Site photography courtesy of Matt Champlin

Click HERE to view recording of SLA’s Inaugural Virtual 2020 Annual Meeting held on August 25th at 7 PM

Video includes SLA showcasing the past year in review and future plans in store for the protection of Skaneateles Lake.

Topics included – Harmful Algal Blooms, Eurasian Watermilfoil Management, Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention, Research Efforts,  Skaneateles Lake Watershed Improvement Projects, Legacy Fund, Membership Opportunities, Financial Reports, Community Engagement via Q&A session, and much more.

Click HERE to Learn More and Take the Lake Friendly Land Care Pledge Today!

LEGACY FUND: Fighting Harmful Algal Blooms together

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Fall Stewardship                                                              Fran Rotunno Fish

The season for our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards working to protect Skaneateles Lake from the introduction of additional invasive species and educating those who launch into the lake about what they need to do to protect the lake is over.  But the Fall season brings on a need for fall stewardship for Skaneateles Lake by everyone who lives in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed.

Being a fall steward of the lake may be different for watershed residents depending upon where they live, but there are things each of us can do in our fall stewardship of the Skaneateles Lake.

Beautiful as the fall leaves are and much as we might love watching the color change (or if you are still young or young at heart, jumping into piles of them) we need to contend with them in a way that protects the lake water.   Do not rake or blow them into the lake.  Do not rake or blow them into a tributary/watercourse that runs to the lake.  Do not rake or blow them into a roadside ditch that leads to the lake.  If you live in the village of Skaneateles where there is leaf pick up do not rake or blow them so close to the curb that they will end up in the street where they can then end up in the storm sewers that drain into the lake.  Leaves are great sources of phosphorus and, of course, we do not want to feed nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms into the lake.  What you can do is mulch or have your landscaper mulch them very well and leave them on the lawn.  You can also gather them into your driveway and mulch them very well which will reduce their volume significantly and turn them into a great source of “winter coats” for your plants.  Those finely mulched leaves will both protect your plantings and feed them – no chemicals involved!  Of course, there is always the option of putting them into a contained area for composting or bagging them and bringing them to your municipal facility.  There is generally no need to winter fertilize your lawn…if you or your landscaper want to do so, please reconsider and confirm that it is necessary.

There is still time to plant native perennials, shrubs and trees.  Remember that a full-grown deciduous tree can filter up to 300 gallons of water a year and a full-grown evergreen tree can filter thousands of gallons of water a year.  Being a fall steward of the lake is considering giving the lake some gifts of greenery and color that help to control erosion and water runoff.

The Skaneateles Lake Association has several documents and resources available to you electronically or in paper copy that can help you make decisions about plantings that are good for the lake.  Just go to, click on the “contact us” tab and give us you name and number and we will call you promptly with resources that will be helpful.

For those of you who live on the waterfront, please move all of your equipment, furniture, “toys”, etc. as far away from the waterfront as you can.  Waves and winds are skilled waterfront thieves.  Even this summer a few wave, wind and rain events have “stolen” kayaks, sailboats, a section of a dock with railings and ladder attached, life jackets, a lawn chair and a deck board from a boat hoist.  While these things are a loss to the owner, such items out in the lake over the winter do not disappear and cam harm to people’s property and become a hazard to winter fisherman or boaters and swimmers when the lake “reopens” for business in the spring and summer.  It was difficult or impossible to find the owners of items “stolen” by the lake, reported to the SLA and placed on the SLA Lost and Found list on our website.  If you have items that you cannot, because of the terrain, move sufficiently distant from the shoreline, please secure them with tie downs and note you phone number or email on the item to facilitate their return.

If you have a mooring, remove your mooring buoy and attach a plastic bottle partially filled water sufficient to keep the bottle2 – 3 feet below the surface.  Leaving it above the water puts it at risk to ice which can pull the bottle off your mooring chain and leave your chain at the bottom of the lake and not easy to find or get to in the spring.  The ice can also pull the bottle and chain with mooring attached and move the position of the mooring to a “new” location.   It is also a good idea to be sure that your mooring chain is securely attached to the mooring itself.  This summer we had both a sailboat and a pontoon boat break away from their moorings.  The pontoon boat dragging its mooring buoy headed north on the lake with a potential for damaging other boats and docks on its way and the sailboat was grounded and damaged in a shallow area of the lake.

If you have a permanent dock check it is secured well to its footings and also check that the dock skirting, if any is also secure.  Again, more than once significant pieces of docking and skirting end up in the lake making them potentially dangerous to others and potentially damaging to the property of others.

Finally, you can be a STAR fall steward of Skaneateles Lake by jumping in and joining as an SLA member for 2020 TODAY.  Your membership will be effective for one full year from the date paid.  During the 4th quarter of each year, the SLA Board determines what funding it has for next year’s workplan.  Your 2020 membership paid now will have an impact on our plans.

We thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward:  Gwen Birchenough, Barbara & Richard Evans, Dorothy Krause.  We thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which also supports our Steward program:  Mary Beth & William Gleason and two anonymous donors.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a them potentially day or more:  Jessica & Toby Millman, Mary Beth & William Gleason, Kris Tech Wire Company.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Amy & David Allyn, Chacea & Donald Sundman, Jackie & Steve Miron, Barbara & Craig Froelich, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Nancy & Douglas McDowell, Kris Tech Wire Company, Pam & Doug Hamlin, Gary Dower, Donna & William Davis, Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough, Ann & Jim Higbee, Virginai & Gary  Shanley, Nancy & Ted Norman, Lynn & Chris Kelly, Christine Larsen & Vincent Dopulos, Candace & John Marsellus, Elmer Richards & Sons, Susan & Curt Andersson, Marjorie & Kenneth Blanchard, Alexandra & Robert Nicklas and four anonymous donors.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 10/29/2020

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Ongoing Milfoil Containment Project    Buzz Roberts & Fran Rotunno Fish

Many in our Skaneateles Lake community probably think that our Milfoil Containment Program begins in the late spring or early summer.  But actually, each year, the SLA program to contain the invasive weed, Eurasian Milfoil, begins in the fall.

During late August and early September, when weed growth is the highest, a pontoon boat specially equipped is utilized to survey the lake for large patches of milfoil in order to identify potential areas to be matted the following year. A side scan sonar is employed to identify the patches. Confirmation that these are truly milfoil is done with visual assessment and recorded by site location.  The sonar data and sit location data is then downloaded and sent to a company that analyses the information and a map of the areas identified is created.

The map of Skaneateles Lake with identified milfoil patches is then reviewed to determine the largest patches and also to determine which of those large patch areas can be matted.  While we always want to mat the largest patches as they are the largest source for further milfoil growth there are two other factors that weigh into the decision about what areas to mat.  The condition of the lake bottom has to be considered in determining if a potential area can be matted.  If the lake bottom has a deep layer of silt, we cannot mat the area.  It is not possible because our divers cannot work safely if they cannot see.  In areas where the lake bottom has deep silt, a dive’s foot placed on the bottom of the lake raises the silt with every step taken and they cannot see to safely do the work required to roll out the mats.  The process is not like the one you see on TV for new Empire carpeting where the cartoon character just flips the new carpet over the floor!  The second consideration that is part of the “where to place the matting” decision has to do with the slope of the lake bottom.  If the milfoil patch is located in an area of the lake where there is a significant slope to the bottom of the lake, the matting cannot be placed.  Even with rebar sewn into the mats every 6 feet, on a slope the mats can slip and move.  Not only will they not stay where placed, but they can also move enough to end up covering residents’ water intake pipes causing a problem with their water source and potentially damage to their water pumps.

After the areas to be matted are identified, the Milfoil Control effort moves into action in the spring of the following year.  Scuba divers are recruited and the 2 pontoon boats used and their motors are prepped for the season. By June the benthic (lake bottom) matting begins. With over 225 separate sections of matting making up the total 6 acres of matting, the Milfoil team selects the number and size of mats they need for each area to be matted and moves them by pontoon boat to each area to be matted.  The scuba divers roll out sections of the matts over designated Milfoil sites. These heavy matts have rebar metal rods sawn across them in sleeves placed at 6-foot intervals. The divers work in teams of four with 2 divers at a time in the lake, one pilot on the boat, and another one on the boat directing the operation, and in constant communication through headsets with the divers under the water.

Starting in August, the matts are rolled up with first down being rolled up first.   The team moves from site to site until all the mats are rolled up.  Then the work of picking up the rolled-up mats begins using a pontoon boat specially outfitted with a crane to lift the heavy mats onto the deck of the pontoon boat.  The mats are heavy when dry and, of course, heavier when wet.  Depending on the size of the mats they pick up mats until the pontoon boat is loaded and then the boat returns to the marina where the matts are lifted by crane to a truck and transported for winter storage.

Although complete eradication of Milfoil is not possible, this program prevents the takeover of Skaneateles Lake by this invasive macrophyte, which, left unchecked, would eventually cover a large surface area of the lake.:

We repeat the process every year and can expect to have to continue to do so to continue to contain expansion of the milfoil.  If you are out on the lake and see the milfoil team at work, give them a wave.  If you see the “diver down” marker, give them space.  The work the team does means they are cold even in their wet suits in the spring and hot in their wet suits as the summer progresses.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  Sarah & Kevin Goode, Margaret O’Connell & Eric Allyn, Patience Brewster & Holly Gregg, John Osborne, Jessica & Patrick Daniel, Johanna & Gianfranco Frittelli, Lakeview Auto and Marine (Bob, Terry and Rachael DeWitt), Laurel Moranz & John Macallister, Victoria & Richard Meyer and an Anonymous Donor.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Patricia & William McAvoy, Deborah & Joseph Augustine, Eleanor & Ben Ware, Wendy Blewett, Robert, Congel, Joan & Michael Niswender, The Coppo Family, Nancy & Guy Easter, Julie & Joe Scuderi, Beth & Bob Filiczkowski, Elizabeth Downes & Patrick Doyle, Patience Brewster & Holly Gregg, Linda & Bruce Kenan, Mary Knepper & Susan Mark, Ann & William Lynn, Steve Mott, Lauren Moranz & John Macallister, Mary Pat & Dan Suits, Joseph McCaffrey, Kelly & Gregory Weaver, Barbara Kay & George Bristol, Lakeview Auto and Marine (Bob, Terry and Rachael DeWitt), Peg Kelly, Mary Jane & Gary Lowery, Nicole Way Allyn, Donna & Raymond Kurlak,

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 10/8/2020