Tis the Season for Annual SLA Holiday Gift Memberships!

Click HERE to learn more and consider sending a gift membership this year!

Offer for cards to be sent in mail expires on December 17, 2020

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 SLA

COVID-19 Statistics                                                 Fran Rotunno Fish

In the early Spring, amid the pandemic and the necessary public health guidelines for personal safety and prevention, the Skaneateles Lake Association Board of Directors spent some days considering the appropriateness of continuing our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program at launch sites around the lake.  The Board considered that while an important part of our mission is to protect the Skaneateles Lake from the introduction of additional invasive species, we also had to be confident that we could protect our Stewards from exposure to COVID-19 19.

Under the direction of SLA Board Member, Buzz Roberts, a careful plan that including educating our Stewards on mask and distancing requirements, providing them with those masks and hand sanitizer and having sandwich board signs posted to ask those who came to launch to protect our Stewards by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.  With that plan in place the Board determined, we could go forward with the program, but would pull back if there was any indication of a problem with the safety of our stewards who are high school and college students and adults from the watershed community and beyond.

None of us knew when we started the Stewards on Memorial Day weekend how important that decision to go forward with the program amid the pandemic would be

The pandemic and the public health guidelines for responsible behavior by our citizens made Skaneateles Lake a safe alternative to other options for getting out and about.  You know the old line, “if you build it, they will come”, but for our lake that line became “if it’s there and we can get on it, we will go there.”  Boat sales around the northeast went off the charts and people drove from more confined places in New York state and neighboring states to the NYS lakes and other bodies of water for some open space that was safe.

The statistics objectively tell the story of what happened here on Skaneateles Lake.  Our 16 Stewards under the direction of Head Steward Marty Minet inspected 9,952 watercraft that launched into Skaneateles Lake.   The number is almost double wat it was in prior years.   They also educated 21,254 boaters who came to launch regarding the NYS regulation requiring watercraft to be clean, drained and dry before launching into any NYS body of water.  But, the most important statistic was that 6.59% of the watercraft they inspected came to the launch site with organisms or debris on the watercraft or trailer.  That % in prior years has been 2 – 2.5%.  The SLA has written, spoken and shared via various media of the significant risk that new invasive species could be to Skaneateles Lake all of them with their own threats to the lake, but none more threatening than Hydrilla.  Our Stewards saved samples of the organic material from the watercraft and trailers for confirmation of type and while none were Hydrilla, there were others such as the round goby that were identified.  The increase in the % of watercraft coming to launch with organisms or debris also occurred in the 9 Finger Lakes where the Finger Lakes Institute manages Steward Programs. Overall, they had a 10% rate of watercraft coming to launch with organisms or debris on the watercraft or trailer.

The number of watercraft coming to launch into Skaneateles Lake was so increased that the SLA Steward Program had to expand its hours and days of coverage and pull Stewards who were not scheduled in on days when the DEC Launch site was so quickly filled that boaters were being sent early in the morning to the Town Boar Launch in Mandana.  Additionally, the Town of Scott launch became a very busy site.  This occurred over the early months of the season as those coming to the Skaneateles Lake from the south end of the state, Pennsylvania and beyond seemed to quickly learn that it was better to get into the Town of Scott launch site than travel further north and not be sure they could get into either the DEC or Town of Skaneateles launch sites

When the SLA Board made the decision to run the Steward Program this past summer, they were aware of two risks.  The risk for the lake water if we did not run it and the risk for our Stewards if we did run it.  Given the statistics reported above we know we made the right decision to run the Steward program this summer.  The entire SLA Board is pleased that the general public coming to launch were generally compliant with our request for social distancing to protect our Stewards and about 25% of them followed our request that they wear masks.  The Board is also very proud of our Stewards for carrying out their responsibilities during a very busy season while protecting themselves and others while doing so.  It would also appear that our Stewards were responsible to their communities at large both on and off the job as our last statistic to report is that no Steward became ill with COVID-19 19 or tested positive for it this summer.  Please join the SLA Board in saluting our Stewards, Roy Truswell. Julia Torrisi, Jim MacLachlan, James Murphy, JP Soderberg, Lili Winkelman, Robert (Bob) Deyo, Wendy MacLachlan, Meredith Wolanske, Lauren Place. Hope Cross-Jaya, Ella Callahan, Sage Crawford, Neil Minet and Brian Harkins, for a job well done and responsibly done:

You can join the Skaneateles Lake Association and help support our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program and all our efforts to keep Skaneateles Lake clear and its waters pure.  Call 315-558-3142 for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you or join on line at SkaneatelesLake.org.

We thank the following for their sponsorship of a Steward for a day:  Michele Jenkins, Judith & Steven Zdep, Margaret & William Lee, Suzanne & David Nangle, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Suzanne & Scott McClurg, Cathy & Rick Fedrizzi, Merilly & Gerhart Heyer, Virginia & Jeffrey Stannard, Casmir Bobowski, Mary & Michael Hearn, Joanne Viggiano & Kenneth Cannon, Alison & Richard Conley, Lorraine Gudas, Bob Honold, Chris & Bob Latella, Locust Lane Association, Eri Loberfeld, Sharon & Fredrick Singler, Jennifer & David Campanile, Laura & Sean O’Keefe and an Anonymous Donor.

We thank the following for support of the David Lee Hardy Fund:  Charles Major, Jeffrey Stregiel, Jennifer & David Campanile, Judy & John Varney, Judith Pearsall, Leah & Thomas Valenti.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Ann Hinchcliff, Patricia Orr, Paula White, Barbara Egtvedt, Judy & John Varney, Judy Pearsall, Leah & Thomas Valenti, Bartlett Tree Experts, Kathy & Kevin LaGrow, Rebecca Cohen & Brandan McGinn, Pam & Mike Odlum, Kate & Mott Pooley and an Anonymous Donor.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 12/10/2020

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 SkaneatelesLake.org, 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