General News

Wedding Bells that Rang for the Lake

Fran Rotunno Fish

Most of us who live in the Skaneateles Lake Community have seen more than one wedding photo shoot in progress in Cliff Park down by the lakefront. The lake is always the perfect background for the bridal party, the beautiful dresses, the men in formal attire and the flowers. It is just one of those special scenes in that occur on the lakefront.

But this week, the SLA mail rang with wedding bells. Well, not actual bells, but rather the joy of 24 weddings!

We received one check for $50.00 for EACH wedding that was held at Aster Weddings and Events. That was a lot of wedding bells ringing. That commitment of a $50.00 donation for each wedding was made by Shannon Pratten from Aster Weddings and Events last year and to date the SLA has received $1300 in donations from the weddings held there – 23 this year and 3 last year. We are so appreciative of Shannon for recognizing the importance of our beautiful lake and community as a drawing card for her event space.

We also received a membership and $500 donation to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake from a Abagail Duggan and Christopher Short who encouraged their wedding guests to make their wedding gifts be charitable donations to a few charities near and dear to the couple’s hearts. We are so very appreciative that Abagail and Christopher named the Skaneateles Lake Association as one of the charities. We have to believe that their guests’ opportunity to see the lake while here for the wedding helped them to make the SLA their selected charity.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day: Jeannie and Henry Slauson, The Slottje Family, John Osborne.

We thank Bev and Steve White for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day.

We thank Casmir Bobowski, Laura & Sean O’Keefe, Charles Ryan & Eileen Murphy, Virginia & Jeffrey Stannard for sponsoring a Steward for a day.

We thank Anne & Charles Elroy for their support of the Hardy Fund.

During this third quarter of 2019, the SLA Board will be making important decisions about the efforts we can fund in 2020. Will we do more, the same or less to control Milfoil and protect the lake from invasive species? Will we be able to continue our efforts to conduct research and data collection to help identify the possible sources for the nutrient loading that cause Harmful Algal Blooms? Can we continue to plan for future mitigation projects to protect the lake as a source of drinking water, recreation and a driver of the area economy? Your annual SLA memberships and donations to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake will answer those questions. Please if you have received a notice that it is time to renew your annual membership, RENEW now and consider going beyond annual membership and making a donation to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake. You can renew and donate online at or you call 315-685-9106 if you need a registration form and return envelope mailed to you

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer


News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Eyes on the Lake, Eyes on the Watershed      Fran Rotunno Fish

All season long SLA member, John MacAlister, has kept organized the 30 SLA members around the lake have served as volunteer Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) watchdogs. Keeping their eyes on the lake for suspicious looking water that could be or develop into a HAB they serve the lake community and beyond as they also served all who drink the lake water in the City of Syracuse and surrounding communities. In addition to these “official watchdogs” there were dozens of people in the lake community who also acted responsibly and reported water conditions of concern. These official volunteers and alert citizens were part of the effort that the SLA developed in response to the first HAB in 2017….an informed, participating community outreach citizen group. We all owe them a heartful thank you.

But, as we have all hopefully learned in the past 2 years, the protection of the lake water is dependent on the protection of the watershed. Thus, keeping watchful eyes on the watershed is very important to the health of the lake water. Various educational programs and printed materials that have been circulated and just plain common sense have resulted in our watershed community citizens keeping a watchful eye on the watershed and reporting to official agencies or to the SLA things that they observed that were of concern.

In the past few weeks two stories have come to the SLA that demonstrate the importance of having “eyes “on the watershed, as well as, eyes on the lake.

East side of the lake resident, Lois Exner, noted that a vendor doing some work on her property had obviously had a problem with some vehicle or equipment and she noted a large spill of what she suspected was some kind of oil on her property. The vendor covered it with some loose dirt that was available and drove off. She called them several times to attempt to get them to come back and take care of it properly….no response to her calls. Lois had her daughter email the SLA via the “contact us” tab on our website and we responded with a phone call and told her to call the DEC Emergency Spill line. She did and they called back in 10 minutes. With no response from the vendor and the threat of rain coming, the DEC came to the property, dug out the area and filled it in. Citizen alertness to the risk for the lake water, guidance from the SLA and a timely response from the DEC were the perfect combination of actions to protect the lake. The vendor will be fined and billed for the response. It would not have happened that way without an alert responsible citizen. Thank you, Lois Exner.

More recently, west side of the lake resident, Chris Legg, arrived home about 6:45 on a Wednesday evening and noted a collection of granular particles along a long stretch of the roadway and on the shoulder adjacent to the drainage ditch on the west side of the road. After seeing the extent of spill, Chris contact the City of Syracuse Water Department Emergency Line and notified the SLA via the “contact us” tab on our website. We contacted Bob Werner who lives in the area of the spill. Bob and Dave Laxton examined the granules and felt they were likely fertilizer but not pesticides. This visual determination by them was confirmed. The Skaneateles Lake Watershed Protection Program (SLWPP), the NYSDEC Spill Response on-call technician, Rich Abbot from the Syracuse Water Department and the Department of Transportation all coordinated in a timely manner and on the next morning a street sweeper was mobilized immediately to the spill area and the fertilizer was completely removed from the shoulder by 10:04 am, prior to the rain events. Again, an alert citizen, Chris Legg, and timely response from official agencies resulted in a timely, coordinated response that protected the lake.

Our official agencies all did a great job in both events of responding to “risk to the lake events” in the watershed. Our alert citizens with their eyes on the watershed enabled the response to be timely by making the calls to an official agency and notifying the SLA.

Please as you keep your eyes on the lake also keep your eyes on the watershed. If you see something, say something. If you do not know who to call or are reluctant to get involved for whatever reason, please inform us via the “contact us” tab on our website and we will get the issue of concern to the right agencies/agencies.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day: Katherine Cogswell & William Benson, Nancy & Ted Norman, Norma & David McCarthy, Jeannie & Henry Slauson, Greenfield Lane Association, Patrician Lynn & Steve Ford.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days: Jacqueline & Charles Giancola, Ten Mile Point HOA, Bacon Hill HOA, Annette Otis & Dan Gaston, Kimberly & William Gilberti, Ann & David Lee, Stephen Legg, Suzanne & Davin Nagle, Diane & John Rizzo, Margaret Tourville, Kathleen & David Zapata, Leah & Thomas Valenti, Deborah & Jim Tifft, Lynne & Joseph Romano, Jane & Tom Hanley, Carla & David Goffe.

We thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward for a day: Jeannie & Kenneth Hutton, Deborah & Jim Tifft, Sandra Skiff & Doug Adams, Daisey & Michael Bongiovanni, Jen & Bill Mayo, Susan & James Soloman, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Kary & Ian Raddant, Kathleen & Chad Rogers, Paige Willard & Jane Phillips, Patricia Woodcock, Patty Weisse & George Thomas, Sharon & Fredrick Singler, Joanne Viggiano & Kenneth Cannon.

We thank the following for donations to the David Lee Hardy Fund which also supports our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program: Mary Beth & Jeff Carlberg, Sarah & Kristopher Kiefer, Pine Bluff HOA, Linda & Nicholas Rossi, Estlinbaum Barge & Crane, Mary Lou & Michael Cooper, Nancy & John Stenfeld, Nancy Peck.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer




News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Fall Work for the SLA and Watershed Residents       Fran Rotunno Fish

The Fall Season is upon us.

The Milfoil Team is picking up the last of the 230 mats totaling 6 acres that have been deployed over large patches of Milfoil earlier this past summer. First mats down are the first to be rolled up and removed. So, at this point we are working on the last mats that went down. We need to leave them down for 6 – 8 weeks for effective control of the Milfoil. It is difficult work that needs a reasonably calm lake to be done.

We are also beginning the process of planning for next year. Bob Werner and Bill Dean have been out surveying the lake at depths where milfoil can grow. They do this with sonar equipment attached to Bob’s boat that records the vegetation as they pass over it. All the data is sent for analysis to a company that uses the GPS location of the boat and synchronizes the location with the underwater image so that we can locate the patches of milfoil. Once the patches are identified statistics on the size and depth of the patch are developed. The largest patches are prioritized to be matted in the following year. It is a process that takes a lot of time (and we need to note that is VOLUNTEER TIME) and again requires calm conditions on the lake to do the work.

Many of our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards have gone back to school or college, but we have great senior stewards out there continuing their work to protect the lake from invasive species that are not just physically unattractive but also are potential risk factors in the development of harmful algal bloom.

Our entire SLA Board and its committees are continuing to investigate programs and techniques to prevent algal blooms and our committed community HAB monitoring volunteers are keeping their eyes on the lake, reporting and collecting specimens. We have had some smaller, but still ugly algal blooms, but thankfully as I write this no major ones that have not quickly dissipated. Lesson is clear – cyanobacteria are out there in the lake and just the right mixture of conditions of water condition, temperature, sunlight and nutrients can bring them to a head.

Along with all that we have been giving one on one advice and reference resources to individual residents for their specific problem or issues.

The Fall season also brings work for our watershed residents and we urge you to carryout a Fall workplan that helps to protect the lake water, your property and the property of other.

As you clean your yards whether on the waterfront or elsewhere in the watershed, please do not rake leaves or grass clippings into the lake, any tributary, or any roadside ditch. Large amounts of phosphorus are released from their decomposition….large amounts ….and raking or blowing them into the lake or any water that ends up in the lake adds to the nutrient load of the lake. Please mulch those leaves and grass clipping and mulch them well. Leave them on the lawn to promote its health instead of promoting disease in the lake. On our property we have so many leaves that we rake a good portion of them onto a tarp. Dump them on the driveway, mulch them like mad and then use them to put a “winter coat” on our plants. If you have a compost pile then you have another resource for reusing them. It takes a little effort on the part of all of us in the watershed to take care of the lake and its water. So be a guardian of the lake and take the effort.

The high-water level and the wind storm last week put many people out on the lake or calling neighbors (and calling the SLA) looking for the property they had lost to the lake. There were parts of docks, floats, kayaks, etc. loose on the lake and people out looking for them. Remember, your loose item on the lake is not just at risk to loss or damage, but other people’s property is at risk to damage from it. Please be sure to move all possible items far from the shoreline as both the winter and spring storms can be waterfront thieves. It is a good idea to put identification of some kind on anything that you leave out during the winter even if has always been secure in years past. If you have a mooring, consider removing the mooring buoy and sinking the chain part way.   If you do not do this, put some ID on the buoy and check to ensure the chain and buoy connection are secure.

The final part of the Fall workplan for the SLA Board of Directors is to look at our finances and plan what we can do in 2020. While this SLA Board is all volunteer, the SLA is a business that has all the expenses of any business. It also has the responsibility to only contract for work for which there are funds to pay for it. That means that the final part of the Fall workplan for all of our watershed residents is to ensure that you have paid your annual SLA dues for 2019. We simply cannot do what we do without you. In the next few weeks we will be sending reminders by email or letter to all whose annual dues are overdue.   Help us make that list smaller by joining today. You can join online at or you can call 3125-558-3142 for a registration form.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer


Syracuse Mayor Walsh Visits Skaneateles


City of Syracuse Mayor Walsh Visits Skaneateles Lake to view Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program

SKANEATELES, NY – August 30, 2019 – As an increasing threat of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) looms throughout the Finger Lakes, Great Lakes, and water bodies worldwide, leaders throughout the Skaneateles Lake Watershed are taking further steps to address this surmounting issue.

As mentioned by Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) President, Dr. Paul Torrisi, “The consequences of aquatic invasive species being introduced to a waterbody include disrupted lake ecology and diminished water quality. Regional economies can experience significant setbacks from adverse impacts on tourism and quality of life.” Torrisi continued, “Drinking water can ultimately be severely compromised by recurrent Harmful Algal Blooms. For example, zebra and quagga mussels, introduced over the past 30 years to Skaneateles Lake by recreational boats, are being increasingly implicated as major players in the HAB crisis.”

 In response to AIS entering Skaneateles Lake, in 2007 the SLA initiated the Eurasian waterMilfoil Control Project. The project is currently in its 13th season of operation, and is helping to keep milfoil from growing at an uncontrolled rate out competing native plants and becoming a potential nutrient source for harmful algal blooms. The SLA and it supporting membership has spent over $2,000,000 to operate the program since its inception.

It was quickly learned that once “difficult to control” invasives, such as milfoil and both zebra and quagga mussels, enter a waterbody they are essentially impossible to eradicate. SLA promotes that prevention is key and the most cost effective way to deal with Invasive Species.

Through efforts to take a responsible and effective approach, the SLA Boat Launch Stewardship Program was created in 2012 and is now in its 8th season of operation and growing annually.

SLA commended Mayor Walsh, Greg Loh, and other leaders at the City of Syracuse including the Common Council who voted to support the expansion of the Boat Stewardship Program in 2019. The $13,500 grant along with required match from the SLA in the same amount, has enabled the SLA to hire even more stewards and cover more boat launches for a longer period of time.

The SLA Boat Launch Stewardship Program was started in 2012 as a pilot program under Dr. Buzz Roberts and quickly grew, becoming a model for other Finger lakes to emulate. The SLA, Skaneateles, and Syracuse community recognized Buzz for volunteering countless hours, days, and weeks expanding and directing the entire program over the years, including the recruitment of stewards, headed up by Marty Minet. She and her staff of trained stewards have been visually inspecting watercraft/trailers and educating boaters as they enter these boat launches  prior to launching their boats. Boaters are asked for permission to visually inspect their rigs, all voluntary, and they are asked a few brief questions such as where they have been last boating, and whether their boats are clean, drained, and dry. Boaters overall have been supportive of the inspection program, but there have been some noteworthy exceptions, some from out of town water bodies infested with many other AISs.

Visual inspection is an important prevention step to take to minimize the risk via recreational watercraft, but this limited inspection alone often fails to detect seeds, small-bodied organisms, and dormant egg stages of many species. When boats arrive not complying with NY state law requiring them to be “clean, drained, and dry” on inspection, then decontamination becomes necessary before being permitted to launch.

Washing the boat hull and external surfaces with high pressure  (2,500 psi) hot water (140 degrees Fahrenheit) for ten seconds and flushing  motors and interior compartments is recommended by the U.S. Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF). ANSTF does not recommend the use of chemical prophylactics or disinfectants as a primary method for disinfection because of environmental risks, varying levels of effectiveness, and potential equipment damage. Other methods of decontamination such as diluted household bleach, undiluted white vinegar and 1% salt solution can be effective but require application times of 1-24 hours.

According to SLA, going from a voluntary stewardship program such as theirs, to a mandated inspection/decontamination program that exists on Lake George and other lakes to maintain water quality is the logical next step. It is noted by SLA that it will require the leadership of the City of Syracuse along with the cooperation of all the watershed municipalities and stakeholders.

Torrisi offered the following sentiments to the watershed leaders that gathered at Skaneateles Lake, “Let’s hope the spirit of cooperation demonstrated today serves as a springboard for continuing growth and we can all work together to keep this lake pristine for generations to come.”READ MORE

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

A Young Girl, A Legacy Friend                                           Fran Rotunno Fish

A 12-year old girl named Georgia stepped up to the plate and recently became a friend of the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake.

The Legacy Fund was instituted as the 4th component of the Skaneateles Lake Association’s plan in response to the algal bloom of the summer of 2017. The Legacy Fund is a specific capital fundraising campaign to expedite necessary monitoring and remediation to help prevent future Harmful Algal Blooms which pose a threat to the lifeblood of our community….Skaneateles Lake.

Early Legacy Fund Leaders and Legacy Friends gave the Fund a significant start towards its goal of 1.5 million dollars and some of those funds have paid for significant water/stream monitoring that was necessary to be able to apply to NYS for funding under a 9E Plan. Those funds also were needed to meet the 25% match required from the applying organization (the Town of Skaneateles).

The SLA’s Nutrient Management Committee has diligently worked to identify small remediation projects that the SLA can plan and carry out using the Legacy Fund in order to begin protection projects earlier knowing that the flow of funding from NYS will take longer. We anticipate a Fall start to the first of those projects.

Georgia learned about all the reasons for the SLA establishing the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake at the 2019 Annual Meeting at Lourdes Camp. She listened carefully and looked carefully at the educational posters on display and then she went home and made a big decision.

Georgia, with what can only be described as exemplary guidance from her parents, keeps a “Giving Envelope”. She saves money from her allowance, puts in it in her “Giving Envelope” and makes her own decisions about how to distribute those funds to charities. Following the 2019 SLA Annual Meeting Georgia chose to join her parents in making a contribution to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake and it was Georgia’s decision to donate ALL of the funds in her “Giving Envelope” to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake.

We are of course pleased that Georgia made that choice. Indeed, we feel honored that a young girl would hold so dear the future health of Skaneateles Lake that she would make that choice. And finally, as I read what I entitled this article I realize it really should be “A Young Woman, A Legacy Friend”. Please join me in celebrating the thoughtfulness of this young woman with your own membership and Legacy Fund donation.

If you are already a member of the SLA for 2019, you can make a donation to the Legacy Fund by sending a check to the SLA, P. O. Box 862, Skaneateles, NY 13152. If you have never joined the SLA or need to rejoin, you can do so and make a contribution “beyond annual membership” and designate it for the “Legacy Fund”. If you would like a Member Registration Form, please call 315-685-9106. You can also join the SLA and make a Legacy Fund donation online at“Membership/Support”.

We thank the following for sponsorship of the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days: Barbara & Craig Froelich, David Graham, Jackie & Steve Miron, Gary Dower, Pam & Doug Hamlin, Janet & David Frank, Mary & Joseph Gaffney, Sherill & David Ketchum, Diane & Peter Lynch, Elsa & Peter Soderberg, Salli & James Tuozzolo.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days: Carlyn Helmer, Charles O’Neil, Danielle & Peter Cerimeili, Carolyn Kaye & Donald Babcock, Louise & Robert Ganley, Marcia & Robert Hunt, Karen & Chris Kreidler, Cynthia & William McCauley, Elaine & Mathew Medwid, Kevin Smith, Reve & John Walsh, Mary Socci & Peter White, Barbara Benedict & Duncan Wormer, Lou & Mark Bitz, Kathryn & Robert Fagliarone, Celeste Gudas, Janice Hardy, Mary Ellen & Joe Hennigan, Ann Hinchcliff, Patty Orr, Shadow Lawn Lake Shore Company, Jaime Tuozzolo, Helga & Henry Beck, Ellie & Chet Benoit, Elet & John Callahan, Jennifer & David Campanile, Ruth & David Conley, Francine Devitt, Barbara & Kenneth Hearst, Sheila Hemani, Deborah & rich Hole, Ursula & David Hutton, Jolie & Scott Johnston, Beverly & David Jones, Joyce & Robin Jowaisas, Patti & Marvin Langley, Nancy Thomas & Chris Legg, Betsey Legg Madden & Bob Madden, Jill & Todd Marshall, Sharon & John Paddock, Cheryl & Jeff Palomaki, Maureen & Don Plath, Judy Robertson, Darcy & Douglas Sedgwick, Cynthia & Nicholas Signorelli, Trident Shoreline (Chris Foote), Van Order Family Partnership, Judy & John Varney, Jean & John Vincent, Demetra Vounas, Kati & Larry Weiss, Amy Wiles.

We thank the following who have sponsored our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards: Patti & Bruce Texeira, Deana & David Weber, Emily & John Weeks, West Side Lake Association, Marie & Joe Grasso, Jeanne & Kenneth Hutton, Cate & Salli, Ann & Peter Paullin, Tacie & Roland Anderson, Clarice Begeman, Joy & Paul Charmandy, Margot McCormick, Catherine & Gregory Sankey, Sue & Joe Spalding..

We thank the following who have supported the David Lee Hardy Fund which also helps to fund our Steward Program: Frances & John McNerney, Kristen & David Marks, Enid & Gabor Racz, Clayton Theisen, FJ Estlinbaum Barge & Crane, Marion & Allan Krauter, Kathryn & Robert Fagliarone, Janice Hardy, Mary Ellen & Joe Hennigan, Mary Beth & Jeffrey Carlberg, Cate & Salli, Ann & Peter Paullin.

Sourc:  Skaneateles Press Observer


News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

2019 Annual Meeting at Lourdes Camp                               Paul F. Torrisi

It was a picture-perfect evening at Lourdes Camp on the lakeshore on June 29th and over 300 SLA supporters were present, including those from all 5 towns in the Skaneateles Lake water shed and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County Legislator Julie Abbott-Kenan, and Town of Skaneateles Supervisor Janet Aaron.

Annual Meeting Co-chairs Fran Rotunno Fish and Elizabeth Legg Madden and a very large corps of volunteers organized and coordinated the event. Those attending enjoyed vesting with old friends and making some new ones. A great picnic supper cooked over the grill by Lourdes’ own griller supreme , Tom, along with salt potatoes and a variety of salads , watermelon, cookies and drink provided with the generosity of Anyela’s Vineyards, the Blue Water Grill, the Colonial Lodge, Doug’s Fish Fry, Gilda’s, Joelle’s French Bistro, Johnny Angel’s, The Krebs, the Lake House Pub, the Mandana Inn, Moro’s Kitchen, the Skaneateles Bakery, Skaneateles Country Club, TOPS Food Market, Valentine’s Pizza and Deli, the Village Bottle Shop and White Birch Vineyards and the Falcone Family and wonderful members who baked cookies and made the salt potatoes, lemonade, iced tea and cucumber water. With music provided by Perform 4 Purpose the setting was perfect.

SLA President, Paul Torrisi opened the formal component of the meeting extending thanks to Mike Preston, Director of Lourdes for facilitating the SLA’s use of a wonderful facility, once again and to Fran and Betsey and their corps of volunteers.

In introductory remarks , SLA President Paul Torrisi mentioned that since 1994 the City of Syracuse has done remarkable work with the septic system inspection program and the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program (SLWAP) through the Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) as a requisite from the NYS Health Dept. to keep Giardia and Cryptosporidium out of its drinking water supply. In return, the City maintains its filtration avoidance waiver. These are two organisms from animal and human waste that can cause serious illness in humans, if ingested. He noted that these programs have also been shown to be effective in lowering phosphorous levels in the lake compared to slightly higher levels recorded previously.

He also noted that what was not active on the radar screen in 1994 are arguably, now, the two most critical things leading to the “tipping point” with the HABs crisis of 2017: 1st the exponentially increasing impact from climate change, i.e., sediment & nutrient runoff/erosion and 2nd the impact from aquatic invasive species (namely zebra/quagga mussels) which were introduced by watercraft at about that same time.

He emphasized that now, the City of Syracuse with this mandate from NYS to regulate the watershed, needs to not only continue these vital programs, but also show leadership among all the other municipal stakeholders forming a collaborative effort (call it what you like-a watershed council, inter-municipal organization, or even a commission) as an attempt to slow down further degradation of the water quality in the lake. This organized collaborative effort is absolutely necessary to effectively regulate and enforce a lake wide program of mandatory boat inspections and decontamination when necessary, and to uniformly lead the charge on “controlling the controllables” of runoff and erosion throughout the watershed.

Frank Moses was introduced as the SLA’s new Executive Director and Paul noted that after six weeks on the job it’s evident that Frank has the experience and “know how” to advance the SLA’s mission even further with his strong background in water ecology and education from SUNY ESF in environmental policy/management. Frank expressed that he was very thankful to have been able to overlap with Rachael DeWitt and appreciated the groundwork she established.

Fran Rotunno Fish, Membership/Fundraising Chair emphasized the need to spread the word near and far to neighbors, friends, family, and businesses in the area so that annual membership continues to grow and support SLA’s “game plan to protect and preserve our treasured lake.” She emphasized that “SLA is all about its MEMBERSHIP.”

Jessica Millman, Co-Chair of the SLA Legacy Fund Capital Campaign with David Birchenough, was happy to report that it has grown over $1million in a year and a revised goal was set at $1.5million! She reminded everyone that this Fund was established to provide “seed money” for watershed study and remediation work that is planned to control HABs in advance of completion of the 9E Plan certification, which will open the floodgates for additional funding in the years to come. The public component for this campaign was “kicked off” at the Party on the Point hosted at the Skaneateles Country Club just a few weeks ago with over 450 in attendance!

Joe Grasso, Nominating Chair, announced the new slate of Board nominees for approval by those present. They included Jessica Millman, Dr. Neil Murphy, Dana Hall, Michael McMahon, Rick Garrett, Dr. David Duggan, MD and JD Delmonico. All were elected to serve for a three-year term. In addition, seven of the existing Board members with expiring terms were all confirmed for another three years. Joe mentioned that with the recent revision of the By-Laws, the Board of Directors was increased in size to 25 members consisting of 3 distinct classes whose terms would expire at different times, thus allowing the Board constituency to be refreshed regularly. Anyone interested in nominating themselves or others as Board openings occur each year should submit names to Frank Moses or directly to the Nominating Chair for committee approval.

Buzz Roberts reported on the status of SLA’s boat launch Stewardship Program (8th season) to slow or prevent the influx of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into Skaneateles Lake. It is in the process of being expanded even further this season through contributions from our generous membership. More stewards are on board at the DEC, Mandana, and Scott launches and additional part time staffing will be scheduled for Glen Haven and possibly Borodino. It’s the sincere hope of the SLA leadership that a watershed wide program with mandated inspections/decontamination can be instituted soon once a form of watershed council or commission can be established under the leadership of the City of Syracuse.

Bob Werner and Bill Dean as Co-Chairs of the Nutrient Management Team reported that almost 30 sites within the watershed have been identified as potential areas where one form or another (stream restructuring, riparian buffers, retention/settling ponds) of work might have a significant impact for controlling runoff /erosion. Others are continuing to be identified by homeowners and farmers alike, so please contact the SLA through its website ( via the ‘contact us” tab) to report any sites you think could be added to the list for consider ation. Bob and Bill also referred to posters and displays at the meeting showing details of specific plans for remediation, including the 5-6 sites that have been targeted for work this season, and are currently at varying stages of approval.

Finally, multiple questions were fielded from those in attendance with responses from the experts leading to stimulating discussion.

The Board of Directors of the SLA extends a thank you to the hundreds of attentive and concerned folks who were there and especially to the many volunteers and community businesses whose generosity enabled the 2019 SLA Annual Meeting to happen.

Source:   Skaneateles Press Observer

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

What is the SLA? Who is the SLA?                             Fran Rotunno Fish

The Skaneateles Lake Association is a 501(c) (3) organization. That means we are a not for profit charitable organization.

If you have watched the fascinating program on television entitled “How We Got to Where We Are”, you will find the answer regarding the SLA in the following paragraph.

The SLA evolved from the Skaneateles Lake Pure Water Association, Inc. (SLPWA), founded 1n 1969. In the early 1990s the Tri-County Skaneateles Lake Pure Water Association (TCSLPWA) was formed to continue the work of the SLPWA. In January 2007 the Skaneateles Lake Milfoil Eradication Corporation (SLMEC) was formed with the focus of dealing with the milfoil infestation of Skaneateles Lake. In June 2008, the Skaneateles Lake Milfoil Eradication Corporation merged with the TCSLPWA. In January 2011, the Board of Directors of the TCSLPWA voted to change its name to the Skaneateles Lake Association, Inc. So, there you are, 50 years of an organization that while evolving always through those 50 years only had one purpose….protecting the waters of Skaneateles Lake and protecting the Lake’s watershed.

The vast majority of the funding for all the activities of the organizations that evolved into the SLA has come from volunteer donations. In the early years, significant charitable donations from a relatively small group of people and some governmental funding were the financial engine for all the efforts taken to protect the lake and tis watershed. In 2011, the newly named SLA initiated an annual membership program that over 9 years has grown from a few hundred households to 1000 households and businesses representing close to 2000 individuals committing with their annual memberships to fund the work of the Skaneateles Lake Association.

The SLA’s mission is to promote protection of the water quality of Skaneateles Lake and environmentally sound regional management of its watershed. For 8 years the work of the SLA in reflection of its mission was most notably continuing and expanding the efforts to control the growth of milfoil and initiating and continually expanding the efforts to protect he lake from the introduction of additional invasive species through its Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program. Additionally, via its Newsletter, columns in this paper and distribution of community educational materials, the SLA worked to educate the entire watershed community as to each person’s responsibility for protecting the Skaneateles Lake Water and its watershed. In 2017, with the advent of the extensive harmful algal bloom, the SLA Board went into overdrive to develop a plan that focused on the prevention of future harmful algal blooms.

The SLA is comprised of members who join annually who share one common value…the importance of protecting the lake and its watershed. Its members may share that value because they drink the water; because they swim, paddle, kayak, fish, canoe, ski, sail, row or motor boat in the lake; because they live on the lakefront full time, seasonally or just a few weeks a year; because they own businesses that they know are supported by those who come to enjoy the lake; or because they just love the lake. SLA members reside in all 5 towns and 3 counties of the lake’s watershed. Some members are new to the areas and some are 3d and even 4th generation lake community families. They reside in the lake community full time, seasonal and even just a few weeks a year. They join for one reason….to protect the lake water and its watershed.

The SLA Board of Directors is a reflection of its membership. Some of our Board members are long-time residents and some are new to the community (by small “town” standards). They reside in the village, in the Towns of Skaneateles, Spafford and Niles. Some reside in the area full time and some are here seasonally. Some of our board members are still in the work force and some are retired. Our board members, like our members, are single, married, parents and grandparents. Our Board members are scientists, technology experts, doctors, lawyers, education professionals, nurses, librarians, businessmen and farmers.

The Skaneateles Lake Association is its membership. A membership of people who choose to join for a variety of reasons. No invitation or sponsorship is needed to join. No requirement for permanent residence or any specific property ownership is necessary for membership. All that is required is the desire to be a part of a group of people committed to supporting a variety of efforts to promote the health of the Skaneateles Lake water and its watershed.

The SLA invites everyone to JUMP IN and JOIN today! You can join the SLA for 2019 online at via the “membership/support” tab or call 315-685-9106 for an Annual Member Registration Form to be mailed.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day: Maggie & Ed Dienst, Christine Larsen & Vincent Dupolis, Candace & John Marsellus, Jennifer Sutherland, Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough, Beecher Graham & Jonathan Brodock, Barbara 7 William Dean, Anne Marie & Carl Gerst, Deborah & Gary Hind, Lorraine Rapp & Jeffrey Kirshner, Kimball & James Kraus, Kris Tech Wire, Skaneateles Sailing Club, Mary Marshall, Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Julie & Jim Moore, Sara Collins & Robert Parsons, Linda & Dan Roche, Virginia & Gerald Shanley.


Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Farewell from SLA’s first Executive Director                                 Rachael DeWitt

Through my entire life Skaneateles Lake has taught me many things. Growing up I learned how to swim, scuba dive, sail, waterski, and wakeboard on the lake. What started with water related hobbies cultivated a passion for water and a desire to protect and conserve water quality. In middle school I began volunteering with the SLA to spread awareness of the threats of milfoil. In high school I worked on the Milfoil Boat surveying the lake for patches of milfoil, and I began working as an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward. The foundational experiences I had growing up in Skaneateles inspired me to attend college at University of Vermont and major in Environmental Science with a concentration in Aquatic Ecology, Policy, and Management. I then went on to protect other lakes including Onondaga Lake and Lake Champlain only to return to Skaneateles Lake as the first Executive Director of the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA). I like to joke that the SLA has kept me employed over the past 10 years.


It’s been an incredible year working for the Skaneateles Lake Association. The SLA is a unique organization in that a majority of the organization is comprised of volunteers. This year our board is expanding from 20 to 25 members. Our board is made up of PhDs, scientists, environmental consultants, lawyers, engineers, not-for-profit executive directors, political affiliates, teachers, doctors, nurses, self-employed individuals, and many other backgrounds. Combined they poses an incredible variety of skills and are providing them to the SLA free of charge. Think of what someone would have to pay to hire a consulting group with that much knowledge! This knowledge base is what I had access to this year, and this community should recognize the gift that these individuals provide at no cost. They are truly remarkable people who are willing to put in 12-hour days if it means protecting this lake.


With this foundation of people to make up the SLA, we have accomplished a lot over the past year. Our membership has expanded to over 1,000 households (or ~2500 individual members). We are expanding the Aquatic Invasive Species Stewardship Program to cover all the boast launches entering Skaneateles Lake. We’ve acquired an office in St. James Church at 96 East Genesee St (however our mail still goes to PO Box 862). We are combating harmful algal blooms (HABs) through remediation projects, educational opportunities, and scientific studies. We have identified 30 remediation projects such as catch basins, riparian buffers, restabilization of streams, settling ponds, and wetland restoration. Our identified remediation project list seems to grow daily and we are breaking ground on several of these projects this year. Unlike our board members’ ability to work free of charge, our effectiveness in preventing HABs does require money. As a result, we developed the Legacy Fund, which is specifically devoted to fighting harmful algal blooms. We have been able to raise significant funds to implement remediation projects, monitor streams, and other activities that can help reduce the likelihood of a HAB occurrence. We’ve also engaged government officials, local/state/federal government agencies, environmental not-for-profits, universities, freshwater institutes, engineering firms, environmental consulting groups, businesses, and other groups into our efforts. Collaboration is the key to success. We have also hosted several educational and fun events to inform the public about HABs, landscaping for water quality, aquatic invasive species, and general SLA initiatives. These are some of my favorite moments working for the SLA because I am always in awe of how many people come to attend these events. It truly shows how many people care about this lake and will take action to protect it. I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved or supported the SLA. I am amazed at all that has been accomplished by so many impassioned people.


Though it is hard for me to walk away from all that has been started, I know the SLA will be in good hands with our new Executive Director, Frank Moses, who has an incredible resume and toolbox of skills to carry the torch on all the initiatives that have been started. The leadership of the SLA board will guide him, just as they guided me. I will be leaving the SLA on June 14th to continue my environmental education at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. I will be starting a Master’s degree program on June 26th in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and intend my next career path to focus on coral reef conservation. I am thankful and forever indebted to the SLA for giving me a start in this field. This job has been fun, meaningful, and is one of the reasons I believe I was accepted into graduate school. Though I will be moving across the country, Skaneateles Lake will never be far from my thoughts and I am still happy to serve as a lake conservation resource to anyone seeking advice. I will truly miss the SLA and hope to be helpful to them from across the country.



Please thank the following for their sponsorship of the Milfoil Boar for a day: Nancy & Douglas McDowell, Elmer Richards & Sons, Donna & William Davis, Mary & Paul Torrisi, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Jane & Peter Hueber, Marjorie & Kenneth Blanchard, Alexandra & Richard Nicklas, and Libby & Arnold Rubenstein.

Please thank the following for their co-sponsorship of the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days: Anne & John Sveen;, Maureen & Joseph Wilson, Richard Alciati, Joan Christy & Thomas Bersani, Susan & Dana Hall, Kathy & Kevin LaGrow, Pamela & Michael Odlum, John Priest, Rhonda & Craig Richards, Patricia & David Stone, Carolyn & John Tierney, Lisa & Michael Wetzel, Paul White, Sharon & Edward Barno, George Ann & Edwin Bock, Carol & Tom Fletcher, Mark Allyn, Ann Buehler, Jacqueline Bays & Joseph McCaffrey, Elizabeth Downes & Patrick Doyle, Barbara Egtvedt, Jean Shook & Chris Johnson, Molly & Bill Spalding.

Please thank the following for their sponsorship of a Steward for a day or multiple days: Martha & William Cole, Lori Ruhlman & Dan Fischer, JJo & Bob werner, Lisa Letizia & Paul Floreck, Dr. Robert Vitkus, Dessa & William Bergen, Kathryn Pasqua & James Helmer, Suzanne & Scott McClurg, Christine & Robert Pierce, Judd Seales, Brenda & Thomas Parkes, Racquel & James Vlassis, Kristopher Scholl, Mary & Paul Torrisi, Jane & Peter Hueber.

Please thank the following for their donations to the David Lee Hardy Fund which significantly supports our Steward Program: Linda Solana & Clifford McBroom, Patty & Jim Hertz, Mary Ellen Faughnan & Gregory Kenien, Robert Warfield, Graia Koziol, Nancy Murray, Kuni & Patrick Riccardi, Carol Lynne Krumhansl & Jeff Roberts, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Joan & Alan Coates, Mary Giroux, Kathleen & Dan Mezzalingua, Jane & Peter Hueber, Edward & Deborah Brennan.

Join all these generous donors in SLA Membership, Milfoil Boat, Steward and Hardy Fund Sponsorship and go beyond SLA Annual Membership and support the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake. You can do this online at or call 315-685-9106 for a Member Registration Form.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer





News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Letter to the Press-Observer

From the natural springs that feed into it, to the unfiltered water that pumps out – Skaneateles Lake truly is the beating heart of our community and our region. It’s our lifeblood. It’s our economic engine. It’s a shared love that unites us all. Now it’s time we step up to maintain the legacy of collective care, appreciation, and preservation of our most precious resource.

On behalf of the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) Board of Directors, we want to thank the hundreds of people who attended the “Party on the Point” on Sunday, May 24th. In addition to expanding the organization’s membership base, the event provided the SLA an opportunity to launch the Legacy Fund, a capital campaign designed to fund research and remediation efforts to address the scourge of Harmful Algal Blooms. Action must be taken now to better understand the causes of the bloom and to test preventative measures.

Investing in our lake now will eliminate the costs of doing nothing:

  • Treating tainted drinking water at a cost of over $150 million if the filtration avoidance waiver is lost.
  • Losing a $2 billion tax base as lakefront property values plummet.
  • Compromising the ecosystem of one of the cleanest lakes in
    the United States.
  • Reducing the appeal of living and recreating in Skaneateles to prospective employees of the various local businesses.

One of the most exciting announcements at the event came from County Executive, Ryan McMahon, who will provide the Town of Skaneateles with a loan of $106,000 to expedite the monitoring and analysis required as we develop our comprehensive watershed plan (also known as the 9 Element Plan). This investment will pay dividends in the future and frees up the SLA to invest more money into remediation projects.

By all measures, the event was an enormous success and due to the efforts of many, many people, including:

Entertainment: The Dean’s List and Passengers, The Band.

Hosts: The Skaneateles Country Club (also working with the SLA to remediate Dowling Creek).

Government Leadership: Bob Antonacci, Ryan McMahon, Julie Abbott-Kenan, Mike Plochocki, and Janet Aaron

Promoter: Chase Design.

Raffle donors: Debbie Bobbett, the Chamber of Commerce, Mid-Lakes Navigation, Skaneateles Country Club, Betsey and Bob Madden, Lakeview Auto/Bob DeWitt, and the Skaneateles Marina.

Volunteers: Bill Dean, Fran Fish, Paul Torrisi, Kelli Ide, and the many other SLA volunteers.

SLA staff: Frank Moses, Incoming Executive Director, and interns Mia Grasso and Mitch Madden.

If you have not made an investment in the Legacy Fund, please consider doing so now. For information on how to make a donation, visit We thank you and look forward to seeing you at future SLA events, including the Annual Meeting from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm on June 29th at Lourdes Camp.

Jessica Millman, Co-Chair

Legacy Fund Campaign


Rachael DeWitt, Executive Director

Skaneateles Lake Association

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer




News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Membership Matters – verb and noun                                               Fran Rotunno Fish

Membership matters – verb. Yes, membership matters because each and every membership helps to substantiate the SLA as a significant organization. READ MORE