ALERT: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been observed in the south eastern end of the lake.  LEARN MORE


News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Fall Stewardship                                                              Fran Rotunno Fish

The season for our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards working to protect Skaneateles Lake from the introduction of additional invasive species and educating those who launch into the lake about what they need to do to protect the lake is over.  But the Fall season brings on a need for fall stewardship for Skaneateles Lake by everyone who lives in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed.

Being a fall steward of the lake may be different for watershed residents depending upon where they live, but there are things each of us can do in our fall stewardship of the Skaneateles Lake.

Beautiful as the fall leaves are and much as we might love watching the color change (or if you are still young or young at heart, jumping into piles of them) we need to contend with them in a way that protects the lake water.   Do not rake or blow them into the lake.  Do not rake or blow them into a tributary/watercourse that runs to the lake.  Do not rake or blow them into a roadside ditch that leads to the lake.  If you live in the village of Skaneateles where there is leaf pick up do not rake or blow them so close to the curb that they will end up in the street where they can then end up in the storm sewers that drain into the lake.  Leaves are great sources of phosphorus and, of course, we do not want to feed nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms into the lake.  What you can do is mulch or have your landscaper mulch them very well and leave them on the lawn.  You can also gather them into your driveway and mulch them very well which will reduce their volume significantly and turn them into a great source of “winter coats” for your plants.  Those finely mulched leaves will both protect your plantings and feed them – no chemicals involved!  Of course, there is always the option of putting them into a contained area for composting or bagging them and bringing them to your municipal facility.  There is generally no need to winter fertilize your lawn…if you or your landscaper want to do so, please reconsider and confirm that it is necessary.

There is still time to plant native perennials, shrubs and trees.  Remember that a full-grown deciduous tree can filter up to 300 gallons of water a year and a full-grown evergreen tree can filter thousands of gallons of water a year.  Being a fall steward of the lake is considering giving the lake some gifts of greenery and color that help to control erosion and water runoff.

The Skaneateles Lake Association has several documents and resources available to you electronically or in paper copy that can help you make decisions about plantings that are good for the lake.  Just go to, click on the “contact us” tab and give us you name and number and we will call you promptly with resources that will be helpful.

For those of you who live on the waterfront, please move all of your equipment, furniture, “toys”, etc. as far away from the waterfront as you can.  Waves and winds are skilled waterfront thieves.  Even this summer a few wave, wind and rain events have “stolen” kayaks, sailboats, a section of a dock with railings and ladder attached, life jackets, a lawn chair and a deck board from a boat hoist.  While these things are a loss to the owner, such items out in the lake over the winter do not disappear and cam harm to people’s property and become a hazard to winter fisherman or boaters and swimmers when the lake “reopens” for business in the spring and summer.  It was difficult or impossible to find the owners of items “stolen” by the lake, reported to the SLA and placed on the SLA Lost and Found list on our website.  If you have items that you cannot, because of the terrain, move sufficiently distant from the shoreline, please secure them with tie downs and note you phone number or email on the item to facilitate their return.

If you have a mooring, remove your mooring buoy and attach a plastic bottle partially filled water sufficient to keep the bottle2 – 3 feet below the surface.  Leaving it above the water puts it at risk to ice which can pull the bottle off your mooring chain and leave your chain at the bottom of the lake and not easy to find or get to in the spring.  The ice can also pull the bottle and chain with mooring attached and move the position of the mooring to a “new” location.   It is also a good idea to be sure that your mooring chain is securely attached to the mooring itself.  This summer we had both a sailboat and a pontoon boat break away from their moorings.  The pontoon boat dragging its mooring buoy headed north on the lake with a potential for damaging other boats and docks on its way and the sailboat was grounded and damaged in a shallow area of the lake.

If you have a permanent dock check it is secured well to its footings and also check that the dock skirting, if any is also secure.  Again, more than once significant pieces of docking and skirting end up in the lake making them potentially dangerous to others and potentially damaging to the property of others.

Finally, you can be a STAR fall steward of Skaneateles Lake by jumping in and joining as an SLA member for 2020 TODAY.  Your membership will be effective for one full year from the date paid.  During the 4th quarter of each year, the SLA Board determines what funding it has for next year’s workplan.  Your 2020 membership paid now will have an impact on our plans.

We thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward:  Gwen Birchenough, Barbara & Richard Evans, Dorothy Krause.  We thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which also supports our Steward program:  Mary Beth & William Gleason and two anonymous donors.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a them potentially day or more:  Jessica & Toby Millman, Mary Beth & William Gleason, Kris Tech Wire Company.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Amy & David Allyn, Chacea & Donald Sundman, Jackie & Steve Miron, Barbara & Craig Froelich, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Nancy & Douglas McDowell, Kris Tech Wire Company, Pam & Doug Hamlin, Gary Dower, Donna & William Davis, Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough, Ann & Jim Higbee, Virginai & Gary  Shanley, Nancy & Ted Norman, Lynn & Chris Kelly, Christine Larsen & Vincent Dopulos, Candace & John Marsellus, Elmer Richards & Sons, Susan & Curt Andersson, Marjorie & Kenneth Blanchard, Alexandra & Robert Nicklas and four anonymous donors.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 10/29/2020