General News

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Going for 1000!                                                  Fran Rotunno Fish

The Board of Directors of the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) has not taken an official vote on setting a membership goal for 2018, but informally we all agree that we should easily reach a membership of1000 and it is important to make every effort to do so.

In 2011, when the SLA evolved from its predecessor organizations (Skaneateles

Lake Pure Water Association, Inc. and the Tri-County Skaneateles Lake Pure Water Association), the SLA Board of Directors determined that its future financial stability and ability to carry out the activities necessary to fulfill its mission would require broad community support, not the limited large donations and one-time government grants that had funded its efforts in the past.  Thus, SLA Annual Membership was born with efforts to reach a broad scope of the lake community to “spread the pain” of funding the SLA’s efforts.

In 2011, the first membership year, 293 families, individuals and businesses joined the SLA and in 2012 the membership grew to 548.  While our membership grew from 639 in 2013 to 822 in 2017, the threats to our lake also grew.  The scope of our action plan to protect the lake had to grow as we focused more expansively on milfoil control and preventions of the introduction of other invasive species, especially, the dreaded Hydrilla.  Of course, the Algal Blooms of the Fall of 2017 and this past summer have further intensified the need for expanding our membership and support.

There is no reason why we cannot achieve a membership of 1000 for 2018.  These are the families, individuals and businesses we need to join the SLA right now to achieve that goal.

There are 156 memberships paid between Oct. 2017 and Dec. 2017.  If 100% of them rejoin, we will be well on our way to 900.  They have all received renewal reminder letters in the past month or will be receiving those reminders in Nov. if they joined in Dec. 2017.

There are 177 memberships (74 of which are known lakefront or lake rights property owners) that were registered for a year or more between 2011 and 2017, but have not rejoined in 2017 or 2018.  If they all jump in and join, we make the 1000-member goal.

And, we can do better than that!  There are still 93 memberships registered between Jan. and Sept. 2017 that have not been renewed for 2018.  All of these have received membership renewal letters and follow emails, when available.

Perhaps the saddest number to report is the approximate 500 lakefront and lake rights property owners who have never supported the SLA or its predecessor organizations via membership or other donation.  Getting any of them onboard as members would certainly solidify achievement of our 1000-member goal.

Today there are two things you can do to surely get us to the 900-member goal, but we should be able to get to 1000 with your help.  So, if you are in any one of the “missing from 2018 membership groups”, join now!  If you have already joined go to our website (, click on the membership tab and check over the list of current members.  If you see anyone missing who should be a member and for whom a nudge from you would be helpful, please call me and confirm the status (as we have 30 anonymous members).  Then, if appropriate give them a call and share your reason for SLA membership and why you hope they will join also.

You can reach me at 315-558-3143 for membership status confirmation, if you want to have a member registration form mailed or if you want to help us grow our membership and can put in some hours to help with the effort.  With your help, we can make that goal of 900 and there is really no reason why we cannot reach 1000 members for 2018.

Source:  Skaneateles Press

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Lawn Care, Lake Care for October                   Fran McCormack

You are a resident in the Skaneateles Lake watershed.  You’re concerned about the algal blooms and understand everyone can help our lake with better landscaping practices.  It is October.  Here is what you or your landscaper should do this month.

 Leaves and Lawn:  Keep mower blades sharp.  Mow grass no shorter than 3 – 4 inches in the Fall with a mulching lawn mower so that grass can still peak through.  Leave grass clippings on the lawn or rake and bag leaves or use as plant mulch so they don’t enter streets, road side ditches, drains, or gullies.  Or, do not mow your yard at all!  Mowing avoidance adds habitat, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and restores pollinators.

Seed bare spots to reduce erosion by establishing healthy, dense growth because thin, patchy lawns will have an increased amount of runoff and will transfer more to the lake (even if they are not fertilized).  Test your soil before considering fertilizing your lawn. Most soils in our area do not need fertilizer. Call Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) (585) 394-3977 for testing.

Remove all pet waste – bag it and throw it in the trash. (15-20% of bacteria that enter our waterways comes from pet waste).  This is good lake care every month.

Native Trees/Shrubs/Perennials:  Consult with a certified nursery professional for native trees, shrubs and pollinator-friendly plants.  Plant in the Fall before ground freezes (as long as you can dig) and mulch.  Plant native plants as a buffer along shorelines or stream beds to act as a sponge for storm water runoff.  A buffer can also discourage geese from walking on your property!

Plant a rain garden in a low area where water collects and plant with native plants to slow rainwater flow into the lake or streams or use a rain barrel under gutter downspouts.

New York State Lawn Fertilization Regulations are important to follow every month.  Do not use lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus unless you are establishing a new lawn, or a soil test shows that your lawn does not have enough phosphorus.  Do not use any lawn fertilizer December 1 – April 1. Don’t apply fertilizer on sidewalks, driveways or other impervious surfaces. If fertilizer spills, sweep it up to prevent it from washing into drains or waterways.  Do not apply lawn fertilizer within 20 feet of any water body unless there is at least a 10-foot buffer of shrubs, trees or other plants between the area you are fertilizing and the water.

You will find a month-to-month guide for lawn care at this site:  The Homeowner’s Lawn Care and Water Quality Almanac –

Please Save the Date and plan to join us on Tuesday October 23rd at 7pm at the Skaneateles High School auditorium.  The SLA, CCE and Town of Skaneateles are collaborating on a forum on Landscaping for Water Quality with Landscape Architect Matt Biondolillo and Native Plant author and dendrology professor at ESF – Don Leopold.  You can register for this forum at

Join us in thanking the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Jessica & Douglas Fetterman, Annette & Peter Becker.

We thank an anonymous donor for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward for a day.

Every single membership counts.  70 households will be receiving letters this week reminding them it is time to join the SLA for 2018.  If all 70 join we could achieve a total household membership of 900 and that means by the end of the year we could get to 1000.  If you have received one of our annual renewal letters or a reminder letter that you were missed last year and are needed back this year please join today.  You can join the SLA online at or call 315-685-9106 and ask for a membership form to be mailed to you

Source:  Skaneateles Press



News from the Skaneateles Lake Association


  Landscaping for Lake Quality               Terry Hoffmann-DeWitt, Rachael DeWitt and Kathy Gorr

We’re hearing a lot of information about the quality of our beautiful lake, and people are asking ‘What can I do?’  Well, a sub-group of the Skaneateles Lake Association has formed to focus on providing those answers for you.  And the amazing thing is we don’t have to create the information.  It’s already been done for us by qualified people and organizations.  So the answer is ‘YOU can take this knowledge and do a lot!’

In the coming months, we will publish a number of articles which will cover 1) the role of phosphorus and nitrogen and landscaping with native trees and shrub plants to improve lake quality, 2) the Cornell Cooperative Extensions’ master gardener program, 3) contact information on local resources, 4) questions for a professional landscaper (with answers), 5) preparing for Spring and 6) environmentally friendly substitutes for harmful, invasive, non-native landscaping plants. This article will focus on the role of phosphorus and nitrogen and the benefits of planting trees, shrubs and groundcover that are native to our area, which can act as filters for unwanted elements entering the lake.

Phosphorous and Nitrogen:  Phosphorus in the form of phosphates is a powerful fertilizer which feeds algae.  Nitrogen is similar to phosphorus in that it also feeds microscopic plants and aquatic plants.  These two nutrients exist in the lake and are generally limited in quantity.  But when these nutrients are present in large amounts, typically from septic systems, lawn fertilizers, agricultural runoff and additional organic material in the lake such as raked leaves and when other conditions are right (hot weather and calm waters) they create an environment that allows algae to grow out of control with the potential of producing toxic and harmful effects on people, animals and aquatic organisms.

Fertilizers containing phosphorus should not be used on your lawn.  Take the time to read fertilizer labels.  The DEC advises to ‘Look for the Zero’ and purchase phosphorous-free products.  New York State law requires retailers to post signs notifying customers of the terms of the law and to display phosphorous fertilizer separately from those that are phosphorous free.  Be sure to look at the bag label for the phosphorous content.  The label should list a series of numbers and a lake friendly fertilizer might look something like this “5-0-5”.  The first number is the nitrogen percentage, the second number is the phosphorous percentage (which should be 0) and the third number is the potassium/potash percentage.  Low numbers are good.  You can decide to go chemical free.  Lawns don’t need fertilizers, pesticides or weed killers to look great.  Organic lawn care is possible and safe and effective alternatives exist for most products containing chemicals for pesticides and fertilizers.  These products promote deep root systems, natural photosynthesis and longer grass growth.  These alternatives can be found on the DEC’s Lawn Care web page.  Visit  Also, allowing lawns to grow native flowers such as snowdrops, forget-me-nots, violets, trout lilies and tiny daisies brings a whole dimension of flora and fauna beauty to your lawn.

Trees, shrubs and ground cover:  These provide excellent defenses against pollutants entering the lake.  There are other pollutants besides phosphorous and nitrogen such as an overload of soil, branches and other sediments containing nutrients.  If you plant a riparian buffer along streambeds or along shorelines using native plants, the volume, velocity and timing of surface runoffs have a chance to slow or even be completely absorbed before it enters our lake.

Native plants:  Native plants work well because they are already adapted to our local environmental conditions (like soil and insects), they require less water (which conserves a natural resource), create a habitat for birds and other wildlife, they don’t need fertilizers or pesticides and they prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.

Cornell Cooperative Extension has an extensive list of trees and plants.  Some examples are birch, serviceberry, dogwood, willow, ash, maple, fern, elderberry, sumac, elm, chestnut, blackberry, huckleberry, milkweed, lobelia, and coneflower to name a few.

There are a number of native plant nurseries locally who can provide even more information and are worth checking out.  Here are a few to consider:  The Plantsmen Nursery in Lansing, White Oak Nursery in Canandaigua, Nannyberry in Fulton and Amanda’s Garden in Dansville.   Another excellent source for native plant sales and programming is Baltimore Woods in Marcellus.   The Finger Lakes Native Plant Society in Ithaca is another excellent organization dedicated to promoting native flora.

Retention Ponds:  If you have a large amount of acreage, you might consider putting in a retention pond.  These ponds are situated in a low-lying area that is engineered to temporarily hold a set amount of water while the water slowly drains into another location.  Retention ponds limit the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen entering the lake.  They also reduce the chances of flooding.

Learn More:  You can learn more about landscaping for lake quality.  We recommend a publication of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, “Introduction to Organic Lawns and Yards” and CCE’s “Landscaping for Water Quality in the Finger Lakes Region”.   CCE’s contact information is (315) 424-9485,

Look for additional articles we plan to publish relating to Landscaping for Lake Quality as well as an upcoming workshop.  Save the DateTuesday October 23rd 7pm Skaneateles High School.  SLA and CCE are collaborating on Landscaping for Water Quality with Landscape Architect Matt Biondolillo and Native Plant author and dendrology professor at ESF – Don Leopold.

Through responsible landscaping and soil maintenance, you can make a real difference in the health of our waters.

Please thank the following for co-supporting the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  Elizabeth & Evan Dreyfus, Kimberly & William Gilberti, Jane & Thomas Hanley, Jack Rudnick, Janice & Richard Wiles, Elaine Palmer, Theresa & Jim Reed, Anonymous Donor.

Please thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Gwen Birchenough, Alexandra & Richard Nicklas

Please thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which supports our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards:  Stacey & Steven McClintic.

Every single membership counts.  This past month we wrote to over 200 members who had joined the SLA some year or years between 2011 and 2016, but who had not joined in 2017 or 2018.  If those 200 were to join for 2018 we could reach a membership of 1000 households and that would be great.  We look for each of them and each of or 2017 members to join for 2018.  You can join the SLA online at or call 315-685-9106 and ask for a membership form to be mailed to you.  It may be too cold for some to jump in and swim, but you can JUMP IN AND JOIN THE SLA TODAY!

Source:  Skaneateles Press


News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Happening Now and Soon      Fran Rotunno Fish

JEFFERSON PROJECT VERTICAL PROFILER.  Hopefully, you all read the article in last week’s Skaneateles Press about the vertical profiler that has been moored in Skaneateles Lake for the past few weeks by the Jefferson Project.  And hopefully, also, you read about the Skaneateles Lake Association’s initial outreach early this Spring to facilitate a working relationship with the Fund for Lake George and the Jefferson Project for the benefit of both Skaneateles Lake and Lake George.  If you have not read it, please do so.  If you did not get the paper or need a copy of the article, please request one from the SLA via the “contact us” tab at

FUND RAISING EVENT AT THE KREBS.  On September 12th, please join us for a fun filled evening with SLA guest bartenders, Paul Torrisi (Doctor of Drinks), Dave Birchenough (skilled at sailing/sliding them down the bar), and Debbie Bobbett (she can Stand Up [Paddle board] for the lake like nobody else) and more. They will be serving drinks from 6-8pm. All tips will benefit the Skaneateles Lake Association.

If you are curious about the state of our lake, want to donate, or want to know what we are doing to preserve and protect our lake, come! SLA Board Members will be available to share information about our current efforts and answer question.  Bring your friends who aren’t members, and we will encourage them to join the Skaneateles Lake Association.

MILFOIL CONTROL TEAM ACTIVITY.  The Milfoil Boar Team under the direction of John Menapace is in the process of picking up the 6 acres of matting put down on the largest patches of milfoil early the season.  First matting down is the first matting taken out.  Bob Werner and Bill Dean have finished the survey of the lake that is used to identify the location of further large patches of milfoil that will be included in the matting done next year.  The data collected will be analyzed and based upon the size of the areas of milfoil and their location being suitable for matting a plan will be made for next year. Please use caution if you see the Milfoil Boat in an area while you are out in your own watercraft as there are likely to be divers in and under the water.  Rolling these mats up is not as simple as rolling up a carpet in your living room.

EMAIL ADDRESSES.  When people fill out the SLA Annual Member Registration Form, they are asked to provide an email address.  Some do not do so because they are concerned about too many emails from too many people.  However, this last week with the recurrent Algal Bloom, as we worked to keep our membership and the community informed, there were people contacting the SLA to be added to our email list and some contacting us to update their emails.  In both cases these people had heard about our email updates and wanted to be kept informed also.  We, of course, add all who request to be added to our email list and, if not SLA members, we encourage then to join.

LOST AND FOUND ITEMS.  The Skaneateles Lake Association Website maintains a “lost and found site” to assist area residents with recovering or returning items that have broken away, broken off or just been left behind.  If you find something significant on the shoreline or recover it from the lake or lose something in the lake, use the “contact us” tab on our website and report your lost and found.  We will keep your identification confidential and help you get it back or return it.  Currently on our website we have five found items posted.  On Aug. 15th in the area of the Skaneateles Country Club a pair of red and black O’Brien Water Skis floating in the lake was picked up by a boating SLA member.   On August 31st an SLA member found what appears to be a sailboat rudder floating in the water about a quarter mile north of Lourdes Camp.  The fin is white fiberglass/composite with a wooden handle and an aluminum extension.  Finally, we have 3 items left at Lourdes Camp following our SLA Annual Meeting on 30th including a golf cap with a Renouvous Solar logo, a RAF Electronic Hardware water bottle, and a black Skaneateles Country Club Ladies Challenge Team blanket.  If any of these items are yours, please contact the SLA with your name and contact information via the “contact us” tab on our Website.  Thank you.

Please thank the following for co-supporting the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Greenfield Lane Association, Lakeview Auto and Marine (Terry, Rachael and Bob DeWitt), Barb Conner and Doug Wood.

Please thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  Kitty and Tim O’Donnell, Sheila Hemami, Kristine and Jeffrey Bogart, Coffin Construction, LLC, Demitra Vounas, Ten Mile Point South HOA, Cindy and John Varney.

Please thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward for a day:  Ann Kilian, Marie and Joseph Grasso, Collen & Peter Dean, Sandra & William Nichols, Susan and Bill Anderson.

Please thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which supports our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards:  Liz and Bill Sharp, Martha and Thomas Squires, Katie and Jason Armijo, Pine Bluff HOA.

 Source:  Skaneateles Press




News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Skaneateles Lake gets help in fighting toxic algae — from a robot                         Glenn Coin

Vince Moriarty, a research scientist at IBM, works on a vertical profiler floating in about 60 feet of water in Skaneateles Lake. The profiler, installed in July, monitors conditions in the lake, including harmful algae blooms. Glenn Coin | (Glenn Coin |

Skaneateles, N.Y. — A robotic buoy bristling with scientific instruments has joined the fight against toxic algae in Skaneateles Lake.

Scientists from IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute installed the buoy, called a vertical profiler, on July 30. The algae quickly cooperated: A bloom that closed beaches and infiltrated water intake pipes started Aug. 4.

That wasn’t necessarily what researchers wanted, said Harry Kolar, an IBM researcher on the project.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of baseline data to work with,” he said.

The $170,000 profiler, built at RPI, is collecting plenty of data. It records everything from air and water temperature to water clarity to pigments produced by toxic algae, and it does it every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day. It’s called a vertical profiler because it measures all the way through the water column, from surface to bottom. It sits above about 60 feet of water just off the Skaneateles Country Club dock.

Scientists hope that by collecting enough data, and running it through complex modeling programs, they can predict when toxic algae blooms will appear.

“That’s the Holy Grail science and the community want to know: when and where is the next one,” said Rick Relyea, an RPI biology professor.

It’s an important question for Skaneateles Lake, the unfiltered drinking water source for about 200,000 residents of Central New York, including the city of Syracuse. Last year, a major algae bloom infiltrated the lake’s two intake pipes, and the city scrambled to add more chlorine to keep the algae toxins from getting into drinking water.

This year, Syracuse is conducting more tests. The brief, early August algae bloom showed low levels of the algae toxins, called microcystins, in the intake pipes for a couple of days. More recent tests have shown no microcystins, liver toxins that can sicken humans and kill dogs. (While algae is the common term, the blooms are actually a kind of bacteria known as cyanobacteria.)

The Skaneateles Lake pilot project is a spinoff from the much larger Jefferson Project on Lake George. That project, in its fifth year, deploys 51 sensor platforms with more than 500 individual sensors in the Lake George watershed. Eric Siy, director of The Fund for Lake George, one of the partners in the Jefferson Project, calls Lake George “the world’s smartest lake.”

Siy said the Lake George data has been used to study road salt infiltration, invasive species, and nutrients, including those that can fuel algae blooms.

Lake George has never had a reported harmful algae bloom – but then, Skaneateles Lake hadn’t either before last year.

“It’s clear it can happen anywhere,” said Relyea, who directs the Jefferson Project.

Relyea calls Skaneateles Lake and Lake George “sister lakes.” Both are long, narrow, deep, lakes with low levels of the nutrients that spur algae blooms, he said. The two are also among 12 selected as high priority water bodies in New York state’s $65 million toxic algae control program.

Skaneateles Lake is half as long as, and 128 feet deeper than, Lake George, but Skaneateles will be simpler lake to study and model, Relyea said. Lake George’s surface area is larger than Skaneateles’s, and it has a more varied lake bottom and numerous islands in the middle that alter wind and currents.

Skaneateles Lake, by contrast, “is like a long, skinny bathtub in a valley,” he said.

The Skaneateles Lake Association supports the new data collection program, said Executive Director Rachael DeWitt.

“We have a lot we can learn from them,” said DeWitt, who started Aug. 1, just in time for this year’s algae bloom. “The more data we obtain, the better.”



News from the Skaneateles Lake Association


Our Team of Many Members Has Been Busy                                       Fran Rotunno Fish


Earlier this year when we were sending out membership renewal notices to our 2017 members, the letter started out with the following sentence: “The Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) of this past fall was the most “in your face” threat that Skaneateles Lake has ever experienced.”  Sadly, here we are in August 2018 dealing with another Algal Bloom.  And like last year, the SLA has been out front dealing with the Algal Bloom.  Our Skaneateles Lake Association Shoreline HAB Monitoring Volunteers, organized by SLA’s project coordinator, Mary Menapace, responded to many calls from community members and collecting samples for possible testing and taking photos for examining suspicious elements on the shore line or in the lake.  Our Executive Director, Rachael DeWitt, has been getting email blasts out to the 900 plus families in our SLA member database and using social media to advise a wider audience of test results, beach closings and actions to take.  Rachael DeWitt, SLA President, Paul Torrisi, and many other SLA Board members have been fielding questions to get the correct information to those who email or phone in with their observations, concerns and questions.

 HOWEVER, WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT IS ALL THAT THE SLA HAS BEEN DOING SINCE LAST YEAR’S ALGAL BLOOM TO PUT INTO ACTION A PLAN TO DETERMINE THE SOURCE FACTORS RESULTING IN THE BLOOM AND DETERMINING WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT.  We cannot control most of the major factors that contribute to the bloom including:  warm days and water, sunny days and calm waters.  We can determine the significant sources of the nutrient load that is the last essential ingredient for an Algal Bloom.  We are a significant part of the team working on that and this is what we our doing.

Our Nutrient Management Committee, which is one of the 4 parts of the SLA’s HAB Action Plan has been working extensively to get the proposal submitted by the Town of Skaneateles with the CNY Community Planning and Development Board to the Department of State for a $300,000 grant to develop a 9E Plan.  The submission and approval of this plan is essential to be eligible for millions of dollars in grants for further monitoring and major remediation projects to reduce the nutrient loading of the lake.

It is important to note that award of this $300,000 grant requires a 25% match from the organization submitting the request.  The Skaneateles Lake Association has already funded the significant portion of this required match.  Most importantly, we have funded it in a way that puts us ahead of the game in determining possible major sources of nutrient loading.  This has been accomplished because we have contracted with the Upstate Fresh Water Institute to conduct extensive ongoing monitoring of 3 additional tributaries – Grout Brook, Bear Swamp Creek and Harold Brook.  Each stream will be visited on a bi‐weekly basis to maintain the equipment and to collect water samples for laboratory analyses and also during two storm event surveys intended to capture high flow conditions.  The following parameters will be measured:  total phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, total nitrogen, nitrate+nitriate, total ammonia, particulate organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, total dissolved solids, turbidity, and silica will be essential in making determinations of possible remediation projects for state funding.

This monitoring has been supported by a few generous donations from community members and the Town of Niles has also provided support.  With funding from the Town of Skaneateles this same monitoring has been conducted for several years on Shotwell Brook.  With the addition of the monitoring of 3 additional tributaries by the SLA we are developing a significant database for future decisions on actions to take.

And there is more.  Charles Driscoll, SLA Board Member and Professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is conducting additional monitoring of 6 more intermediate tributaries including 5 and 10 mile creeks, Hardscrabble, Glen Cove, Bentley Brook, and Fisher Creek.  He has collected two rounds of samples from those tributaries already and will be providing Mary Menapace with sampling bottles to give to SLA volunteers who will be trained to continue the sample collection.  Dr. Driscoll has equipment to do additional monitoring in 4 of the 6 of the streams and the SLA is anticipating the ability to fund the equipment for monitoring the other 2 streams.

Finally, as previously reported, the SLA and the Jefferson Project partnership has established a cooperative relationship and the vertical profiler, Atlantis II was installed in Skaneateles Lake on July 30th.  We have received our first data report from the profiler, which is extensive, and that data and continuing data from it will be a further component of the data used in helping us to determine potential actions to take including further monitoring and remediation projects to help protect the lake.

The SLA is planning watershed wide community education programs and projects and will be supporting efforts by the DEC and the Cornell Cooperative Extension in their programs and efforts.  All of the SLA efforts are focused on working cooperatively with government and private agencies for the protection and remediation of the lake.  The SLA’s efforts are focused on promoting participation by every member of the Skaneateles Lake watershed community in the programs that will be offered and/or actions that reflect the lake protective practices offered by those programs.

Today, you can join in those efforts by supporting us with your SLA membership or SLA membership renewal for 2018 and by encouraging your friends and neighbors to join the SLA.

You can join the SLA u at or you can call 315-6850916 and request a Member Registration Form to be mailed.

The past 2 weeks our membership efforts have been supported by the extensive efforts of Anne Salzhauer and Meredith Torrisi and the assistance of Jean Sardino, Pam Ryan and Eileen Murphy in preparing membership materials and maintaining the member database.

Please thank the following for co-supporting the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Jennie & Stephan Bersani, Elet & John Callahan, Robert Congel, Jen & Bill Mayo, Molly Elliott, Goffe Cottage (Carla & David Goffe), Bob Honold, Dr. Robert Vitkus, Elaine & Mathew Medwid, Noreen & Michael Falcone, Barbara & Kenneth Hearst, Marcia & Robert Hunt, Jolie & Scott Johnston, Mary Marshall, Cynthia & William McCauley, Cate & Sally, Kelly & Gregory Weaver, Louise & Robert Ganley, Celeste Gudas

Please thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  Molly & Todd Phillips, Anne Marie & Carl Gerst, Lindsay Groves, Sherill & Dave Ketchum, Helga & Henry Beck, Barbara & Craig Froelich, Joseph, Lynne, Michael, Elena, David & Tracy Romano, Amelia Kaymen & Eric Yopes, and Anonymous Donor.

Please thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward for a day:  Sandra Loli & Richard Boni, Dorothy Krause, Liz & Bill Sharp, Renee & Joseph Lane, Patti & Marvin Langley, Sieglinde Wikstrom, Melissa & John Henry, Betsy & Bob Madden.

Please thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which supports our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards:  Jen & Bill Mayo, Renee & Joseph Lane, Lucia EcklesSource

Source:  Skaneateles Press



HAB Update: Toxin Levels

The Skaneateles Lake Association has confirmed the following information in conversation with the Onondaga County Department of Health.  8/9/18


The toxin level in “finished” (post treatment) drinking water provided by the City of Syracuse and the Village of Skaneateles to city, village and town residents and some towns outside the city of Syracuse was NON-DETECTABLE at the most recent testing.  

  • This means that the water sourced from the city and the village is SAFE for drinking by all.
  • The “finished” water will continue to be tested every day until the toxin level is NON-DETECTABLE for three (3) consecutive days.


The toxin level in the raw (pre-treatment) water from Skaneateles Lake was 0.3μg/liter at the most recent testing.

  • Toxin level of 0.3μg/liter or above is deemed unsafe for drinking by sensitive populations (infants and immunocompromised individuals).  
  • Toxin level of less than 4μg/liter is deemed safe for recreational use of the water (swimming, etc.). As a result, the Clift Park and Skaneateles Country Club waterfronts were permitted to be reopened on Thursday at the direction of the Onondaga County Department of Health.


Attention lakefront owners who draw their water directly from Skaneateles Lake: According to the New York State Department of Health, it is never advisable to drink water from a surface source unless it has been treated by a public drinking water system, regardless of the presence of HABs. 


News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

 A Large Team, but More Players Needed                              Fran Rotunno Fish  

The Skaneateles Lake Association is comprised of a large team of players.  Our 21 SLA Board Members are currently joined by 900 members (those who have joined the SLA within the past 12 months).  That current membership list (as of 7/21/18) is on our website at

The strength of the SLA Team is enhanced by a number of factors.   The first factor is that 195 of the 900 current members donated funds in excess of the annual membership.  The names of those members are published in the Skaneateles Press at the end of a “News from the SLA” column (including this one.)

The strength of the SLA Team is also enhanced by the work of many beyond their membership or official capacity.

This additional strength comes from the members of our Nutrient Management Committee who have spent countless hours delineating the elements and specifics of the 9 Element Plan that will be submitted to NYS and is a requirement for consideration of award(s) from Gov. Cuomo’s funding designated to fight harmful algal blooms.  The members of that Committee include:  Bob Werner, Bill Dean, Mark Burger, Aimee Clinkhammer, Mary Sennett, Neil Murphy, Richard Wiles, Zack Odell and Brian Madigan.

We are also strengthened by the Shoreline Survey Volunteers for the DEC Harmful Algal Bloom

Surveillance Program including Annette Becker, Deb Hole, John McAllister, Nigel Moll, Susan Wulff, Catherine King, Julie Bourke, Lindsay Groves, Anthony Rusniak, Alfred Coons, Robert Warfield, George Thomas, Patty Orr, Paul and Mary Torrisi, Holden Fenner, Terri Dewitt, Barb Poole, Carolyn Widas, Carrie Scholz, Lori Klock, Claire Howard, Diane Chu, Kathy Gorr, Julie Scuderi, Mary and Scott Case, Joan Callaway, and John and Mayr Menapace.  These volunteers will be observing their assigned area of the lake shoreline for any appearances of a HAB and following through with the defined protocol for picture submission and sampling in order to ensure we have early recognition and can specify location should a HAB develop.

The SLA Team is strengthened by Rachael DeWitt who has maintained and enhanced our presence on social media.  Her efforts have drawn in thousands to twitter, Facebook and Instagram as followers.  These efforts strengthen us with a volume of response and recognition that is the only possible through these platforms.   As of August 1, Rachael is joining the SLA as its Executive Director.  Rachael is a B. S. graduate of the University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.  She has been involved with the SLA from her early high school years and was our first Invasive Species Monitoring Steward.  The SLA Board is thrilled to have her join us and the entire Skaneateles Lake watershed community in our efforts to protect the treasure that is Skaneateles Lake.

The strength of the SLA Team is enhanced by all those whose efforts made the 2018 Annual Meeting a success including Salli Tuozzolo, Dessa Bergen, Kim Driscoll, Mary Torrisi, Mary Ellen Hennigan, Patty Weisse, Ann Fairbanks, Terry DeWitt, Janet Stinson, Kathryn Coughlin, Claire Howard, Mary Marshall, Jen Warning, Betsy Madden, Bob Madden, Carolyn Cramer, Stan Cramer, Bev White, Steve White, Martha Kendrick, Janet Stinson, Bill Stinson, Dan Fisher, Charlie Driscoll, Brian Harkins, Don Plath, Steve Mott, Joe Paduda, Dave Ketchum, Charlie McElroy, Ron Dippold, Ham Fish, Mike Kelly,  Carol-Stokes Cawley, Ham Fish, Patty Orr, Ron & Janet Dippold, Dave Ketchum, Tom Adessa, John Menapace, Mary Torrisi, Claire Howard, Chris Legg, Kathryn Coughlin, Lois Exner, Bill Warning, Rob Howard, Chris Legg, Ella Bobbett, Kathryn Morrissey, Collin Morrisey and Nora Curtis.   Special members of the SLA Meeting Team included Mike Preston Director of Lourdes Camp; Tom the Lourdes Camp cook who grilled on an incredibly hot day, Ken Harms who provided our music and the Skaneateles American Legion who prepared the salt potatoes.  The Annual Meeting Committee:  Paul Torrisi, Deb Tifft, Debbie Bobbett, Mary Sennett, Gretchen Roberts, Buzz Roberts and I would never have been able to do it without the strength of these great team members.

Our strength is enhanced by the Skaneateles Marina which provides us with dockage for the Milfoil Boats.  This is a great time saver for the Milfoil Team and also serves to provide the boats with safe “housing.”

Our strength is enhanced by community members who have stepped up and offered to help with membership efforts including Annette Becker, Fran McCormack and Barb Poole.  It is also enhanced by Dave and Lois Laxton’s Lakeside Food and Flowers Program that provides a donation to the SLA for each membership in the Program.

So, you might ask with this large team why do we need more players and what players do we need.  The why is fairly simple.  The work of protecting Skaneateles Lake from future threats is and is going to be a growing and never-ending job.  With what we understand the threats to be today, we have a big job.  But, given the questions about future threats and the causes and preventive actions needed to mitigate those threats the job will only become bigger and more expensive and we need MORE PLAYERS,             that is more clearly defined as, MORE SLA MEMBERS on the team.  Right now, far too many are missing from the team line up.  There are 693 properties in the Skaneateles Lake community with lake frontage or lake rights whose owners are not current members of the SLA and many of those 693 have never been members in the history of the SLA or its predecessor organizations.

You can join the SLA team online at or by calling 315-685-9106 and requesting a member registration form and return envelope.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are sponsoring the milfoil boats for a day or multiple days:  Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough, Suzanne & Sidney Devorsetz, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, James & Salli Tuozzolo, William & Barbara Dean, Lorraine Rapp & Jeffrey Kirshner, Maggie & Ed Dienst, Julie & Jim Moore, Janet & Donald Frank, Christine Larsen & Vincent Dopulos, Kimball & James Kraus, Mary & Joseph Gaffney, Mid-Lakes Navigation, Jackie & Steve Miron, VanOrder Family Partnership, Chancea & Donald Sundman, Deborah & Gary Hind and Joan Christy & Tom Bersani.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are co-sponsoring the milfoil boats:  Katherine Cogswell & Walter Benson, Gerard & Virginia Shanley, Pamela & Michael Odlum, Michelle & John Mashia, Jean & John Vincent, Barbara Benedict & Duncan Wormer, Nancy Thomas & Chris Legg, Linda & Randel Brink, Jill & Todd Marshall, Suzanne & Bill Burch, Rose Ann & Ron Gay, Dena Weber, Francine Devitt, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Carlyn Helmer (in memory of Jack Helmer), Margaret Tourville, Linda Lavery, Kathryn & Robert Fagliarone, Deborah & Richard Hole, Joanne Dusel & Scott Sayles, Karen & Chris Kriedler, Judy Robertson, Kati & Larry Weiss, Helen & Keith Simonelli, Elet & John Callahan, Maureen & Don Plath, Robert Congel, Jaime Tuozzolo, Deborah & James Tifft and Sara Collins & Robert Parsons, Karen Yuhas & Jack Riley, Kathryn Pasqua & James Helmer, Barbara & Jed Delmonico, Christine & Robert Pierce, Jacqueline & Charles Giancola, Susan & James Solomon, Ellie & Chet Benoit, Lynn & ,David Curtin, Tracy & David Romano, Beth & David Conley, Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Kristopher Scholl and Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCaffrey.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are sponsoring our Stewards for a day:  Dessa & William Bergen, Shadow Lawn Lakeshore Association, Joan & Gene Tarolli, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Deborah & James Tifft, Carol Lynn Krumhansl & Jeff Roberts, Lorraine Gudas, Sharon & John Paddock, Kuni & Patrick Riccardi, Judd Seales, Gary Dower, Patty & Jim Hertz, Sue & Joe Spalding, Kristopher Scholl, Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCaffrey.

The following individuals’ memberships and additional generous donations are supporting the David Lee Hardy Fund which helps to support our Steward program:  Virginia & Gerard Shanley, Sandra Attleson, Anne Buehler, Janice Hardy, Mary Beth & Jeff Carlberg, Frances & John McNerny, Linda Lavery, Sharon & John Paddock, Shadow Lawn Lakeshore Association, Gazella Training Instructors & Students, Gary Dower and Virginia Calvert & Robert Dean.

Watch for our column next week when we will be telling you more about the Vertical Profiler, Atlantis II, deployed and anchored in the North end of the lake.  You will not want to miss the story.


Harmful Algal Bloom Update

Confirmed HABs: Multiple locations, Skaneateles Lake: 8/4-8/6



Below are the results from samples collected by trained volunteers on Skaneateles Lake and City of Syracuse staff. The sampling confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria HABs on 8/4 and 8/5. The bloom was reported to have dissipated today. The bloom status is compared to the DEC Confirmed Bloom threshold of 25 µg/L Bluegreen Chlorophyll.

With apologies, DEC does not have detailed information on the sampling locations at this time. Several reports received over the weekend indicated that accumulations were present at the north end of the lake near the pier.


Exposure to any cyanobacteria HABs can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. This is true regardless of toxin levels; some blue-green algae produce toxins, while others do not. Exposure to blooms and toxins can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. People and pets should avoid contact with blooms, and should rinse off with clean water if contact occurs.  For more information go to

Location Date HABs Status BG Chl a (µg/l) Visual Analysis
Skaneateles Lake 8/4/2018 Confirmed 723 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake 8/5/2018 Confirmed 87 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake 8/5/2018 Confirmed 54 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake 8/6/2018 No Bloom 10 Microcystis
Skaneateles Lake Zone 4 8/6/2018 No Bloom 4 Microcystis

Source: NYSDEC

News from the SLA

Lake George’s Jefferson Project is Coming to Skaneateles Lake

Fran Fish & Rick Relyea, Ph.D.


In early June, a delegation from the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) Board and the New York State Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Action Plan Committee traveled to Lake George to visit with the staff from The Jefferson Project at Lake George. The Jefferson Project is an unprecedented collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), IBM Research, and The Fund for Lake George that combines cutting-edge technology with science and advocacy to understand and reduce the impacts of human activity on water quality.  We anticipated learning a great deal about their science, technology, and problem-solving solutions and coming back to Skaneateles with our heads swimming with ideas of how we could incorporate some of their program components into the SLA program.

The three directors of The Jefferson Project (Dr. Rick Relyea, Director of Rensselaer’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute; Dr. Harry Kolar, IBM Research; and Eric Siy, Executive Director of the FUND) were magnanimous with the information and materials they provided and the onsite tour of their efforts in action.  They shared with us their three-pronged approach to studying Lake George. To understand how the lake changes over space and time, they use traditional monitoring as well as a network of “smart sensors” that comprise the most advanced lake monitoring system in the world. To understand which human activities drive changes in water quality, they conduct leading-edge experiments that examine various human impacts alone and in combinations. Using data from the monitoring and experiments, they use highly sophisticated computer models–including weather, runoff, lake-circulation, and food-web–to forecast and hindcast changes in lake conditions. Equally impressive was their track record of translating the scientific insights regarding human impacts on the overall water quality into real-world solutions to ensure the enduring protection of the lake.

We came back inspired to enhance our own efforts to protect Skaneateles Lake.  The Jefferson Project, The FUND for Lake George, and the SLA are out in front protecting two “sister lakes” that have the highest quality drinking water in the state (AA-rated).  Both lakes are sources of drinking water for large numbers of people, important economic drivers in their respective communities, and major recreational centers for their local and regional residents.  As a result, sharing information and learning from each other made perfect sense.  Last week, the SLA Board was pleased to receive an even more generous offer from The Jefferson Project.

We are delighted to report that The Jefferson Project is coming to Skaneateles Lake this summer in a pilot program to partner with local researchers (from agencies and academia) and the SLA to help monitor and protect our critical resource. This effort includes bringing their highly advanced lake-sensor technology and computer modeling efforts as a first step toward better understanding how Skaneateles Lake functions and the conditions that cause harmful algal blooms. Following this pilot program, their hope is that they can bring a full network of advanced sensors to the lake to provide us with the ability to better understand how natural processes and human activities impact the quality of our water and, in turn, how we can most effectively mitigate human impacts, including the threat of harmful algal blooms. The SLA is indebted to The Jefferson Project for this generous sharing of technology, modeling, and personnel.

Source: Skaneateles Press