By Paul Torrisi
This year, Bill and Janet Stinson were the hosts for the SLA Annual meeting at their spectacular home and barn in the highlands of Niles, with wonderful views of the lake. Plenty of delicious food and beverages donated by most of our local restaurants, stores and wineries was enjoyed by the hundreds of people enjoying the near perfect weather on a Sunday evening from 5-7PM on July 9th.
In addition to our gracious hosts, special thanks again to Fran Fish and her hard working committee of Mary Sennett, Bill Dean, Joe Grasso, Patty Orr and Deb Tifft for pulling this all together! During the gathering SLA Board members were available, along with Lake Stewards, the Dive team, and volunteer summer intern, Sam Clymer to discuss lake issues and answer questions that interested or concerned those SLA members in attendance.
The guest speaker this year was Aimee Clinkhammer who gave a brief talk on her role as the Watershed Coordinator for the newly created Finger Lakes Water Hub of the New York State DEC- a team working to bring people together to share expertise and find solutions necessary to protect our water quality on Skaneateles Lake and the entire Finger Lakes region. Aimee was well received and very informative. We look forward to continue working closely with her team!
A special feature this year was a series of posters produced by Mary Sennett, Bill Dean and Sam Clymer that were displayed and viewed by all at the gathering. They are included in this article. A few highlights to take special note of include:
On the “Expenditures” only 8% of the annual membership dues and donations to SLA go toward administrative costs. 92 % on every dollar received goes directly toward the programs to help keep the lake clear and pure because of total volunteer effort in the SLA!
Also, we’re very pleased to announce the recent award of a $27,000 grant from the Central NY Community Foundation that will enable our Lake Stewardship Program to become even more robust, expanding coverage at launch sites and creating more educational and communication programs about the potential harmful effects of invasive species in Skaneateles Lake. Thanks also to Supervisor Jim Lanning for acquiring a substantial grant from Onondaga County, allowing the Town to construct and implement a Boat Washing/Decontamination Station on town property adjacent to the Mandana Fire Station. Once up and functioning (hopefully this season) it will help supplement our Stewardship Program.
The SLA Milfoil Control Program is in its 11th year and has been very expensive with total costs approaching 2.5 million dollars! As the poster indicates “We’ll always have milfoil”, like any invasive that establishes a foothold in a lake such as ours (e.g. Zebra mussels). However, since 2012 we have been stable at 20-25 acres residual after each season’s work. An additional acre of benthic matting is being added to the current 5 acres owned by SLA and hopefully will help to knock back the annual residual even more. Bob Werner’s graph shows exponential growth starting in 2007 if the removal program had not been initiated with the number of patches reaching the “point of no return” in a few short years. What a recreational and economic impact that would have had on our CNY community, not to mention the effect on our drinking water quality!
Finally, our membership has grown to over 700 households the past few years but needs to increase so that SLA can continue to expand programs such as Lake Stewardship to prevent additional costly and potentially devastating infestation from new invasives such as hydrilla. Despite all the effort, note that the “pie chart” shows almost 68% of lakefront property owners don’t support SLA on an annual basis!!
This needs to improve. Talk up annual membership in SLA to friends and neighbors(go to SkaneatelesLake.org). Otherwise, we will not be able to sustain our efforts to keep Skaneateles Lake “clear and pure” for our children and grandchildren.
source: Skaneateles Press