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News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

The Beautiful Lake and Quality of the Water ….the tagline for many, many rentals.       Fran Rotunno Fish

We have started to get a variety of inquiries on our “contact us” tab on our website, Some are from those who want to tell us about weed location that they think is milfoil or have concerns about something someone has done on lakefront property that “is not good” for the lake. Early in the spring we get inquiries from young people looking for employment as Lake Stewards. Some of the inquiries are quite unique including one from a young woman whose grandmother was listing her property for sale and wanted to know if the SLA could provide confirmation that the property included lake rights. We follow up on all the inquiries including in one case finding a job for a young man for whom we had no Steward position, but we did know landscaper who needed help. But, the most telling inquiry came to us recently from a woman who had rented a place for a week on the lake and contacted the SLA via the website to find out if it was safe for her children to swim in the water…did we have blue-green algae?

That inquiry prompted me to do some research on the various Skaneateles vacation rental sites on line. I knew there were many, but I was a bit surprised to find out how many. I reviewed many of them and was not surprised to note that each included the fact that the property was on or near “beautiful Skaneateles Lake” or the ad spoke to property being on or near the “clear beautiful water of Skaneateles Lake”. I recognized some of the properties and know they are beautiful, but certainly from the photos I could see they all had a certain charm and all of them sold “Skaneateles Lake” as part of what the experience of renting the property would include. I was pleased to recognize that a few of the properties are owned by those who are annual members of the Skaneateles Lake Association, but certainly not all of them.

It seems that if a property owner recognizes and advertises beautiful Skaneateles Lake and its clear water as a major amenity of a property, that that every one of those owners would see being an annual member of the SLA as a small cost of doing business.

As the Board of Directors of the SLA begins to develop our work plan for next year (matting and hand harvesting milfoil and maintaining Stewards at the major launch sites) that planning is done in consideration of the monies we have to fund the work plan. We look to all who live on the lake or have lake rights; all who generate income from property because of the amenity of lake frontage, lake access or just being in the lake community; all who use the lake for recreation; all whose businesses thrive because people come to this lake community to live, rent or just visit for the day; and all who love the lake to be annual members of the Skaneateles Lake Association. You can join the SLA at or by calling 315-685-9106 and asking for a member registration form to be mailed to you.

Please thank the following persons whose additional donations have supported the Milfoil Boat: 8/22 Marie and Joseph Grasso, Anna Marie and Carl Gerst, Ann Hinchcliff, Julie & Joe Scuderi; 8/23 Elsa & Peter Soderberg; 8/24 Deborah & Gary Hind; 8/25 Margaret Tourville, Debra Hurley & Ira Goldberg; 8/26 Kimball & James Kraus; 8/29 Cookie & Jack Helmer, Helen & Keith Simonelli; 8/30 Julie and James Moore; 8/31 Anonymous, Shadowlawn Lake Corporation, Patricia & David Stone; Mary Marshall; 9/1 Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough; 9/2 Salli & Jim Tuozzolo; 9/6 Maggie & Ed Dienst; 9/7 Barbara & Myron Egtvedt, Deborah & Marty Hubbard, Jill & Todd Marshall, Norma & David McCarthy; 9/8 Jerry Gebo & Bill Rosenthal; 9/9 Carol & Alex Protasiewicz, Barbara Benedict & Duncan Wormer, Elet & John Callahan, Mandana Barn (Heather & Tim Carroll.

Source: Skaneateles Press



News from the SLA: There are some limits

Fran Rotunno Fish

Last week while Bob Werner was surveying the lake for areas of milfoil which could be included in the matting done next year, he and SLA Board Member, Bill Dean, had the opportunity to talk with a number of people who live on the lake. We received much positive feedback during those conversations in regard to the work we have done and the progress we have made in controlling the presence of milfoil. However, we do know that there are areas where the milfoil removal and control process has not been able to be carried out as successfully. Two of our board members recently spoke with a couple on the south end of the lake who stated that they had been members of the SLA early on, but not recently, because they thought the SLA had forgotten the south end of the lake. Because the SLA board is sensitive to the concerns of the entire lake community, it takes this opportunity to explain the limits of what we can do.

Everyone needs to know that our efforts to remove and control milfoil growth are done with sanction/permission of specific governmental organizations. The sanctions/permission we have is only for efforts related to Eurasian Milfoil and no other vegetation. While originally our work was done with permission from the DEC, more recently the NY State Office of General Services, who have jurisdiction over the bottom of the lake from the low water mark to the bottom of the lake, is coming into the picture.

The matting of milfoil that is done each year is first of all limited by the amount of matting we have, which is 5 acres and the time we have to put it down given the seasonal weather (winds/storms), water temperature, the size of the team and number of boats and equipment we can put to work each year. For the past few years, with the funds we raise from member dues and small government contributions, our work plan and manpower is one team of divers working with the 3 types of boats equipped to do the various work. The amount of hand harvesting we can do in a year is limited by the time it takes to get the 5 acres of mats into place. That time is very much dependent on weather and water conditions.

There are other conditions that control the areas where we can put down mats. Areas where the lake bottom is very rocky are very difficult to mat as the divers cannot get the mats down flat enough to do the job of “killing” the milfoil. Areas where the bottom is very sloped are also difficult to mat, again because of the inability to get the matting secured in its position against the lake bottom. Finally, areas that are very “silty” are either impossible or difficult to mat as the divers’ vision is compromised the first time they put a foot on the bottom of the lake due to the silt clouding the water and impairing the view needed to safely continue to work. Another important principle we follow in our work plan is to focus on the largest patches, regardless of location, as they have the greatest potential for propagating more milfoil.

Unfortunately, the south end of the lake has many areas where both matting and hand harvesting very difficult to do because of the topography of the lake bottom or the amount of silt on the lake bottom.   So it may of concern to some that we are not directing as much specific action on the south end of the lake or are not directing it to an area of significant milfoil growth in the south end of the lake.   However, it must be noted that any milfoil growth control and removal anywhere in the lake is of benefit to the entire lake as all milfoil is a potential propagator of more milfoil.

We hope that these explanations will make it clear that our lake wide efforts benefit all of the lake community. We look to all with a vested interest in the lake to be annual members of the SLA, providing input in guiding our future work and financial support via the annual SLA member registration fee.

It has come to our attention that there may be individuals who are dealing with milfoil and, perhaps, other lake weeds with their own method of “harvesting.” This involves using a boat to drag an old spring mattress on the lake bottom to pull weeds out. Unfortunately, this method has a very poor outcome. First of all it creates thousands of fragments of milfoil which can send out roots and implant wherever it lands on the lake bottom and second of all, depending upon wind direction, it leaves a collection of milfoil on someone else’s shoreline to deal with.

You can join the SLA at or by calling 315-685-9106 and asking for a member registration form to be mailed to you.

Please thank the following persons whose additional donations have supported the Milfoil Boat: 8/5/16 David Graham, 8/8/16 & 8/9/16 Carrie Lazarus and David Birchenough, 8/10/16 The Bryce Family Foundation; 8/11/16 Christine & James Hueber, Steve Mott, Randy Cobb & Jackie Brown, Linda & Russell Ruthig, Joyce & Robin Jowasis, 8/12/16 Jill & Kurt Rosell, 8/15/16 Jackie & Steve Miron, 8/16/16 & 8/17/16 Deborah & Edward Brennan, 8/18/16 Lorraine Rapp & Jeffrey Kirshner, Lynne Bales & John Priest, Jennifer Sutherland, Lynne & Dave Curtin, 8/19/16 Kathy and Paul Leone

Please thank the following persons whose additional donations have supported the Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards: 7/13/16 the Kelly Family, 8/14/16-8/19/16 Gretchen & Buzz Roberts

Source: Skaneateles Press



The Work and Planning is Ongoing

Fran Rotunno Fish

The Skaneateles Lake Association Milfoil Crew has completed the component of the 2016 season plan that involves laying down 5 acres of matting on large, defined milfoil patches. The areas that were matted this year were defined by a survey of the lake done by Bob Werner last year during the late summer and early fall. While the boat Bob uses to do the survey is equipped with a camera and instrumentation that facilitates the survey, he also checks areas of concern that have been brought to our attention by good neighbors to the lake who keep their “eyes on the lake.” In between the time the mats have all been put down and the time they can begin to be rolled up (approximately 8 weeks), the Milfoil Team does hand weeding in areas around the mats and other areas of the lake where the lake bottom does not facilitate the use of matting. There are areas on both the southwest and east side of the lake that are being hand harvested this year. About 8 weeks after the first mats were put down the Milfoil Team begins to roll them up in the order they were put down so that each area is matted for approximately 8 week. After the mats are all rolled up the team goes back to each site and picks up the rolled mats using the pontoon boat that specifically equipped for lifting the wet, very heavy rolled mats.

Right now Bob Werner is surveying the lake to identify large areas of milfoil that should be matted next year….the work of controlling milfoil is continuous and so is the work for planning that control. Later this summer and in the fall and winter, the SLA Board of Directors will be meeting to plan what the milfoil control work plan will be next summer given our financial status. The Board will also be discussing the ongoing efforts and need for new efforts to get more and more people who benefit from this lake to be members of the SLA. It is predominately the ANNUAL membership dues that drive the scope of our work plan. In the past we have repeatedly reached out to all lakefront owners and owners with lake rights. We are pleased to have increasing support from those who just love the lake and value the quality of the lake water as a source of drinking water. However, we know that far too many are not and have never been members of the SLA despite the fact that they benefit from the lake as lake front/lake rights owners, regular recreational users of the lake or businesses which thrive because this beautiful lake is an incredible source of customers both for what they sell and what services they provide


You can join the Skaneateles Lake Association and become our mission by going to to complete your registration and pay your annual dues or you can use the form in our recently mailed newsletter. If you would like a registration form mailed to you please call 315-685-9106 and leave a message with your name and mailing address.

The SLA thanks the following individuals and organizations for their additional donations in support of the Milfoil Boat and the Lake Stewards:

Milfoil Boat Sponsors: 6/27/16 Sidney Devorsetz; 6/28 & 6/29/16 Beecher Graham & Jonathan Brodock; 6/30/16 Ann 7 Gary dower, Margaret Bersani, Ann & David Lee, Patricia & William McAvoy; 7/1/16 & 7/5/16 – 7/8/16 & 7/11 -7/12/16 The Kaufman Foundation; 7/13/16 Sharon & Steve Songer, Eleanor & Ben Ware, Maureen & Joseph Wilson, Robert Scheer; 7/14/16 Johanna 7 Gianfranco Frittelli; 7/15/16 Nancy Douglas, Barbara & Jed Delmonico; 7/18/16 Deborah & Richard Hole, Deborah & James Tifft, Joan Christy & Tom Bersani, Noreen & Michael Falcone; 7/19/16 Candace & John Marsellus; 7/20/16 Jason Slottje; 7/21/16 Janet & William Davis; 7/27/16 Louisa & John Cohlan; 7/25/16 Donna & William Davis; 7/26/16 Hobbitt Hollow Farm, Alice & Ned Houser, Ursula & David Hutton, Lynn Lenihan; 7/27/16 Lake Farms LLC, Carol Krumhansl & Jeff Roberts, Lisa and Michael Wetzel, Carolyn Kay & Donald Babcock; 7/28/16 Amy & Christopher Neumann; 7/29/16 Rochelle & Mac Cummings; 8/2/16 Libby & Arnie Rubenstein; 8/2/16 Marjorie & Kenneth Blanchard; 8/3/16 Christine Larson & Vincent Dupolis; 8/4/16 Lynn Cleary & David Duggan.

Steward Sponsors: 6/21 Barbara & William Dean; 6/22 Mary Socci & Peter White; 6/23/16 Finger Lakes on Tap; 6/24/16 Christine & Robert Pierce; 6/25 & 26/16 Taci & Roland Anderson; 6/27/16 Mary & Paul Torrisi; 6/28/16 Paula & Edward Conan; 6/29/16 Jacqueline & Charles Giancola; 6/30/16 Patty & Marvin Langley; 7/1/16 Jean & John Vincent; 7/2/16 Robert Parsons; 7/3/16 Ann Kilian; 7/4/16 Kathyrn & Robert Flagliarone; 7/5/16 Suzzane & David Nagle; 7/6/16 Sharon & John Paddock; 7/8 – 7/12/12 Contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund from Sandra Attleson, The Hardy SFamily, Margaret Sennett, Mary and Frank Szczech, Deborah and Jim Tifft, Marianne Lont, Nancy Murray, Patricia Orr, Mary Sennett & Robert Leiss, Mary & Paul Torrisi, Barbara & Robert Amsler

Source:  Skaneateles Press

Annual Meeting, fun and informative

Fran Rotunno Fish

Annual Meeting Attendees Gather for Speakers

                                               Annual Meeting Attendees Gather for Speakers

The few short rainfalls came to an end, the sky opened up with the sun and over 200 members of the Skaneateles Lake Association gathered on the waterfront at the home of Elsa and Peter Soderberg on Sunday, July 10th for the SLA’s third annual meeting. Full time residents, summer residents and week-enders, new residents, newish residents and legacy families gathered with one common thread…a love of Skaneateles Lake and a willingness to be a part of and support protecting it.

Those who attended enjoyed the long, south view down the lake, as well as, a wide variety of treats from many of the Skaneateles restaurants and food vendors. A wide selection of appetizers from the Sherwood Inn, Roasted Brussel Sprouts from Gilda’s, hot roast beef sandwiches from the Lake Side Pub, Johnny Angel’s heavenly burgers, Doug’s famous cole slaw, meatballs from Moro’s Kitchen, stuffed mushrooms from Rosalie’s Cucina, sushi from the Blue Water Grill, fried green tomatoes from the Mandana Inn, Antipasto Skewers from Joelle’s French Bistro, pizza from Valentine’s and juicy, sweet fruit from TOPS were all donated by owners who recognize that beautiful Skaneateles Lake is a foundation for drawing customers. Other refreshments, both food and drink, were donated by members of the SLA Board of Directors.

All who attended had the opportunity to share their stories of the lake and their love of the lake and there was lots of just “catching up” with old friends and meeting new people.

The formal part of the meeting was informative on all the issues with which the Skaneateles Lake Association has long been involved, as well as, a new issue not know to as many of those attending. Bob Werner gave an update on milfoil removal, matting and overall status emphasizing the progress that has been made, as well as, the reality of it being something that will continue to take effort to control. Bill Dean spoke on the type of algae found in the lake from spring to fall and also on foam and its relationship to biological activity in the lake. Buzz Roberts gave a report on the efforts of the Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards and the SLA’s expanded coverage of the most active launch sites around the lake. Fran Fish reported on the status of our membership whose annual dues are the major component of our funding. She noted that the current membership, those who have joined in the last 12 months, is 729 and that over 250 of those had made donations beyond the annual dues. She noted that the donations that exceed annual dues keep the SLA financially stable as they “cover” the hundreds of lakefront and lake rights owners who are not and have never been SLA donors. She challenged all present to reach out to their friends and neighbors who were not members and encourage them to join.

Our county legislator, Mike Plochocki, was present and spoke about the extreme importance of Skaneateles Lake to tourism. Last year Mr. Plochocki presented the SLA with a check that was used to purchase a replacement motor for one of the milfoil boats. As a result Skaneateles Town Supervisor Jim Lanning’s efforts, the SLA was pleased to receive a check for $7000 from Mr. Plochocki that will be used to cover the cost of the enhanced Invasive Species Monitoring Steward coverage. Following presentation of the check Supervisor Lanning outlined the efforts that the Town was funding to monitor Shotwell Creek and the possibility of building a retention basins to reduce sediment flow into the lake.

Featured speaker, Robert Duckett, local forester, arborist and naturalist and lover of our lake and Caroline Marschner, an Extension Associate for Invasive Species with the New York Hemlock Initiative of Cornell University spoke on the threat of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid to the water of Skaneateles Lake.  They noted the importance of the Hemlocks, so common in the Finger Lakes, for filtering water and preventing erosion of steep slopes. They also noted that the Hemlocks provide shade for temperature sensitive tributaries. Duckett and Marschner described the monitoring efforts that are a part of the Hemlock Initiative and both the insecticidal and biological controls being used and the considerations to be taken in their use. All who attended came away with an understanding that this infestation has real implications for our lake and that owners of woodlots in a region of known infestation need to start planning to manage this pest.

The Skaneateles Lake Association 2016 Annual Meeting could not have occurred without the gracious hospitality of Elsa and Peter Soderberg. We also thank our members Don Plath, Jason Slottje, Joan Thomsen, Steve White, Janet Dippold, Elaine DuBois, Patty Orr, Kathy Gorr, Ann Killian, Matt Delmonico, Peg Kelly, Mike Kelly, Salli Tuozzolo, Mary Menapace, Jo Werner, Patty Weisse, Larry Weiss and Kati Weiss for their assistance. We could not have done it without them.

Source:  Skaneateles Press

A Good Neighbor to the Lake

Fran Rotunno Fish

Hopefully, most of our readers are fortunate enough to have a good neighbor. The person who watches over your property if you are away, waters your plants, brings chicken soup when you are sick and knows how to jump start your car. You may even be lucky enough to have one who sends his/her teenager over to shovel your walkway.

The mission of the Skaneateles Lake Association is to promote environmentally and aesthetically sound regional management of Skaneateles Lake and its watershed. The simple way of saying that is that it that our mission to be a good neighbor to our lake. As an association we do that with programs whose goal is to maintain the lake’s ecology for those who drink the water, those who fish, those who swim, those who enjoy recreational boating and those who simply enjoy the view of our beautiful lake. We also do it by keeping our eyes on the lake and ears to the ground for other potential threats to the lake ecology.

We accomplish our mission predominately with the funding from our annual member registrations and there is no way that we can do what we do without them. We also accomplish our mission by education of the public regarding the actual and potential threats to our lake ecology. The articles in this newspaper and our recently distributed newsletter are out there to ensure that all of us who love the lake stay vigilant.

While the Skaneateles Lake Association aims to be a good neighbor to the lake, we have found more and more that our programs and educational articles are promoting individual good neighbors to the lake, as well. On our website we have a tab entitled “contact us” and it is getting more and more use over the past year. Good neighbors to the lake alert us to concerns about milfoil patches, dead fish along the shoreline, “scum” in the inlet in the village, collections of loose weeds on the shoreline and, of course foam and algae. We follow up on each of them – some of them turn out to be harmless and some of issues that require our focus. These good neighbors, who have eyes on the lake, are important part of our effort to meet our mission and we thank each of them for their vigilance.

Please join us in being a good neighbor to the lake first by joining the Skaneateles Lake Association each year and second by keeping eyes on the lake.   Use the “contact us” tab on our website if you see anything of concern. It is a LONG LAKE and we need eyes on the whole length of the lake.

You can join the Skaneateles Lake Association and become our mission by going to to complete your registration and pay your annual dues or you can use the form in our recently mailed newsletter. If you would like a registration form mailed to you please call 315-685-9106 and leave a message with your name and mailing address.

The SLA thanks the following individuals and organizations for their additional donations in support of the Milfoil Boat and the Lake Stewards:

Milfoil Boat Sponsors: 6/6 Margaret & Angelo Scopelianos; 6/9 Barbara Conner: 6/10 Katherine & Ben Tarentino, Beth & Bob Filiczkowski, Beth & David Dobrzynski, John Osborne; 6/11 Linda & Bruce Kenan, Ellen Brown & Carl Schramm: 6/12 & 6/13 Ellen Brown & Carl Schramm; 6/16 Susan & Curt Andersson; 6/17 Chancea & Donald Sundman; 6/20 Frank Suits; 6/21 Lynn & Gardner McLean; 6/22 Patience Brewster & Holly Gregg; 6/23 Mary & James Fox; 6/24 Jonathan Lee, Erica & Ken Byrne, Alexandra & Richard Nicklas.

Steward Sponsors: 5/27 Mary & Paul Torissi, 5/28 Jacqueline & David Eng, 5/29 Carol and Douglas Low, 5/30 Susan & Douglas Jakes, 5/31 Caroline & Jim Scully, 6/1 Joseph & Jane Kite, 6/2 Lynn Bonniver, 6/3 – 6/5 Rob Kiltz, 6/6 Patricia & Steve Fore, 6/7 Carol & Tom Fletcher, 6/8 – 6/9 Marybeth & William Gleason, 6/10 – 6/11 Mary Marshall, 6/12 Mary & Paul Torrisi, 6/13 Beverly & Dave Jones, 6/14 Kate & Mott Pooley, 6/15 Barbara & Richard Evans, 6/16 Tacie & Roland Anderson, 6/17 Lisa Letizia & Paul Florek, 6/18 Martha & William Cole; 6/19 Allison & Andrew Hider; 6/20 Peg & Mike Kelly

Source:  Skaneateles Press

Potentially Harmful Algal Blooms

Submitted by Paul Torrisi, M.D.

Recently a few of us from the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) attended the regional meeting of all 11 Finger Lakes at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.

In addition to learning that we’re the only lake with an established lake wide Eurasian Milfoil Control Program paid for with annual dues and donations to SLA, it was clear that individual residents on other lakes are “on their own” paying substantial sums for annual cleanup on their own waterfronts! This is obviously a “helter skelter” situation with no long term benefit to their lakes, despite some representatives boasting larger dues paying memberships than SLA! Ours exceeded 700 in 2015, due to Fran Fish’s tremendous effort as Membership Chair – still only a MINORITY of those who live on the lake and in the watershed!!

We also have the most comprehensive and established Invasive Species Stewardship Program, under Dr. Buzz Robert’s direction. In fact, our Lake Steward Program serves as a regional model, and helped The Finger Lakes Institute secure over $500,000 from the DEC recently. This grant will be used to set up similar programs aimed at Invasive Species control and educating boaters on neighboring lakes, benefiting the entire region. This will ultimately help protect Skaneateles Lake by decreasing the transmission of invasive species to our lake!

Now to the subject at hand, i.e., potentially harmful algal blooms. We were also surprised to learn at this meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance (FLRWA) that Skaneateles Lake was one of the only lakes that, to date, has not reported any toxic blue-green algae blooms! These are actually caused by a type of bacteria known as cyanobacteria which can thrive and grow in more nutrient rich waters. They usually appear as various shades of blue-green, looking like pea soup or even spilled paint, thus the name. These blooms of cyanobacteria can occur any time of year, but most often during the warmer summer months. Some types produce toxins that can be very dangerous to both humans and animals.

Potential health effects range from skin rashes, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal symptoms to liver damage, seizures and neurological impairment! If one sees such a bloom it should be reported to the county health department immediately, and assumed potentially toxic, avoiding direct contact.

Our neighbor, Owasco Lake, reported over 15 confirmed cyanobacteria blooms in 2015, leading to water use restrictions or even beach closures!

This is a potentially dangerously harmful situation that we would like to avoid, if possible. Please add your name annually to SLA’s list of dues paying members to help keep our waters clear and pure! Go to the website at or mail dues/donations to SLA, PO Box 862, Skaneateles, and NY13152.

Source: Skaneateles Press