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From the SLA: Lost and Found

by Fran Rotunno Fish

La casa nasconde, non ruba

It’s an old Italian saying — “the house hides but it does not steal.” But the lake steals or it serves as the “getaway car” when the wind steals. As a result, as lakefront owners begin returning to the lake, they may find items missing that they were sure they had secured on the shoreline, or they may find items that are not theirs that have been left on their shoreline.

The Skaneateles Lake Association receives notice from lake area residents of a variety of both missing and found items from small boats to cushions, flags, sections of docking and dock siding, rafts and lifejackets. We keep a log of all these items on our website’s Lost and Found page. If you see items that you are missing, please contact us and we will connect the finder to you. If you find something on your shoreline that is not yours, use the same link to report it.

We also maintain a Skaneateles Lake Association Lost and Found Facebook page.

There is one more way to get lost and found items where they belong. The Skaneateles Lake Association keeps a registry of numbers assigned to specific individuals which can be used to mark items that for reasons of topography must be left close to the shoreline. The ID begins with “SLA” and then a unique number for the individual. Using this ID on items at risk to loss in storms and winds can help us get it returned to the proper owner. If you would like a unique ID for your “at risk” items, contact us and we will get back to you.

It is always better to strongly secure items that must be left close to the shoreline, but we know that in severe storms, THE LAKE STEALS.

Please join us for the SLA 2024 Annual Meeting, Sunday, June 30th from 5pm to 7pm at Lourdes Camp (1150 Ten Mile Point). New member registrations and membership renewals will be accepted at the meeting. Register online or call 315-558-3142.

We look forward to seeing all of you there.

Skaneateles Press Observer 5/8/2024


A Conversation with SUNY-ESF’s Lake Expert, Dr. Kim Schulz
by David Figura, on behalf of The Skaneateles Lake Association

[As appeared in Neighbors of Skaneateles Magazine]

What makes a good or bad winter for Skaneateles Lake in regard to water quality, plankton ecology, invasive species and aquatic ecosystems?

“I guess it might be different answers for different lakes,” said Kim Schulz, associate professor and limnologist at SUNY ESF, who studies and teaches about plankton ecology and aquatic ecosystems.

There are several factors to consider, she said. They include the extent of cold temperatures in late winter and early spring, the amount of snow that falls or the occurrence of heavy, unseasonable rainfalls — and most importantly, the current management of the watershed and shoreline surrounding the lake.

Kim Schulz, associate professor and limnologist at SUNY ESF


 “Most years, Skaneateles Lake freezes at the northern and southern ends, but doesn’t freeze completely over. A lake like that is ‘mixing’ all winter and becomes stratified (temperature-wise) in the summer months,” Schulz said.

Temperature affects the phenomenon of the lake’s water constantly ‘mixing’ during the cold months because the exposed surface water becomes colder than the warmer water underneath.  As a result, the colder water (which is heavier) is constantly sinking and mixing (thanks to the wind) with the water underneath, oxygenating and supplying food for the organisms and plant life underneath on the lake’s bottom.

“For Skaneateles Lake, a good winter is for the winter to be long and for low temperatures to extend into the spring so that the lake is not stratifying really early on in the spring.”

Schulz said the sooner the lake surface warms up in the spring and becomes stratified temperature-wise, the longer the lake’s surface has a chance to heat up during the warm months – a condition favoring the appearance of “unfavorable things” people have been seeing a bit more in recent years.

“Namely, cyanobacteria blooms and blue green algae,” she said. “They often out-compete other algae in warm temperatures.”

A cold winter and delayed water stratification in the spring favors the formation of single-celled diatoms, a type of phytoplankton. The diatoms do well in such conditions and are consumed by larger zooplankton (copepods) in the lake, which are larger and more nutritious for small bait fish. The bait fish are then consumed by the larger fish.

An abundance of copepods in a lake are also beneficial in that they consume decaying plant matter.

On a side-note, the presence of healthy (for humans) fish oils in the flesh of the larger game fish originates with the diatoms, Schulz said.

On the other hand, if it completely freezes over, Shulz said, it’s like “having the fish and other lake critters locked in an airtight room with no fresh air supply. If the ice completely covers the lake for a long time the oxygen (in the water) begins getting used up by the fish, algae, plankton and other living things in the lake,” she said.

Snowfall, Rainfall and Lake Management

Meanwhile, the amount of snow the area gets, and the slow melting of it throughout and at the end of winter, usually has no negative impacts on the lake. The lake level is managed by the city of Syracuse and its dam at the lake’s northern end.

After getting just half the normal amount of snowfall last winter, Syracuse could see a return to a normal (or close to normal) amount of snowfall this winter, with heavy amounts likely to come at the end of the season, according to forecasts from Accuweather and the National Weather Service.

“The more snowpack you get, though, the more run-off (there is into the lake) in the spring,” Schulz said. “The impact on the lake depends on the quality of watershed management you have around the lake, which is generally good. A poorly managed watershed would result in more materials (from the shore) flowing into the lake.”

Those ‘materials’ (excessive nutrients) will remain in the water and later provide food for harmful algal blooms, she said.

What would be a negative factor, though, of excessive snowfall or continuous ice conditions during the winter and/or early spring would be the amount of road salt put on roadways in the lake’s watershed. Salty water is heavier than freshwater, Schulz said, and sinks to the lake’s bottom.

“Some of the things that live in the sediment at the bottom of the lake that can be food for some of the fish feeding down there can be negatively affected by it being too salty down there,” she said.

Due to climate change, the lake in recent years has been experiencing an unprecedented number of torrential rain storms in the late winter/early spring, resulting in run-off from surrounding fields and other areas along the lake’s shoreline, Schulz said.

Schulz said the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA), with the advice of scientists and researchers from Syracuse University and SUNY ESF, is doing a “great job” or trying to manage run-off and “nutrient-loading” (such things as nitrogen and phosphorus) into the lake. (More on SLA’s lake protection efforts at

It’s a difficult task at times, considering the steep-sided shoreline and number of tributaries that run into the lake, she added.

Schulz pointed out that Skaneateles Lake is a primary water source for the city of Syracuse and many surrounding communities ringing the lake, including the village and town of Skaneateles.

“There are few lakes in the country where water doesn’t have to be filtered before it is used for drinking water – definitely fewer than 5,” Schulz said.

Skaneateles is among them.

(David Figura is the retired outdoors writer for The Post-Standard and a member of the Skaneateles Lake Association.)

Lake Friendly Living Tip: Best De-icing Practices

Ice, snow, and rain runoff that contains salt ladened de-icers can be harmful to the lake by carrying pollutants into our waterways and causing problems for the environment. Salt can impact a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients that we want to keep out of the lake.

Your walk or driveway may not cause much harm individually, but with an estimated 15 million tons of de-icing salt used per year in the U.S., all that salt has to end up somewhere. The salt can eventually seep into the ground or runoff into streams and lakes.

There are four main types of de-icers:

  • Rock salt (sodium chloride) is very abundant in CNY, less expensive, and most widely applied. It can be toxic to underwater life and is the most harmful for plants due to its high chloride levels.
  • Calcium chloride is a more expensive than rock salt, but not as much is needed. It is effective at temperatures down to -25°F, but it can also harm plants because of chloride.
  • Magnesium chloride doesn’t add as much chloride compared to rock salt and calcium chloride, and can be considered less of a concern for the environment.
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is considered the best choice for safely melting ice. It costs more, but it can melt ice at a lower temperature, does not require as much to get the job done and does not impact plant nutrient and water uptake like rock salt.

Tips for snow and ice removal include:

  • Look for “pet safe” de-icing products. If a product is pet friendly, it is likely to be eco-friendly.
  • Apply de-icing products before a winter storm.
  • Clear as much snow and ice before applying de-icing products.
  • Don’t use salt as a substitute for shoveling.
  • Only use the necessary de-icer amount. A mechanical spreader can help achieve proper coverage.

We all can do more to protect our precious water quality. If we act together, we can collectively be the solution to winter pollution.

Labor Day Parade

Editor, Skaneateles Press Observer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fran Rotunno Fish

For the SLA Board of Directors

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 9/15/2022


Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat “Commissioned”      

Gretchen Robert & Fran Rotunno Fish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 7/7/2022

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

First Responders Quick Responders          Fran Rotunno Fish

The response time of first responders can make a huge difference in the quality of the outcome.  We all know that from our own experiences or the experiences of family members or friends.

The Skaneateles Lake Association has long been a first responder for threats to Skaneateles Lake.  I will not go into a prolonged history but our responses to the threat of milfoil and harmful algal blooms (HABs) stand out.  Indeed, we have been the only responders to the threat of milfoil and continue to respond to it.  The lake wide harmful algal bloom of 2017 was confirmed from samples obtained first by SLA volunteer board members in response to a call of concern from an SLA member.  That sample, turned over to the Syracuse City Water Department was the keystone to the diagnosis and response to what became a lake wide HAB.

One of the most positive elements of a volunteer not for profit agency like the SLA is the ability to respond fairly quickly to the need for fulfilling its mission whether it involves initiating a new program, expanding an existing one or altering a schedule based upon the need for such.

The latter is exactly what the SLA did in regard to our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program early in April.  While we usually staff major launch sites with our Stewards toward the middle or end of May, our Board Member, Buzz Roberts, noted excessive traffic at the DEC Launch site in April   Due to the abundance of Wall Eye that had been introduced into the lake (that should not have happened) and were threatening the normal Skaneateles Lake fish population, the DEC took the limits off of the permitted Wall Eye fish catch.  The word got out, spread on social media and in early April, the DEC launch was filled with boats and trailers from near and far and some were clearly coming to launch that were carrying hitchhiking vegetation with them.  Seeing this, Buzz Roberts made the indicated schedule adjustment and the SLA quickly put the Steward Program into action to help reduce the risk of all those from near and far who were responding to the no catch Wall Eye limit from bringing invasives to Skaneateles Lake.  Our Stewards educated those who came about the NYS regulations for boats and trailers to be clean, drained and dry and assisted boaters to remove vegetation before launching

Responding quickly is so important to the outcome of the efforts of a first responder and, as a first responder for the Lake, that is exactly what the SLA did.  That type of timely adjustment of program in response to its mission is the hallmark of an effective not for profit.  The SLA’s mission driven efforts are only possible with the generous support of the community it serves.

Please thank the following SLA members whose sponsorship of an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward and support of the David Lee Hardy Fund in 2020 and/or 2021 enabled us to fund this important program in the past and please consider joining as a member and a support of this program in 2022:  Nancy Marquardt, Paul & Karen Black, Clarice Begemann  , Richard & Barbara Evans,, Skaneateles Garden Club, Nicholas & Cynthia Signorelli, The Kelly Family, Dennis & Ashley Longwell, Robert and Christine Pierce, Scott & Suzanne McClurg, Bob & Betsey Legg Madden, Eileen Murphy, Ann Hinchcliff, Kyle &  Liz Gebhardt, Chris Johnson & Jean Shook, Ed & Deborah Brennan, George Kenien & Mary Ellen Faughnan, Shadow Lawn Lake Association, John & Sharon Paddock, Mary Knepper & Susan Mark, Nick & Kate Hardy, Pine Bluff HOA, Dan & Jill Lang, Nicole Way, Liz Liddy, Mary Gardner, Mary Bradly, Judd Seales, Chris & Caitlin Fields, Dave & Paula Miller, L & C Winkelman, Joseph & Katherine Compagni, John Macallister & Laurel Moranz, Patrick Doyle & Elizabeth Downs, Walter & Kathleen Sullivan, Jason & Catherine Armijo, John & Maureen Barringer, Adam Gasurowski &  Claudia Kosty, The Jermy Family, Robert & Ann McKenty, Joseph & Alicia Salibra, Eloise Luchsinger,  David & Ann Lee, Karen Strods, Dickman Farms, Greenhouse & Gardens, Mary Sennett, F J Estlinbaum Barge & Crane, Christophe & Carrie Scholtz, Jack & Patty Reed, Angelo & Margaret Scopelianos, Jim & Patty Hertz, Janice Hardy, Dan & Kathleen Mezzalingua, Chad & Kathleen Rogers and multiple anonymous donors

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer  6/8/2022