These samples also showed elevated levels of blue-green algae (400-600 ug BGA-chl/liter) and elevated levels of the liver toxin microcystins (120-170 ug/L). These numbers were reported in Sunday’s These microcystin levels were considerably higher than the original more dilute samples taken by the SLA team on  Tuesday 9/12.  Algal neurotoxins, occasionally found in other blooms in New York State, were not present in any of the Skaneateles Lake samples. Combined, the results indicated the presence of a toxic blue-green algae bloom (HAB) in Skaneateles Lake, potentially being accumulated along the shore by wind and wave action.

 3) Sunday, 9/16, visible inspection of the lake showed resolution of the confluent areas of green scum along the shoreline, at least by this observer, along the west and east shorelines south to about 7 miles. However, heavy green particle suspension was present all over and in mid- lake about 5-6 miles down even in deeper offshore waters. There were visible streaks  of greenish particles but not the actual layered scum on the surface that was visible just the day before. This had broken apart.

 Impacts of the bloom

Discussion with Dr. Greg Boyer 9/18 /17, Professor SUNY ESF

1) A toxic HAB event was confirmed for Skaneateles Lake. The algal species involved was 99% Microcystis aeruginosa and measured hepatotoxin (liver toxin) concentrations (microcystin) exceeded the levels for drinking water and recreational contact (swimming).

2) Drinking water obtained via the City intakes via the tap was considered to be safe. The allowable levels in tap water for the liver toxins are <0.3 for children and <1.6 for adults (10 day average), The City has a number of options available, including using a deep water intake, mixing the water with Lake Ontario water, flocculation of the cells, or the use of activated carbon for removal of the toxins from the water.

3) In contrast, residents who obtain their water directly from the lake should be using bottled water during the bloom event. Many local residents’ water intakes are located near shore, in shallow water (10 -20 feet) and do not have the technology to remove the cells and toxins from the water. Routinely, blooms mix at least to depths of 20 feet.

Residential UV light systems may kill the cells but not necessarily remove the toxins from the water. Residential activated carbon systems are also generally insufficient to remove the toxins unless the system is expensive (thousands of dollars) and properly maintained.  Point-of-use filters commonly found on sink taps are insufficient at removing the toxins. Filtration and reverse osmosis do not remove the toxins once they have been released from the cell but may be beneficial in keeping the cells (about 7 microns in size) themselves out of the residential system.

These toxins are not destroyed by heat (e.g., boiling water does not work) and use of chlorine is often complicated by the presence of other organic material in the water from the bloom. These microcystin toxins do linger in the lake water even after the visible bloom is gone but become more dilute and dissipate with time. They do not remain forever.

 4) Special care needs to be taken with pets. Levels above 100 ug/L in bloom events are in the “Dead Dog” range, according to Greg, where pets can die due to the toxins accumulating in the fur and the dog’s normal tendency to lick its fur to clean itself. Pet owners should wash off their pets with a garden hose if the animal has been swimming in green water, For more information regarding pets see

5) Residents should avoid contact with all blooms and should not be swimming in any water where a bloom is present. The bloom will eventually go away and the water should be free of suspended green particles (usually weeks, not days) before resuming swimming or drinking the water.

A small fraction of the population (<1%) may also be allergic to contact with the bloom’s cells themselves (separate from the toxins). This may impact the use of the water for showering, washing of hands, dishes, or clothes using raw lake water during an active bloom event. The response is generally a skin rash.  Also, he does not recommend people who might be immunosuppressed from age, medication and/or disease use raw lake water for any of these activities during a time when a bloom might be present.

Discussion with Lisa Letteney, 9/18/17

Director of Environmental Health, Ononaga County Health Department: 

The City is actively monitoring the water at the intakes on Skaneateles Lake and also as the village trunk comes off the main after it exits the lake. She said  if anything changes the County/City will alert the public.

 We discussed some of the same issues brought up with Greg Boyer and she agreed to send out another Alert to keep the public informed and advice people not only on municipal water but also those who live on the lakeshore and draw directly from the lake.

We also discussed the possibility of setting up a Hotline # so in the future they could be immediately notified of a suspicious algal bloom and it can be immediately tested by the County/City authorities- so HABs aren’t missed! We were fortunate this time to have the SLA act proactively and discover it before the nasty green bloom appeared !

We both agreed that it’s important for the County Health Dept to stay in touch and advice accordingly since there seems to be much misinformation being dissipated along with misunderstanding of the issues involved with HABs.

Lisa agreed that subsequent Informational Alerts from the County Health Dept could be expected.

Submitted by:  Paul F. Torrisi,MD, President, SLA


Milfoil Boat Team and Stewards Working Full Time

Fran Rotunno Fish

This is a busy time of the year for the Milfoil Boat Team.  They are in the water rolling up the matting put down earlier in the season.  The first matting put down is the first matting taken up so that the Milfoil patches are matted for about 8 weeks.  This is hard work and very dependent on the weather.  If the lake gets rough, it becomes hard to see the bubbles from the submerged divers and keep the boat in position.  So there are days when work has to stop to ensure the safety of the crew.  The team rolls up on the mats in each area addressed this season.  When all the mats are rolled and piled up on the bottom of the lake, the Team returns with a different boat which is rigged to pick up the mats.  These rolls of mats are heavy because they have the metal cable sewn into them every 6 feet to keep them stable on the bottom of the lake and because they are wet!  Getting strapping around the rolls and then using a wench to lift them up and onto the boat for transport back to shore for winter storage live takes still, strength and patience.  Our lake community members all owe thanks to Keith Marsden, Jason Hole Victoria Zanicky, Sam Clymer and Liam Wilson for the great job they do under the direction of John Menapace.

Our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Crew this summer included Elyse DuBois, Will Thomas, Griffin Dunn, Sara Signorelli, Jeremy Castle, Alex Frank, and Anna Denhoff.  As they make their way back to school and college we are pleased to have hired  adult stewards from the lake community with funds provided by the Central New York Community Foundation for this first year of an extended steward season.  Roy Truswell, Laurie Kenyon, John Colomb and Al Coon are joining the Steward Team and will be covering the DEC, Town of Skaneateles and Town of Scott boat launch sites along with Jeremy Castle who will help provide weekend coverage for the fall season.  Labor Day may be the “official” close of the season, but the lake remains open to many and our Steward coverage during the fall months is very important.

 Please thank the following individuals whose 2017 memberships and additional donations co-sponsored the Milfoil Boat for a day: Patricia Orr, Barbara & William Dean, Mary & Paul Torrisi, Deborah & James Tifft, Anonymous 18 (2 days), Kathleen & Daniel Mezzalingua, Paula White, Demetra Vounas, Jaime Tuozzolo, Pamela & Douglas Hamlin, Barbara & Jed Delmonico, Robert Congel, Ann Hinchcliff, Kate & Mont Pooley, Eleanor & Ben Ware, Patriia & Bill McAvoy, Maureen & Joe Wilson, Ursula & David Hutton, Deborah & Richard Hole, Lake Farms, John Priest & Lynne Boles, Lisa & Michael Wetzel, Donald Babcock & Carolyn Kaye, Noreen & Michael Falcone, Hobbitt Hollow Farm, Joyce & Robin Jowaisis, Jennifer Sutherland, Alice & Neal Houser, Patricia & David Stone, Judy & John Varney, Barbara & Myron Egtvedt, Ellie & Chet Benoit, Lynn Lenihan, Norma & David McCarthy, Elet & John Callahan, Janet & Donald Frank, Jill & Todd Marshall, Judy & Doug Robertson, Katherine & Lawrence Weiss, Cate & Sally, Goffe Cottage (Carla & David Goffe), Barbara & Kenneth Hearst, Marcia & Robert Hunt, Nancy Thomas & Chris Legg, Cynthia & William McCauley, Paula & Edward Conan, Celeste Gudas, Bettina & Tom Smallman, Joan & Michael Niswender, Charles O’Neal, Maureen & Don Plath, Linda Lavery, Jacqueline K. Bays & Joseph McCaffrey, Mason & Jane Howard, Kristine & Jeffrey Bogart, Susan & Bill Burch, Diana Coyne, Twin Birch Dairy (Karen & Dirk Young), Jolie & Scott Johnston, George Ann & Edwin Bock, Edward Nichols, Steve Mott, Randy Cobb & Jackie Brown, Kelly & Gregory Weaver, Heather & David Wheat, Karen & Chris Kreidler, Lynne & David Curtin, Gary Dower, Virgina & Gerard Shanley, Barbara Benedict & Duncan Wormer, Patricia Lynn Ford & Stevn Ford, Jane & Joseph Kite, Kuni & Patrick Riccardi, Margaret Bersani, Mary Socci & Peter White, Dr. Robert Vitkus, Shadowlawn Lakeshore Corporation, Susan & James Solomon, Anonymous 8, Judy & Philip Hiser, Maureen & Brian Harkins. Ann & David Lee.

Source:  Skaneateles Press





Fran Rotunno Fish

On July 29th, watercraft inspectors from the Adirondack Watershed Institute, found what appeared to be Hydrilla on the trailer of a Personal Watercraft that was going to be launched into upper Saranac Lake.  Paul Smith’s College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute confirmed the approximately twelve-inch strand was hydrilla.  The owner reported that the PWC and trailer had last been in the Potomac River in Maryland.

Hydrilla, commonly known as Eurasian Milfoil on steroids can grow up to an inch a day and it forms floating mats of vegetation on the water surface that can become so dense that they block recreational activities such as boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and swimming.  The resulting change in a body of water impacts recreational use of the water and as a result impacts the economy that the body of water supports.  To paraphrase an article written by Paul Torrisi last year ….if you think Milfoil is bad, hope that you never see Hydrilla in Skaneateles Lake!

This close call in the Adirondacks SUPPORTS the need for every dollar that the Skaneateles Lake Association has put into having our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards at launches on Skaneateles Lake.

This close call SUPPORTS the decision of the Board of Directors of the Skaneateles Lake Association to expand the “season” for our Stewards so that we start them in April and keep them in place through October or longer.  The expansion of the Steward “season” is being made possible this fall and spring by a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation.

Hopefully, in order to continue the expansion of the Steward “season”, this close call, SUPPORTS a clear understanding of the importance of membership in the SKANEATELES LAKE ASSOCIATION on the part of all those who live on the lake; boat, swim, kayak, sail or paddle the lake; fish the lake; drink the lake water; are in a business that thrives because of the lake and those who just l the lake.

Hopefully, this close call SUPPORTS a decision for every single one of them to go to and join TODAY.

Please thank the following members whose additional donations in 2016 funded our 2017 workplan as sponsors of the two Milfoil Boats, an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward or contributors to the Hardy Fund which also supports our Steward Program.

Milfoil Boat Co-sponsors:  Donna & Raymond Kurlak, Merrily & Gerhart Heyer, Camille & Thomas Porter,

Steward Sponsors:  JoDean & Timothy Orcutt, Merrily & Gerhart Heyer, William Gilbane, Laura & Sean O’Keefe, Joanne Viggiano & Kenneth Cannon, Maria & Paul Christou.

Hardy Fund Contributors:  Margaret Sennett, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Janet & Lawrence Ruston, Janet & Dennis Stratton, Mary & Ed Blum, The Kelly Family.

Please thank the following members whose additional donations in 2017 have funded our 2017 workplan as sponsors of our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards:  Katherine Cogswell & Walter Benson, Dessa & William Bergen, Martha & William Cole, Barbara & William Dean, Fouad & Michael Dietz, Marilyn & D. W. Edington, Lisa Letizia & Paul Floreck, Joanna & Gianfranco Frittelli, Louise & Robert Ganley, Jacqueline & Charles Giancola, Marie & Joseph Grasso, The Hardy Family, Sheila Hemami, Patty & Jim Hertz, Jean Shook & Chris Johnson, Beverly & David Jones, Ann Kilian, Jonathan Lee, The Mandana Barn (Heather & Tim Carroll), Nancy & James Marquardt, Mary Marshall, Alison Rutter & David Mayhew, Scott McClurg, Elaine & Mathew Medwid, Patricia Orr, Christine & Robert Pierce, Karen Yuhas & Kevin Riley, Pam & Ed Riley, Joanne Dusel & Scott Sayles, Kristopher Scholl, Julie Scuderi, Cynthia & Nicholas Signorelli, Helen & Keith Simonelli, Deborah & James Tifft, Mary & Paul Torris, Jean & John Vincent, Racquel & James Vlassis, Jen & Bill Warning, Jo & Bob Werner.:

Source:  Skaneateles Press



From the SLA: A grade of 92 percent

Fran Rotunno                     

If a student came home with a report card that indicated she/he had received a grade of 92% on the high school physics regents, I would imagine the parents would be very happy. Hopefully, they would also be aware that that grade came with a lot of hard work and commitment on the part of their child and maybe even take a little (rightfully deserved) credit for giving the child the foundation for the work ethic it took to get that 92%.

Those in the community who attended the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Skaneateles Lake Association were able to see a series of 6 posters with information about the SLA….including the poster on the SLA’s use of funding which showed that 92% of the funds that are received by the SLA go directly to providing the direct services and programs that we provide to meet our mission and achieve our goals. That is an incredible accomplishment!

The SLA Board of Directors works very hard and provides hours of volunteer time to achieve that 92% grade, but the Board is very aware that a large number of others help us to achieve that 92% use of funding for direct services and programs. Those people and businesses are also Stewards of the Lake and we could not achieve that 92% without them. They need to be proud of themselves and the Lake Community needs to recognize them for their role in the 92% grade the SLA has achieved.

Our 2017 Annual Meeting was a great educational and social event and a great example of how our community’s commitment to the Lake enables the SLA Board to achieve that 92% grade. It was made possible by the contributions of many in the community including: Bill and Janet Stinson for the beautiful venue and the tent; Mary Menapace who joined the Board in setting up the location; The Sherwood Inn, Johnny Angel’s, The Lake House Pub, The Blue Water Grill, Gilda’s, Doug’s Fish Fry, Oliver’s, Moro’s Kitchen, Rosalie’s, Joelle’s French Bistro, The Krebs, Skaneateles Bakery, Valentine’s, Colonial Lodge, White Birch Vineyards, Anyela’s and the Village Bottle Shop for the food and beverages; Salli Tuozzolo, Jo Werner, Dessa Bergen, Kim Driscoll and Mary Torrisi for the cookies; Deb Tifft for the cucumber water; Ann Kilian, Kathy Gorr, Deb Tifft, Carol Stokes-Cawley, Peg Kelly, Matt Delmonico, Debbie Paduda, Paul Torrisi Jr., Alex Giambartolomei, Don Plath, Steve White, Charlie McElroy, J. D. Delmonico, Patrick Delmonico, Mike Kelly, Ron Dippold, Ham Fish, Steve Mott and Joe Paduda who served the food and drink; Mary Gardner, Jo Werner, Mary Menapace, Marion Krauter, Mary Kendrick Gafney, Berverlee Akerblom, Anita Strods, Bobbie Dean and Claire Howard who registered folks as they arrived, and all those who stayed on to help clean up along with Steve White who took care of transporting the garbage. This is the kind of volunteer community commitment that it takes to get that grade of 92%. Every single one of these individuals is a member of the SLA and every single one of them is a Steward of the Lake.

The Milfoil Team has started to take up the mats that they put down earliest in the season and our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards are continuing to help those who come to launch to understand the NYS Clean, Drained and Dry Law and ensure   watercraft are free of plant and animal material before launching. The Board has ordered new signs to ensure the law is made very clear to those come to launch on Skaneateles Lake and the board is working on developing a new video that can be used on our website and other media that makes clear the importance of protecting the lake and how those who come to the lake can be a part of the protection program.

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? Join us today at or call 315-685-9106 for a Registration Form & Mailing Envelope to be sent to you.

Please thank the following members whose additional donations in 2016 funded our 2017 workplan as sponsors of an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward or contributors to the Hardy Fund which also supports our Steward Program.

Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Sponsors: Jacqueline & David Eng, Diane & Duane Wiedor, Gwen Birchenough, Karlene & William Miller, Laurie & Alan Hahl, Nancy Peck, Diane Forney & Kevin Procter, Mary Pat & Dan Suits, Lynn Bonniver, Patricia & Bill Texeira, Locust Lane Association, Donna & Raymond Kurlak, Anonymous #7.

Contributors to the Hardy Fund: Elizabeth & Joseph Wood, Lou & Mark Bitz, Anne Buehler, Nancy & Bob Schattner, JoDean & Timothy Orcutt.


Source: Skaneateles Press




From the SLA: Moving ahead on our work plan for the season

The season thus far has given us some challenges with the weather, but we are pleased to be able to report some significant progress in our workplan for the season.

John Menapace put his giant sewing machine to work to complete the assembly of the additional acre of matting that we wanted to have. As a result, the Milfoil Team has put down 6 acres of matting over the larger milfoil patches identified in the Fall 2016 survey done by Bob Werner. The Milfoil Team used a second boat to deliver mats to the sites being addressed while the “dive boat” with its team was on site doing the work of putting the mats down.

Our 2017 annual membership campaign is in full force and we are pleased to see that we have registered about 50 “new to the SLA” annual memberships. There continue to be far too many who are not SLA annual members who significantly benefit from the lake as a value base for their lakefront or lake rights property, a source of recreation or rest, an attraction for a customer base for all types of business and services and, of course a source of drinking water. We plan to continue to reach out to those people and businesses. We are very pleased that following our annual meeting a few people stepped up to take on the responsibility for reaching to specified groups of potential members. Over the past few weeks we have sent reminders to those whose memberships were due to be renewed in the first half of the year who have not yet done so. Getting them onboard as annual members for 2017 could have a significant impact on our total membership and…… membership MATTERS. It is our major source of income for all that we plan to do and the size of our membership gives credence to both governmental agencies and potential grant funding source agencies from whom we seek funding for special projects.

A group of young people under the direction of our new board member, Debbie Bobbett, wanted to make the best of their summer and they stated a small business called “Live Love Lake” committing to donate their proceeds to the SLA. You might have seen them at their tent in front of the Packwood House on Community Days. They defined the SLA as “a group of people who help clean and preserve our beautiful lake” and they ask the community to imagine what the lake would look like without the SLA. These young people, like Erica and Ken Byrne, who have worked for years to help support the SLA, set a standard for all members of the lake community to follow…get involved, join in.

Many of our members make additional donations to specifically support specific aspects of our work plan. We are slowly working towards the financial stability where we are able to put the funds we collect in the 2nd half of the year towards the funding we will need the next year. This leaves us feeling secure to make plans for the following year knowing that we will have the funds to pay contracts and buy supplies and equipment.

Please thank the following members whose additional donations in 2016 funded our 2017 workplan as sponsors or co-sponsors of the two Milfoil Workboats.


Sponsors of a Milfoil Boat for a Day: The Allyn Foundation, Paul & Karen Black, Joseph & Katherine Compagni, John Coughlin, Craig & Barbara Froelich, Holy Gregg & Patience Brewster, Lindsay Groves, Thomas & Jane Hanley, Joe & Mary Ellen Hennigan, Peter & Jane Hueber, David & Sherill Ketchum, John & Kimberly Mezzalingua, John Macallister & Laurel Moranz, John & Elizabeth McKinnell, Gardner & Lynn McLean, Richard & Alexandra Nicklas, Ted & Nancy Norman, Dan & Linda Roche, Joseph & Lynn Romano, Carl Schram & Ellen Brown, Angelo & Margaret Scopelianos, Winding Way Association, Frank Suits, Donald & Chancea Sundman, Richard & Nancie Way, The Dwight D. Winkelman Foundation, Doug Wood & Barbara Conner.


Co-sponsors of the Milfoil Boat for a Day: Eric Allyn & Margaret O’Connell, John & Dawn Altmeyer, Joseph & Deborah Augustine, Peter & Annette Becker, Eugenia Brieva, Ken & Erica Byrne, William & Deborah Delaney, Anonymouus19, Thomas Eshelman, Bob & Beth Filczkcwski, Tom & Carol Fletcher, Joseph & Mary Gaffney, Paul & Jane Garrett, William & Marybeth Gleason, David & Carla Goffe, Tim & Illlyssa Green, Greenfield Lane Association, Lorraine Gudas, Dana & Susan Hall, Douglas & Pamela Hamlin, Brian & Maureen Harkins, Kenneth & Barbara Hearst, Philip & Judy Hider, Robert & Marcia Hunt, Bruce & Linda Kenan, Richard & Mary Kokosa, Richard & Shelly Kraetz, Chris & Karen Kreidler, Chris Lett & Nancy Thomas, Gary & Mary Jane Lowery, Ross Martin & Dr. Deborah Blazey-Martin, David & Norma McCarthy, William & Cynthia McCauley, Steve Mott, Randy Cobb & Jackie Brown, Patty Orr, Dan & Lisa Riordan, Doug & Judy Robertson, Kurt & Jill Russell, John & Marion Rotondo, Russell & Linda Ruthig, Charles Ryan & Eileen Murphy, Gerard & Virginia Shanley, The Sherwood Inn, Paul & Genevieve Suits, Ben & Kathleen Tarantino, Ten Mile Point South Cottage Homeowners Association, Cynthia Dietz Tracy, Ralph & Patricia Troisi, Jaime Tuozzolo, Gary & Ann Tyndall, Leah Valenti, John & Judy Varney, Dr. Robert Vitkus, Gregory & Kelly Weaver, Lawrence & Katharine Weiss, Westside Lake Association, David & Heather Wheat, Patricia Woodcock, Eric Yopes & Amelia Kaymen.


Source: Skaneateles Press









What is the impact of all of this heavy rain on Skaneateles Lake


Bob Werner

Skaneateles Lake Association


Over the last two weeks we have suffered some seriously heavy rainfall in the Skaneateles Lake watershed. The City of Syracuse gauges at the south end of the lake recorded 5.2 inches from June 30 to July 2 and 3.54 inches from July 13 to 15. During these rainy periods the rain fell heavily during a very short period of time, reaching nearly an inch of rainfall over approximately 20 minutes in one case. With the soil already saturated water poured down every stream and creek with great force eroding the stream banks and carrying silt, nutrients and debris into the lake. In addition, to that many cliffs along the shoreline broke loose and fell into the lake carrying more soil and rock with it.


What impact is this likely to have on Skaneateles Lake?


One obvious effect is the reduction in water clarity. Just days before the first storm the Skaneateles Lake Association measured water clarity in the middle of the lake using a Secchi disc. They were able to visually follow the disc down to about 30 feet before it disappeared from sight. This measurement was repeated 2 days after the first storm (July 1-2) and the reading had dropped to under 10 feet.   Two days later it had worked its way up to 13 feet. One thing that Skaneateles Lake is known for is the clarity of its water. It is not looking very clear now.


Once the silt settles out of the water, which it will do over the next few weeks, it provides a prime habitat for milfoil growth. Deltas are formed or enlarged at the mouths of streams. The accumulating silt is a perfect environment for fragments of milfoil that have broken off to settle, put out roots and grow into an established milfoil plant.


The third major effect is the addition of significant amounts of nutrients, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen washed in from the water shed. This will certainly stimulate plant growth in the lake, particularly algae. We can expect to see more algae than we have seen over the previous few summers.


Along with the nutrients washing in off of the watershed it is likely that dissolved organic material such as tannins and humic acids will be carried into the lake. Dissolved organic matter can act as a surfactant thus facilitating the formation of foam when the surface is agitated by wind or other factors.


One complicating factor that argues for a large impact is the timing of the rainfall. It has occurred relatively early in the growing season providing ample opportunity for algae and rooted aquatic plants to take advantage and increase their seasonal growth.


Given all of this it is clear that heavy rainfall and the accompanying erosion is not good for the lake.   We are likely to see increased algal growth, more patches of milfoil developing this summer and more foam forming over the course of the summer.

Source : Skaneateles Press