Header image photography courtesy of Matt Champlin


SLA 2023 Annual Meeting Registration

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Vol. 5 – Issue No. 5 – May 25, 2023  – Welcome to the Skaneateles Lake Association’s (SLA) monthly e-newsletter distributed the last Thursday of each month.

Clear Lake. Pure Water. promotes watershed wide protection of Skaneateles Lake by sharing news on SLA’s and community partner work around the watershed along with tips and takeaways on how we can all play a part in lake protection through Lake Friendly Living efforts.

Dear Friends of Skaneateles Lake-

Wishing you all a very happy May. The month kicked off with an informative visit to the New York State Federation of Lake Association’s Annual Conference in Lake George, NY.

Photo: Scott Kishbaugh, (retired) Chief – Lake Monitoring and Assessment Section at NYSDEC Division of Water, presents on measuring impact of invasive plants at NYSFOLA Conference – also pictured SLA’s Milfoil Monster showcased in Scott’s presentation. 
As I enjoyed the mountain lake views of Lake George, I realized how extraordinary Skaneateles Lake is as we are able to maintain a “Clear Lake with Pure Water” despite all the pressures of nutrients from development activity, farming, septic, pet waste, and other sources carried in runoff.

With less regulatory protection provided from policies of the Adirondack Park Agency and the Lake George Park Commission, it is remarkable the efforts our community takes on to care for this lake, but the threats are still there and we must continue to rise to the occasion and ensure we as a community and organization capitalize on every opportunity to be stewards for a gem of a lake called Skaneateles.

It is imperative as New York State provides funding throught the Environmental Protection Fund and the Environmental Bond Act, that we look to seek support for Skaneateles. SLA is dedicated to that action and we are gad to be working with leaders to help do so as well.

We are pleased to announce that we are launching a limited pilot matching grant program to incentivize improvements to shared private road drainage to help reduce sediment from entering the lake. More details below.

Thank you for all you do to support our mission in protection. We have great aspirations and plans we wish to share at our upcoming Annual Meeting at Lourdes Camp on June 30th from 4-7 PM. Please join us in-person this year!

In this issue, please find the following:

  • SLA 2023 Annual Meeting Invitation- June 30th at Lourdes Camp – 4-7 PM – Program at 5:30 PM
  • SLA Announces Shared Private Road Drainage Improvement Matching Grants
  • National Boat Safety Week – Watercraft Stewards fighting Invasives – Milfoil Control Boats out
  • Upcoming Event – CCE Shorelines Matter Series – Keeping Up with the Joneses – How Neighbors Influence Shoreline Type – June 21st Online at 7 PM.
  • and news to be on the lookout for:
    • Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes Awareness Month Recap Celebration
  • Latest on the Lake Levels

Please Enjoy!

SLA Announces Shared Private Road Drainage Improvement Fund
The Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) is pleased to announce a matching grant program for residents who share with neighbors a privately owned access road that has drainage problems resulting in sediment erosion reaching the lake.The total 2023 program budget, provided by SLA’s Legacy Fund is $50,000. It will be dispersed in up to $10,000 max awards to help solve or substantially reduce drainage issues associated with shared access roads.

Many thanks to all the Legacy Fund Supporters and Dr. Dana Hall, Mark Schwab, Dr. Neil Murphy, Dr. Paul Torrisi, and Tim Johnson of Anchor QEA Engineers for their expertise and efforts in initiating and developing this program. 



Photo: example of a hydroseed planting project to reduce soil erosion on a shared private road. Local HOA perfomed improvements while Onondaga Soil & Water Conservation District and SLA split costs on revegetation. SLA Shared Private Road Drainage Improvemnet Fund establishment is designed to foster additional impactful nutrient reduction projects to help protect Skaneateles Lake.
Photo:  Watercraft Stewards Jay Smith and Marty Minet checking boats for Invasive Species at NYSDEC Launch

Many thanks to our hard working boat launch stewards keeping an eye on boats and the lake!

Milfoil Control Boat Photo by Ty Denslow

Keep an eye out for the Milfoil Control Boat and divers with diver flags out! Many thanks to John Menapace and crew with Aquatic Invasives who are starting to put benthic mats out next week using data from surveys taken last year. We continue to be proud of the great work done in keeping Milfoil under Control with over 6 acres of matting. To read about last year’s efforts, click HERE.

SLA’s AIS Prevention and Milfoil Control yearly costs are close to $250,000 and primarily supported by annual membership funds.

Please encourage your friends and family to support our membership fund and renew if you haven’t yet.

Onondaga CCE Shorelines Matter Series

Shorelines Matter: An educational series about Skaneateles Lake shoreline protection and restoration

This series will focus on shore zones, their importance, why homeowners opt for certain shoreline types over others, what surrounding states are doing to incentivize natural shorelines, and techniques and native plants to use for shoreline restoration.


When: Wednesday, June 21st at 7pm
Where: Zoom webinar
Registration: https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lt9tJY0gQqWfKL9vbazMNQ
(you must register to receive the Zoom link)

Ever wondered why your neighbor has a hardened shoreline instead of a natural shoreline? Join us for this session that will provide context on human behavior related to shorelines. This presentation will share research-based information on predictors of shoreline type, or what influences a property owner’s shoreline type. This event will also explore research about peoples’ willingness to participate in different hypothetical shoreline programs. Additionally, there will be a presentation introducing the Vermont Lake Wise program – an example of an initiative by a neighboring state to encourage natural shorelines and protect lake health.

Photo:  August 20, 2021 – high waters on Skaneateles Lake throughout NYS after remnants of Tropical Storm Fred.
According to City of Syracuse Lake Data report from May 11, 2023:

  • Skaneateles Lake Level = 862.98′
  • Monthly high range for May 1st = 863.05′
  • Last Year’s Lake Level = 862.25′
  • Lake Temperature = 47 degrees F
  • Last Year’s Lake Temperature = 52 degrees F
  • Dam Discharge = 18.37 Million Gallons/Day
More news to come in early June including a reca celbration of May as Lake Friendly Living Awareness Month!  Thank you for your continued support of the Skaneateles Lake Association!
SLA Membership

Please help share the word with your neighbors encouraging them to become members of SLA if they aren’t already.

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

LEGACY FUND: Fighting Harmful Algal Blooms together

Labor Day Parade

Editor, Skaneateles Press Observer:

In 1932 when Victor Arden and Phil Orman wrote the song “I love a Parade”, they gave tribute to the military parades of the times that still ring true for the present on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veteran’s Day.

But, here in Skaneateles, the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department gives the community members and visitors a different type of parade to love on Labor Day   It is a parade that embodies so much of the life and spirit of Skaneateles – organizations, businesses and community groups “march” to showcase who they are and what they do for the community and the community and visitors come to cheer them on and, of course, grab some of the never-ending candy.  After two years of no parade, this year the crowds on the sidewalks and gathered on lawns in front of village houses were never ending

The Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) was pleased to be selected by the Fire Department to be one of the community groups honored in the Labor Day Parade this year and we thank the Fire Department for the honor.

The SLA was showcased by our boat/float, “The Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat” with the Werner Family (Jo, Kitty, Kurt and Andy) on board the boat along with the boat’s do-designer and builder, Bill Dean and Tess Torrisi in charge the candy toss.  John Menapace, co-designer and builder of the Boat, and Paul Torrisi, SLA President, carefully pulled the boat and its passengers in the parade.

Frank Moses, SLA Ex. Dir., and I are thankful for the students who volunteered to also showcase our efforts to keep Skaneateles Lake clear and its water pure.  Isabella Karpinski in the Milfoil Monster Costume with Carolyn McSwain as a Milfoil Team Member “matted” the Milfoil Monster all along the parage route.  Max Karpinski and Lilly Miller carried the “Milfoil Control” banner that can be seen on the Milfoil Team boats when they are out working on the lake and Elliot Holm and Tara McSwain junior Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards carried the sign to remind all that our SLA Stewards help those who come to launch ensure their watercraft and trailers are clean, drained and dry.

For so many reasons, “We Love a Parade”.  A community showcase and specifically for the SLA an opportunity to showcase our many efforts to keep the Skaneateles Lake clear and its water pure.

Thank you to the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department for putting in all the effort for give the community a PARADE to love.


Fran Rotunno Fish

For the SLA Board of Directors

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 9/15/2022


Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat “Commissioned”      

Gretchen Robert & Fran Rotunno Fish

 On Monday, July 27th, The Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat, affectionately known and secondarily, named “The Bob”, was commissioned into action at the Skaneateles Country Club where it will be moored via the courtesy of the Club.

Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) Executive Director, Frank Moses, welcomed the assembled community of donors and introduced SLA President, Dr. Paul Torrisi.  Torrisi noted that all had gathered for 2 reasons: to honor the man most responsible for promoting the conservation and preservation of Skaneateles Lake, Dr. Robert Werner. and to commission the boat in his name and memory to provide research efforts and educational/community outreach to all who live, work, and play here…along with hundreds of thousands in CNY who rely on this clear/pure body of water for its drinking and sustenance

Torrisi noted that two volunteer directors of the SLA needed to be recognized for their efforts.  He noted that Fran Rotunno Fish had initiated the idea of the boat being constructed in Bob’s memory; had raised the funding from the community and had obtained the many in-kind donations from community businesses that were also significant to our funding.  Dr. Torrisi noted that as the design and scientific requirements evolved during the early construction on the boat by John Menapace and his staff last year, it was volunteer Board member Bill Dean who jumped in to give so much of his time and expertise. He was able to complement John, Pete, and staff by researching the scientific needs of the boat through his position as Co-Chair of the SLA LET, from an operational, mechanical, and electrical perspective.  Bill worked days, weeks, months alongside John Menapace and his staff to finish the construction of this boat.

Torrisi noted that what was now in front of the gathering was a very soundly constructed tri-toon with a strong and easily maintained deck, hull, railings, and permanent “bimini” roof with solar panels energizing a complex series of lithium batteries, along with very sophisticated navigational, operational and scientific instrumentation and equipment.  It is a boat named in honor and memory of Werner, one that Werner would be very pleased to see, and what hopes to be a valuable asset to not only the SLA, but the entire watershed and CNY community for years to come…helping to keep this lake clear and pure, as it states in SLA’s mission statement and on our logo.

Fish shared the ease of the effort to raise the funding for the boat.  With assistance from Bob DeWitt and Steve White they had reached out to community members and not one of them refused assistance and many gave very generously for specific components of the boat.  She also noted the generosity and helpfulness of many area businesses was an important component of the funding for the boat.

With the gathering assembled on the shoreline and on the slips on each side of the boat, Bill and Bobbi Dean unveiled the boats signs naming it the “Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat.”

Bill Dean gave the gathering an overview of the equipment of the boat and what it   could be used for.  He explained the complex lithium battery system, the solar energy source and the very special trolling motor with GPS that will hold the boat in position for those activities that have to be done in very specific locations.

SLA member and Bob’s friend and neighbor, Larry Weiss, provided some words of reflection for the day.  He noted that the boat was one of Werner’s living legacies and that it is a testament to three things.  It is a testament to how very seriously Werner took his responsibility as a steward of Creation. Werner prophetically both took action himself, and also called the whole community to action to protect this lake. That is the role of a prophet, to rouse the community to action.  It is a testament to the response of the community to Werner’s prophetic spirit of stewardship.  Finally, in ages past, a great prophet was commissioned by receiving the mantle of their predecessor. The Skaneateles Lake Association, the related organizations, and most of all, the individuals who responded and continue to respond to Bob’s prophetic guidance and leadership in preserving the life of this lake are receivers of Werner’s mantle. Lord willing, may we also receive a double portion of Werner’s spirit. This boat will carry it forward.

Bill Dean did the honors of hanging the small flag with the name “The Bob” high on one of the “gull away” poles.  The “Commissioning” was closed with Jo Werner, Kurt Werner and Kitty Werner Robinson joining Bill on board for a “champagning” of the boat.

Bill Dean did the honors of hanging the small flag with the name “The Bob” high on one of the “gull away” poles.  The “Commissioning” was closed with Jo Werner, Kurt Werner and Kitty Werner Robinson joining Bill on board for a “champagning” of the boat.

The Skaneateles Lake Association thanks the following for their donations that funded the Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat:  David & Amy Allyn, Henry & Helga Beck, Dessa Bergen, David Birchenough & Carrie Lazarus, Wendy Blewett, Virginia Bryce, Laura Busby, Jeffrey & Marybeth Carlberg, Delores Chappell, Aimee Clinkhammer, Paul & Linda Cohen, The Columbian Foundation, Stephen Congel, Suzanne Congel, Jim & Sharon Cross, Robert & Roberta Culbertson, Jeffrey & Barbara Culhane, William & Barbara Dean, Merrill & Paula Denslow, Sid & Suzanne Devorsetz, Charles & Kimberly Driscoll, Ham & Fran Fish, Ronald & Rose Ann Gay, Sheila Goetzmann, David Graham, Greenville LLC, Holland Gregg & Patience Brewster, Amy Lynn Gregory, Brian & Maureen Harkins, Kenneth & Barbara Hearst, Donna Himmelfarb, Richard & Deborah Hole, Robert & Claire Howard, Peter & Jane Hueber, Jackie Keady, David & Sheril Ketchum, Edward & Lena Kochian, Richard & Mary Kokosa, Dorothy Krause, Judith Krieger, Lakeview Auto & Marine (Bob, Terri & Rachael DeWitt), Carolyn Legg, Brian & Jean Madigan, Mary Marshall, Kevin & Fran McCormack, Jim & Julie Moore, Judith Morrissey, Frank Moses, Patricia Orr, Michael Paciorek, Lawrence & Nan Pardee, Steven Phillippy & Janice Kemp Phillippy, Shirlee Powers, Floramay Racz, N. Sandor & Kristy Racz, Yvonne Racz, William & Gretchen Roberts, Andy & Kitty Robinson, Daniel & Linda Roche, Scott Rogers, Michael Schrader & Lauren Kochian, Steve & Sharon Songer, Wolfram & Elena Stahl, Mr. & Mrs. Robert A. Stevens, Gene & Joan Tarolli, Nancy Tiedemann, James & Deborah Tifft, Paul & Mary Torrisi, Larry & Katherine Weiss, Joe & Shasta White, Randall & Paula White & Frank Canastrano, Charles Williams, Lucy Williams, Marilyn Wurzburger

The SLA could not have completed the Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat without the in-kind donations from members, vendors and Skaneateles community businesses.  Join us in extending a thank you to each of them.

John David Hammond who donated the pontoon boat, which was originally used in the Milfoil Project, and later provided the basic framework and two of the pontoons for “The Bob”; Dorothy Krause for the use of her trailer during the first summer of the boat’s construction; the Mercury Motor Company for a special non-profit organization price on the new Mercury motor; Pete Severson at Sevey’s Boatyard for facilitating and supporting our request to the Mercury Motor Company for the motor and for special pricing on accessories; the Skaneateles Sailboat Shop for special pricing on accessories and safety equipment; Brinson’s Marina for special pricing on the specific trailer we needed for the boat; Lakeview Auto and Marine for providing gratis, safe winter storage; and The Skaneateles Country Club which is providing a gratis mooring for “The Bob”.

You can help support the work of “The Bob” and all of the efforts of the Skaneateles Lake Association to keep Skaneateles Lake clear and its water pure by becoming an annual member of the SLA.  Join online at SkaneatelesLake.org or call Fran Rotunno Fish at 315-558-3142 for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 7/7/2022