Site photography courtesy of Matt Champlin

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Jo-Anne Humphreys, The Nature Conservancy Finger Lakes WaterQuality Specialist, Ralph Fabiani, a volunteer, and Shannon Fabiani,Cornell Cooperative Extension Water and Ecology Specialist, pose for a photo with native plants that were used to construct the riparian buffer along the  shoreline of Skaneateles Lake

Trees for Tribs: Riparian Buffer Planting

Rachael DeWitt, Executive Director, Skaneateles Lake Association

Back in October the Skaneateles Lake Association, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Town of Skaneateles, and City of Syracuse hosted a Landscaping for Water Quality forum. At this forum, the audience learned how to landscape and garden their properties with water quality in mind. We had several excellent speakers present and many wonderful organizations/businesses table at this event to guide attendees on how to “shorescape” (landscape along the shore), garden with native plants, and educate the audience about New York State’s Nutrient Law. One of the major takeaways from this forum was the need for riparian buffers along streams and lake front property. Riparian Buffers stabilize banks, control erosion, slow runoff, and filter nutrients out of runoff before the water enters our tributaries and lake.

However, it is not enough just to talk about riparian buffers, they need to be constructed. As result of a partnership between Cornell Cooperative Extension Onondaga, the City of Syracuse, Onondaga Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Skaneateles Lake Association, on November 15th and 19th riparian buffer was constructed at a lakeside home. If you are a local, then you are well aware of the amount of snow that was present on both of these dates. The original planting date even had to be postponed due to all the snow. Dedicated volunteers, members, and employees of these organizations worked tirelessly in inhospitable conditions to get this project finished.

On November 15th the site was prepped, this process included sod removal, staking out planting locations, and going over the process of the project including site design to species selection. On November 19th, with the support of dedicated volunteers and two hospitable homeowners, over 150 riparian native grasses, native perennials, shrubs, and 1 tree were planted on November 15th.

The goal of this pilot project was to increase riparian buffers on private properties and reduce nonpoint source pollution to Skaneateles Lake through education and community based plantings. This is the first of several riparian buffers projects that will be constructed under the Trees for Tribs program. If you are interested having a riparian buffer constructed on your property, please email us at or email Shannon Fabiani at

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our project partners at Cornell Cooperative Extension (especially Shannon Fabiani), Onondaga County Soil and Water, White Oak Nursery, The Nature Conservancy, The City of Syracuse and all the volunteers for working tirelessly to protect our lake and for being a part of this service learning stewardship project. When the weather gets warmer, keep an eye out for future riparian buffer construction projects in our watershed. We hope you will consider volunteering and getting your hands dirty for the protection of our lake.

We thank the following individuals for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days: Karen & Paul Black,  Nancy & Ted Norman, David Graham, Linda & Dan Roche.

We thank the following individuals and organizations for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days: Leanne & David Willard, John Rizzo, Racquel & James Vlassis, Jack Rudnick, Skaneateles Rotary Foundation. Eileen Murphy & CJ Ryan.

Our steward program received special support from: Benjamin Lowery & Maura Swan, Susan Mark & Mary Knepper, Joyce & David Larrison.  Thank you to them.

We are grateful to those who continue to support the David Lee Hardy Fund established by his family to also support our steward program.  Thank you to MB & Jeff Bronk, Joseph Reagan, Joyce & David Larrison, and Lynda & John Parsons.

You cansupport the SLA and give applause to all of its volunteers by joining the SLAtoday!  You can join online or, better yet, save us the 3% PayPal or credit card feeand mail your check to the SLA (P. O. Box 862 Skaneateles, NY 13152) or call315-685-9106 and ask for a Member Registration Form and return envelope to bemailed to you.

Source:  Skaneateles Press

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Buzz Roberts, SLA Board Member and Roy Truswell, Invasive Species Monitoring Steward trying out the new Steward Shed at the DEC Boat Launch


Fran Rotunno Fish & Rachael DeWitt, SLA Executive Director

When designing the banner for the first issue of the SLA Newsletter in the Spring of 2011, we chose the following headline for the banner…”For all those who have a stake in the lake”.  Over the years and especially since the major Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in the Fall of 2017, the SLA board has taken steps to expand on that banner headline theme via written materials, newspaper articles and small group presentations and collaborating in providing educational forums to encourage all who have a stake in the lake to become stewards of the lake and for the lake.  The response from the community has been significant.  Community members have stepped up to the plate to learn how they can individually take small steps to promote the health of the lake water, dozens have joined in to monitor the lake for the appearance of Harmful Algal Blooms and obtain water samples during storm events.  Much of this community stewardship was ignited by the HABs and the SLA Board intends to continue to promote and expand this type of community response.

While this community steward response to the HAB events is very important, the Board is also keenly aware that we have to continue to focus on the continued threat of invasive species to our lake water and the lake as a community resource and economic driver. The Great Lakes have 183 invasive species, Skaneateles has 5. That number could easily rise from just one boat bringing in a new invasive. Here in Skaneateles we are less than 40 miles away from Lake Ontario, and their problems are knocking on our door. If you would like to learn more about invasive species and the problems facing our freshwater lakes, we highly suggest reading the book, “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes,” by Dan Egan. We need to act now before our problems get worse. SLA is ramping up our Invasive Species Steward Program to protect our lake and prevent this from happening.

Recognizing that the threat of additional invasive species, especially the dreaded Hydrilla found extensively in nearby lakes, needed expanded attention, the SLA Board applied for and received a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to expand our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program.  The funds received enabled us to start our Stewards working at the beginning a May and keep them on duty into October.  Further, with the grant funds we were able to have the Stewards in place longer hours during the day and more days at more launch sites around the lake.  We accomplished this by hiring adult Stewards from the community in addition to the high school and college students we have always employed.  Along with funds to pay for the additional personnel and hours, our grant funds also enabled us to purchase a small shed to be kept permanently at the NYS DEC Launch site on West Lake Rd.  With our Stewards starting earlier in the season, earlier in the day and staying later in the season and later in the day, providing them with shelter was important and the grant funds allowed us to do this. 

Most of you know that grant funds are intended to provide an organization with an element of structure or equipment or to provide initial funding for an expansion of service.  However, grant funds are never intended to supplant the need for ongoing funding of an organization’s program.  In order for the SLA to continue the expansion of our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward coverage of Skaneateles Lake launch sites we need to have every 2017 member who has not yet joined for 2018 to join now and we need several hundred additional members more than we had in 2017.  Our membership is growing but in these last weeks of 2018 it needs to grow significantly more.

You can join the SLA for the first time or renew your membership for 2018 online at or call 315-685-9106 and ask for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you.  Our SLA annual memberships are rolling and effective for one year from the date paid.

We thank the following for or supporting the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Frank Suits, Allyn Family Foundation, Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Deborah & James Tifft.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day:  Laura & Sean O’Keefe, Heather & David Wheat, Judy & Philip Hider, Patricia & Ralph Troisi, White & White Antiques and Interiors (Bev & Steve White), Gretchen & Caleb King, Gina & Geoffrey Wickwire and an Anonymous Donor.

We thank the following for sponsoring a Steward for a day:  Casmir Bobowski, Karen & David Hempson, Nancy Peck, Virginia & Jeffrey Stannard, The Higgins Family, Judith & Steven Zdept, Jacqueline & David Eng.

We thank the following for their contributions to the DavidLee Hardy Fund:  Susanne Guske & LeeKlosowski, Karen & David Hempson, Nancy Peck, The Higgins Family, DavidAltmeyer, Connie Brace & Paul Higman, Robert Hogan, Aster Weddings, VermontGreen Mountain Specialty Company, Thomas Potter.

Source:  Skaneateles Press